church, broken & beautiful
Monday morning, standing in the hall at Anderson High, working as a volunteer hall monitor, I noticed a girl putting up signs. She looked like an underclassman, and didn’t carry herself with a lot of confidence, but she was busy taping several hand-written signs up on the walls of the hallway.
After she walked by and we said quiet hellos, I got up to read one of her signs.
“we are all broken. that’s how the light gets in.”
Brilliant. Beautiful. Honest. Raw. Truth.
Others' perceptions of believers can kill their journey into a church. Let me say to any who are on the outside of church looking in, we are not perfect. Since Adam & Eve, we have been flawed.
It's Christmas. If you read the beginning of the New Testament, in Matthew chapter 1, you’ll see a list of Jesus’ ancestors traced all the way back to Abraham. In this list, you’ll find liars, adulterers, murderers, swindlers and prostitutes.
Is the ancestry of Jesus corrupt? Well, I think you and I might have hesitated before we invited some of His people to dinner.
The reality is all of our ancestries are corrupt. What does it say to you that the ancestry of Jesus wasn’t perfect?
Humanity has been broken from the very beginning. You’ve seen little children, seemingly innocent, lie or attack another child to get their toy. In those moments, you know what David said in Psalm 14 and 53 – no one is perfect, not a single one of us.
If we were perfect, or capable of presenting ourselves before our perfect and holy Heavenly Father, there would not have been a need for Christ to come and die for our sins.
“I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” – Galatians 2:21
In our brokenness, we struggle to be as honest about our condition as this high school girl was. We’re afraid to operate out of her level of transparency.
There’s freedom in saying, “I’m broken...I need help.” It opens the door for real conversation. While we may not be able to be transparent in all of our circumstances, surely, we can be in our church.
Imagine meeting weekly with a group of people where you can honestly share your burdens, peeling away layers of self-protection, and not being ashamed. This is the beauty of the words of this young girl at Anderson. When we let people see the brokenness of our lives, they also get to see the beautiful work Jesus is doing in us.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7
Only because the fragile clay jar is broken are we able to see the great treasure within. When we own our brokenness, superficial gives way to deep, and we can rejoice together as The LORD does marvelous things in our lives.
Friends, we are the Church only because God has made us right by what Christ did for us on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus’ desire for us is to love each other, as we are. This is who we are to be for one another and for those we come in contact with today, especially those we sense are broken.