Are You Broken?

God made me into a masterpiece.  And yet, like the broken volcanic rock I’m standing on in this picture, I’m a broken masterpiece.

I’m a broken masterpiece who’s enamored with a kids movie.  When Hugo came out before Christmas I was blown away by its beauty, but as I’ve watched it again and again, I’ve seen the true elements of God’s grace and redemption weave their way through the story.

In the movie, Hugo Cabret, the main character, loves fixing things.  As the story progresses he realizes that everyone around him is broken. Just as Hugo realized that the people around him were inventions who needed fixed, I realized that fact is true to life.  We are all creations who have been broken.

I’ve been writing a lot about my recent mission trip to Guatemala.  During the first part of March 2012 I led a small team down to Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala to help out with a vacation Bible school program and a high school and middle school retreat.

Now, if you have been following my blog you know that the week was quite an adventure.  You also know that you are God’s masterpiece.  You know that God created you for a reason.

But what happens when you mess up.  When you feel broken. Does God just toss us away?  Can we mess up so bad that even God wont take us back?

During the retreat, once we’d made it down to hotter than hell Reu, Guatemala, I asked my students if they knew what the word redemption meant.  We were packed into a small dining hall for games, worship, and a message.  Going along with the theme of creation I asked three boys to create something with Hot Tamales.  First they had to chew them up and then build something artistic.

The game failed.  I’m pretty sure all of the students were bored during the game, which wasn’t how I pictured it.  I’m glad it was just a game.  But then, somehow the games failure fit into my talk.  How often do our lives not go as planned.  If we are inventions we sure tend to break down a lot, and sometimes it’s our own fault.

In my last blog I talked about how God chose a little shepherd to be king of Israel.  David was the smallest in his family, but he had something God desired.  An open heart.  But let me tell you the rest of David’s story.  If he was a man after God’s own heart, he was also horribly broken.  Once David becomes king he stops following God’s plan for him.

If I think I’ve messed up, well at least I haven’t skipped out on God’s job for me so that I could commit adultery.  David did that.  But wait, there’s more.  David finds out he knocked up the woman he slept with, and wait, she’s married.  So, after he tries to pin the baby on her husband, which fails miserably, (as is what happens most of the time when we try to hide our mistakes) David has the man killed.  So, David has gone from a man after God’s own heart, to an adulterer, to a murderer.  I am sure when he woke up the morning before all this happened, he didn’t write on his to do list, sleep with a married woman and then kill her husband.

No.  We never plan on making mistakes.  As I shared this story of David with my students, I wanted them to realize that even great biblical figures mess up. If someone in the Bible screws up royally, then what does that mean for us normal folk?

And so I opened my Bible and shared with them how David responded to  God.  Yes, at first David hid from God, tried to cover up all his wrong doing, but then he does something us normal folk should do.  He admits his wrongs and asks God to redeem him.  In Psalm 51 verse 1-12 David writes:

1 Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

David was a broken invention.  God set him on a path to be king of Israel and David messes things up.  We are God’s masterpieces, but if you are like me you have messed up.  The first step to redemption is admitting to God how you messed up.

I have found that when I am open with my faults God tends to redeem them. Redemption doesn’t mean erasing all that we did wrong, but fixing what is broken.  Like David said, create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  He didn’t say take this all away as if it never happened, he asked for God to fix him.

That is exactly what God did on Easter through Jesus.  He sent Jesus to fix us.  But that can only happen if we admit that we’re broken and need someone to repair us.  If we do, our story will be as meaningful as Hugo’s, probably even more so.  Because when we are living out God’s plan for us our stories turn into grand adventures.

As I finished giving my message I prayed that each of the students would keep their heart open to God and know that, no matter what they’d done or will do, they could never separate themselves from God.

I hope you know that too.  I urge you to join me, and my dad, Eugene Scott, in Living Spiritually.  We have set this year and hopefully our lives to keeping our eyes and our hearts open to God.  It has been an adventure so far and it would be amazing if you joined us.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Are You Broken?

  1. Georgie-ann

    “Accident” / broken / shock / pain ,…

    Matthew 18:6-14 [Jesus Warns of Offenses]
    6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

    8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”

    [The Parable of the Lost Sheep]

    10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

    12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 EVEN SO IT IS NOT THE WILL OF YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN THAT ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES SHOULD PERISH.”

    I’ve always found “roadkill” to be very distressing, an undeniable “sign” that the various (actually very amazing and complex) natural systems on earth do not function perfectly, simply on instinct (and/or human skills of engineering),… although instinct does a fairly impressive job of guiding many processes, and engineering creates impressively designed things as well,… but they don’t always “intersect” well with each other. So we see in simple and obvious ways that our world is not perfect — accidents and mistakes “happen” — but then God has even provided a natural “clean up” crew:

    Matthew 24:28 “Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together.”

    So, even to the mind of a child, these sad and seemingly inevitable evidences of “brokenness” and unavoidable disaster, also end up serving some interconnected purpose — feeding vultures — even if it is a strange and mind-boggling one. But I think that God knows that we need to get our earthly minds “boggled” at this very fundamental level. Our hearts will cry out for greater “perfection.” Our longing for “heaven” — a better situation — becomes a permanent facet of our earthbound lives. But we must guard against becoming too discouraged, or cynical.

    God’s Word clues us in to “greater purposes” and more perfect realities that exist “beyond the vail”:

    1 Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    “I am a poor wayfaring stranger” — these words begin an old song of painful lament, that describes our plight as “foreigners” sojourning in a “strange” land of many woes,… longing for comfort, purpose and meaning,… healing — personal and general,…

    Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

    In spite of the tragedies and brokenness surrounding us and woven right into our personal lives, God promises us the possibilities of much greater things, as we turn our focus to Him, the “author and finisher of our faith.”

    Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

    I love the Gaither song:
    “Something beautiful. Something good.
    All my confusion, He understood.
    All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
    And He made Something Beautiful of my life.”

    I’m sure this will be the testimony of many who have made Jesus Christ their personal redeemer and the “center of their lives.”

    Broken, but not defeated, we carry on together as best as we are able. God gives us a song, a vision, even joy,… and we are lifted above and beyond the “circumstances” that might try to tell us a different story,…

    “Keep the Faith!”,… no matter what!

  2. Georgie-ann

    edit: “beyond the veil” (ooh! I need spellcheck!)

    I was in kind of a hurry when I wrote that, and hadn’t even heard the beautiful song you posted with it,… it IS an excellent song,… thank you,… (I think I needed that, btw!)

    We are all inevitably wounded souls, and in our “natural” incompleteness and imperfections, we find ourselves wounding others. It is quite easy — (perhaps even our “default setting”) — to perpetuate “vicious cycles” of hurt and re-hurt. We find we lack the “power to really heal” (ourselves or another), so we often “run away,” or maybe hide ourselves behind a “self-righteous” veneer or personal shielding effort,… or “try something new,”… but eventually it all becomes “same old same old,”… and futile efforts,…

    Without continuing renewal and infilling and direction from God’s spiritual bank account, most everything “in the world” seems to “become heavy” and deteriorate from it’s own “dead weight” eventually. Also, never forget that we, as believers, have an enemy, who infiltrates most worldly scenes, and works persistently against us, jealously and insidiously doing anything to undermine our “noble Christian efforts,” our commitments, our witness, our faithful “testimony,”…

    I’m reminded of the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, (“God’s man of the hour”), who ran, terrified, and hid from Jezebel (an idiotic but powerful and intimidating murderous woman),… Sometimes, maybe we ARE better off simply “getting out of the way” and “keeping that low profile”,… God is able to provide an oasis for us,… a safe port in the storm,…

    Those who are “blessed in this mess,” find their way to God and redemption and salvation — (not meaning “human perfection” and sinlessness, because it doesn’t exist in this realm!) — and then “hold on for dear life!” In our interdependence and influence upon one another — (pretty much an inevitable “fact of life” for most of us) — our “personal happiness” and equilibrium can be challenged many times over! But Christ is our friend who “sticks closer than a brother.”

    Proverbs 18:24 “The man of many friends [a friend of all the world] will prove himself a bad friend, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

    1 Peter 5:6-8
    6 “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

    Life isn’t a cake-walk:

    Ephesians 5:15-17 [Walk in Wisdom]
    15 “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

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