When we look at ourselves, each other, and the world around us, we see brokenness. We see it in racism, divorce, violence, war, sickness, disease, and ultimately death. Sometimes brokenness is more subtle and shows up in symptoms like a sense of emptiness or even apathy.
No matter how hard we try, how much psychology we understand, how much technology we dream of, or how advanced our medicine becomes, we cannot fix this brokenness. Individuals, families, communities, countries and continents are fatally flawed. By attempting to be our own gods, we have turned our back on God and made a mess of ourselves and this world.
When we experience brokenness, we often see it as a bad thing. However, God often uses this brokenness as an indicator, much like a warning light on our car dashboard, to tell us that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. We feel it, it’s uncomfortable, and we want it to stop, so we begin searching for solutions to the problems and pain we're experiencing. Unfortunately, we end up looking to solutions that don’t work. Some turn to relationships or sex. Some turn to achievement and reputation. Others look to substances like drugs or alcohol. Each option only brings only temporary relief and more long term brokenness. There is ultimately nothing that we can do to fix ourselves and the world around us. We need help! We cannot save ourselves!
We often think that brokenness is a bad thing, but it can actually be a good thing. It helps us to see that things aren't right and that we need help. We are looking to make sense of the mess and to find an answer that actually works.
The Christian story starts with God. He is infinitely powerful, good, loving, and wise. God is the designer of the universe. Time, space, and all of creation was His idea, and exists because of His power. Everything that exists was given a meaning and a purpose. That includes humanity.
God designed a perfect world and placed man and woman in it. We were made in his image, which is a way of saying we were given the privileged place of being like God in our own way, and given the responsibility of caring and protecting his world. As an infinitely good and wise Designer, God knows what is best for us.
His design for us includes all aspects of our lives: family, career, marriage, money, sex life, etc. God created paradise, placed us in it and called it “Good!”
Since God made us in His image, we are not robots or puppets. Love cannot be coerced or forced, so God gave us the choice to love and trust Him in return. God lovingly set a boundary around the tree of knowledge of good and evil and told humanity to not eat from it. They were given everything else in the garden to enjoy.
Much like a child who doesn’t like to be told no or thinks that their parent is keeping something good from them, they chose to disobey God and function outside of His designs for their life. This is sin. To choose to live in opposition to God’s design for us. We all like Adam and Eve have sinned and chosen to live outside of God’s design.
We all want to be in control and don’t like being told what not to do. Although we did not create ourselves, we think we know what is best. We end up running from God and His ways and into brokenness. Ultimately we end up destroying ourselves and bringing destruction to everything around us.
There is “Good News” or what the bible calls the Gospel. That good news is that there is of a way out of the brokenness and a way back towards healing and wholeness. God loves us. He didn’t just leave us in our brokenness. So he sent his Son Jesus to save and rescue us from this situation we find ourselves in. Jesus became our example of what it looked like to live within the design of God. He never sinned. Not one single time. He loved, cared, healed, and stood up for people. He not only taught us, but showed us that a new way of life was possible. A new way of living where we could experience full and abundant life. He promised life that would never end in death.
However, human pride is a powerful thing. We don’t like to hear that we’re broken. The very people that Jesus came to save were offended by his claims to be Jesus and ended up having him falsely accused and then crucified. They put a crown of thorns on his head, and nails through his wrists and feet and sentenced him to die. This was part of God’s plan. What was meant for evil was turned into something incredible. God took our sin and brokenness and put it on Jesus’s shoulders. He died so that we wouldn’t have to.
They took him down, laid him in a tomb, and three days later he rose from the dead. Through his resurrection, he proved he was more than just a teacher or a good man, but actually the Son of God. As the Son of God, he is able to forgive us of our sins.
When we see what God has done for us in Jesus, and we recognize that we can’t escape our brokenness on our own, we are faced with some questions. The first is, if it’s true, then what should I do? One of Jesus’s followers named Peter was asked this very same question (Acts 2)
Repenting is a bible word that means to change your mind. To change the way you think about this life. To decide you make a bad designer of your own life and that you’re not able to fix your own brokenness. You do a u-turn in life and stop running away from God and run towards him.
To believe is to take your change of mind and start living differently. To put into action what your believe. The bible word for belief and action together is called Faith.
We are promised that when we repent and believe that our first step is baptism. Baptism is where we physically experience the spiritual reality of dying, being buried, and being resurrected just like Jesus. Our old self is killed, buried, and we come out of the water a new creation. We publicly declare to others the inner decision to follow Jesus we’ve made to him.
When we repent, believe and are baptized we are promised to be forgiven of our sins. The sins we’ve committed in the past, the sins we are currently committing, and the sins we will commit in the future are forgiven.
Additionally, we are promised that we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, just like God the Father, and Jesus the son, but is a distinct person. He comes to live in us.
The Holy Spirit begins to work within us. Helping us to understand the will of God, speaking to us through scripture and prayer. The Spirit helps restore us from the brokenness in us and heal the effects of sin in our hearts, minds, souls, and relationships.
We are able to begin to love what God loves, and hate sin. When we submit to the work of the Spirit in our lives we start to begin to be more loving, patient, kind, gentle, and self-controlled. We begin recovering the kind of life that had been lost because of our sin and to pursue God’s will instead of our own.