Defined by Brokenness (Part 2)

This is the part two for my blog Defined by Brokenness.

I marvel at what Jesus asked the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. We read about it in John 5:1-9.

Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

This paralyzed man laid beside this pool for many years, hoping to be the first one in the water, presumably after an angel came down and stirred it. Jesus asks him a poignant question that still begs a response from broken individuals: “Do you want to be healed?” What Lord? This man had laid there day after day for perhaps decades, and you ask him, “Do you want to be healed?” Really? Here’s the bottom line: some people get so used to being broken in a certain way, they become comfortable in their broken condition!

I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s a possibility. It happens! Some people go through the motions, but when push comes to shove, they really find it difficult to break out of their comfort zone. Some really enjoy their pain. Life for them hurts good! I know this sounds weird, but when individuals let their pain define them long term, it becomes difficult to allow God to redefine them! Broken behavior becomes their “accepted normal.” And sadly, their unwillingness to be healed prohibits or at least limits their effectiveness in the kingdom of God. Extreme brokenness can literally hinder effective social skills and human interaction. Broken people can hinder the work of God in a given location, if left unchecked.

Until we honestly identify and confess our brokenness, until we’re willing to admit our problem and allow the Holy Spirit to bring healing, we become stuck in our past. David wrote in Psalm 51:6-10, “Behold, you desire truth in the inward parts. And in the hidden part you will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than now. Make me hear joy and gladness. That the bones you have broken may rejoice. Hide your face from my sins. And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a lean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence. And do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me by your generous spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways.”

This heart-rending psalm was written by King David after his adulterous fling with Bathsheba. You perhaps know the story, recorded in 2 Samuel 11. David’s treachery was precipitated by lust. He looked and lusted. David’s iniquity – broken area – was triggered by lust. Both men and developing boys still fall prey to the spirit of lust in today’s world.

Psalm 51 is one of David’s finest, as the king acknowledges his sin and brokenness and continues to move on, not allowing his actions to define the rest of his life. No one is a failure who after getting knocked down, gets back up! Only the ones who stay down and become faithless move into an unfulfilling life of mediocrity.

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