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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blessed are the Broken

The weather has finally warmed up a bit. The high today may actually reach 20. It's funny how quickly our perspective can change- it feels downright balmy today.

We had a guest speaker come in yesterday who has been in the field of pastoral care and chaplaincy for the last 20 years. The following thoughts come from his discussion.

As Jesus and his disciples gather on a mountain side in Matthew 5, Jesus gives arguably his best-known message, now referred to as the "Sermon on the Mount." A large crowd moves in to hear his words, and as Jesus looks up on this collection of people, he opens with the words, "God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them." (NLT) How like Jesus, and God the Father, to begin with blessing. But this blessing is unique and wonderful. Essentially, Jesus is saying, "Blessed are those who are broken, and are aware that they are broken." We might expect him to go on and talk about how our brokenness will get fixed. But Jesus doesn't say that, at least not here. What Jesus does say is that those who realize their brokenness will receive the Kingdom. The connotation of this idea in the original Greek is that God will give His gifts to the broken. In other words, God will celebrate their brokenness by rewarding them with the Kingdom.

We tend to think of our weaknesses and faults as issues to be dealt with and cleared up quickly, but here Jesus is essentially celebrating what they can do in our lives. An awareness of our brokenness is what connects us to God's Kingdom and His ability to bless us. It's not to say that we're free to remain in our current condition, but knowing this can change our approach to spiritual health. If we think God is disappointed by who we are, we work with a slave-like mentality until we've achieved His approval. If, however, we recognize the love of God and His acceptance of all our brokenness, then we can live as sons and daughters who are free to enjoy the Father, knowing that nothing we do can make Him love us any more or any less. Our brokenness can be brought before Him without fear, for through our weakness, God can show Himself strong.

The world, then, breaks down into three groups of people. 1)Those who are broken but don't know it, 2)Those who are broken and know it, but choose to do nothing about it and pursue their own kingdom, and 3)Those who are aware of their brokenness and offer it to God as a way of connecting to His Kingdom.

This day, may you find yourself in group 3, aware of your brokenness, but also aware that through your brokenness, you are brought near God and His Kingdom.

And you are BLESSED.

Journey on.



Anonymous said...

Hey Nick! I'm so enjoying your daily blogs - thank you for sharing your heart with us while you're away.

God's been teaching me so much in this area of weakness. He constantly reminds me of His truth which says, "When I am weak, then He is strong", yet, I'm not to grovel in my weakness, just surrender daily. When I forget just how weak and powerless I am in my own strength, then I become 'god' of my own world - and that is a frustrating experience!! This week God showed me an awesome verse dealing with the strength and freedom I have through Christ. Leviticus 26:13 says "I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high". No slavery, no shame - isn't that awesome?!


Pastor Nick said...

Good verse, Marian.

I think you've identified something that is very difficult for us- that's to remember that we are weak without dwelling and "groveling" (nice word) in it. We could use some creative ways to remember our weakness without letting them become a reason for despair or low self-image. If anything, God's love for us even with our weakness should give our self-image a big boost!