When one of my sons was little, he got noticeably upset when he heard a song by a Christian singer about “broken up people.” We adults get so used to metaphor that we take it for granted, but he must have been visualizing a pretty gruesome sight.
But there could also be confusion when the same metaphor has two different meanings. What do we mean by “broken” and “brokenness”? I hear it used in a negative sense, as in this song and in phrases like “broken relationships,” “broken hearts,” and “a broken world.” And in that word I hear dysfunction, wretchedness, grief, fragmentation, and despair. That’s a bad thing.
On the other hand, I hear Christian pastors and teachers talking about “brokenness” but with a different meaning—something like humility, submission to God, and dependence on Him. Like a horse whose self-will is broken and is now willing to let its master ride, or a house-broken dog that now takes delight in pleasing its owner rather than reverting to its native instincts to make a mess and destroy things. And that’s a good thing.
So, where do I fit in all this?
–I pray that God will eradicate all remnants of pride in my heart and make me totally usable for His wonderful plans and purposes. I want to delight in pleasing my Master, and that’s where I find my greatest fulfillment.
–I pray for the gift of compassion for those with broken hearts and lives and that I might be an instrument in God’s hands of healing. I want to be like a cracked clay pot with the glory of God shining through to bless and help others.
God…has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 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)