It is Okay to be Broken
By: Max Godby
I followed my usual routine after work. I planned to make dinner and binge-watch some Netflix before getting some more work done. While waiting on pasta to boil, I checked twitter to see the day’s clever puns and observations. All of a sudden, a selfie of the beat up face of the one and only John “The Aviator” (Johnny Pittman) appeared on my timeline. Johnny had taken a horrific spill on his Harley on Bluegrass Parkway. Puzzled and alarmed, I texted him to see how he was feeling (he apparently felt good enough to send a selfie of himself on twitter #priorities). Johnny answered my concern with the following: “Scratched, bruised and broken – but our God is very good, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.” Wow! How beautiful is that? Johnny reaffirmed what God has been showing me the past few weeks–it’s okay to be broken.
When it comes to God’s grace, many of us respond with “what’s the catch?” Can a perfect God really forgive every sin I have committed? Can God forgive a horrific past like mine? In theory, we love the idea of God’s grace, but the unfortunate reality is that we really do not believe the practice. The American Church has come a long way to properly live out the mission and calling of the Gospel, to show Jesus’ love and grace. However, Christians continue to fight a bloody war of inward doubt. “Can God really forgive me?”
I love what Rich Mullins says about God: “The worst thing that can happen to a piece of art is to be critiqued by someone with great taste. I am glad God does not have great taste.” We have nothing to offer to God. We are not the catch of the day, the best burger in town or the best summer blockbuster. Call us what we are, broken. We are imperfect sinners in the presence of a perfect Father, and He still loves us. He loves us not for anything we have done or we can offer Him. He loves because He IS love. Ignatius of Loyola said it best: “The direct experience of God is grace indeed, and basically there is no one to whom it is refused.”
God’s grace cannot be earned, so stop trying. Any check you try to write will bounce, and any card you use will be denied. God gives grace freely at no cost. It’s okay to be broken, just come as you are. When we realize that we are broken, God can do amazing things in us and can use us for His Kingdom. I find it odd that people think that pastors, theologians or people in scripture that God spoke through are somehow higher quality believers, more deserving of God’s grace. But, God also used tax collectors, murders, adulterers, a crazy religious leader who called for the extinction of the early church, and even a donkey. God uses the broken because the broken have a willing heart, filled with gratitude.
Buddha said, “Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” Jesus’ last words were, “It is finished.” We are not called to live a perfect life in order to gain salvation. We are called to live a free and bold life for Christ, knowing that we possess the precious gift of salvation. Brennan Manning said, “Real sinners have done nothing to merit salvation. Yet they open themselves to the gift that is offered to them.”
Johnny posted a picture of his beat up face on twitter with the following words: “I want you to know I’m blessed… Phil 4:4 says ‘Rejoice in the Lord always…’ Wrecked my HD today & I’m blessed.” Johnny broke his nose and has some pretty gnarly, albeit awesome, scars on his face, and yet the Lord still uses Him to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are called to do the same. Aaron Hogue states this simple truth: “The Gospel is one beggar trying to tell another beggar where to find food.” You do not have to be a theologian, a pastor or even the brightest light in the room, as long as you are the closest light to someone who desperately needs this hope.