“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

~Psalm 34:18

            We all know someone who is broken, someone who is wounded and broken_peoplehurting.  Truthfully, we are all broken people.  We have been broken by grief, poverty, infertility, abuse, depression, torn families and marriages, and shame from past mistakes.  For some of us, the wounds are raw and bleeding.  The pain is real and fresh.  It is a hurt so great that we feel like we might suffocate beneath the burden of it.  For others, the pain is buried.  It is carefully hidden and tucked away deep inside.  Oh, but it is still there.  Every day, every moment that we can’t escape it, we are reminded that we are broken.  God sees our brokenness.  God feels our brokenness, and He loves us in our brokenness. 

            Mary and Martha were broken.  Their beloved brother had died, and their best friend, the Healer, wasn’t there.  They must have felt abandoned.  They were hurting, and when Jesus finally arrived, they cried out in despair.  Why?    They didn’t know or understand His ultimate plan.  Even though Jesus knew that His friends would be reunited with their dearly departed brother, He was moved by their brokenness.  John 11:35 says that “Jesus wept.”  I’m here to tell you, Jesus weeps for you, too.  He loves broken people.

            There is a blessing in brokenness.  When we find that there is nothing left of ourselves, nowhere else to turn, there is potential for something miraculous to happen.  When we get out of the way, quit fighting, God has room to work in our lives.  Often times, we don’t quit fighting until there is nothing left in us to fight.  Our strength is gone.  God is ready and willing to rescue us; He wants to save us—to reveal His glory in us.

“ ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. . . . For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’ ”

~Matthew 9:12-13

God Loves the Sick.

            There is a story in the Gospel of Mark of a man named Legion.  His name was a reference to the many demons that vexed him day and night.  Legion was sick, very sick.  Out of his mind, he lived in the tombs where they buried the dead.  He couldn’t be contained—by clothes or by chains.  No one liked Legion; no one went to see him.  But one day, Someone came to see Legion.  “And when [Legion] saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him” (Mark 5:6).  The day had finally arrived.  Legion was going to be sick no more.  Jesus was moved by the sickness that plagued him.  From that day forward, Legion was forever transformed by the miraculous mercy and healing power that Christ showed that day. 

            Have you ever met someone that is so deep in sin that they can’t even see their way out?  Their lives are so consumed by addiction and destruction that disaster is left in the wake of every move they make.  What is even more confusing, it seems that they are choosing to live that way.  How desperate they must be; how empty inside they must feel.  These are the people that destroy homes and families.  Everything they touch turns to ash, and they are killing themselves with each new choice they take.  They are the people we tell our children to avoid and the ones that fill our prisons.  And God loves them.  He loves them deeply, and He longs to heal them just as He did Legion.  Satan has gained a foothold in their lives and will continue to destroy them until there is nothing left.  God wants to bring them hope.  He is offering them the gift of new life.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

~Romans 5:6, 8

God Loves the Ugly.

            I heard of a man who sold out his best friend for mere chump change.  Another guy I know abandoned his loved one in his darkest hour.  Maybe worse than that is the story of a man who lost everything and then these three guys that were supposedly his friends told him it was his fault!  You may have heard these stories, too.  Judas, Peter, Job’s Friends—the Bible is full of stories of ugly people.  We don’t have to look very far to find ugly people in our own lives.  There is the person that cuts you off in traffic and then has the nerve to drive slowly.  What about the person that gets angry with you because the store where you work ran out of their favorite item?  Sometimes the ugliness hits closer to home.  Maybe it is the person you share your life with, the person lying next to you in bed.  When was the last time you felt they loved you, appreciated you?  Maybe it is the person you sit next to every Sunday at church.  You give and give and still they expect you to give more.  They expect you to be perfect and condemn you when you are not.  Maybe it is a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor.  Ugly people can be found anywhere.  They taunt us and know exactly just what buttons to press.  Yet, God loves them.  He sees them for what they really are—weak, alone and lost. 

If you are a believer, the truth is you were once an ugly person as well.  God didn’t wait for you to become good before He saved you.  Romans reminds us that God reached down when we were utterly helpless (5:6).  There was nothing good about us, certainly nothing to be worth the ultimate sacrifice.  But He did.  He gave His life for ugly people like you and me.  Today, God is still saving ugly people.  He is making something beautiful with their lives.  One of my favorite choruses written by the Gaithers says “Something beautiful, something good / All my confusion He understood / All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife / But he made something beautiful of my life” (“Something Beautiful”).

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’ ”

~Matthew 9:36-38

The Broken, Sick, Ugly . . . God Loves Them

. . . And We Should Too!