I have a number of close friends and family members that I have seen wrestle with the devastating consequences of their brokenness. I have been privy to the statements, condemnations, judgments, and even prophecies that have been spoken over their lives. If you have ever lived through a season of “reaping what you have sown” as I have, you know firsthand how quickly the religious people come running out of the woodwork bent on making sure you understand that what has just happened must not and cannot ever happen again.
I was broken.
I think my angst comes from this: After a season of about 6 months of living through absolute Hell due to emotional problems and self-medicating, I really didn’t need anyone telling me how bad I was or that these behaviors needed to stop. I knew it. O Lord, You know I knew it. I was so broken, so devastated, so utterly ruined by who I had become, I didn’t even recognize my own reflection in the mirror. I was terrified. And it was in one moment, face down on the floor of our bedroom, that I just called out to God from the depths of my heart. Even typing this is making me emotional. I told Him I was nothing. I had nothing. And if He was real, if He truly was my Savior, then the only way I was ever going to go on living was to be reminded in that moment that He loved me. And I’m not lying to you when I say that I heard Jesus whisper His love to me. Right then. Right there. And I was never the same.
See, I think that’s what true brokenness is – when all we have to cling to is the fact that Jesus loves us. In the past I could’ve made myself feel better by listing my spiritual accomplishments. But my mental/emotional breakdown did just that: It broke me day after day for about a year and I was literally stripped spiritually and emotionally bare before God and others. Yes, my clinical depression and anxiety, my emotional issues were exposed to others. Never before had that been the case. However, my humiliation pushed me to Jesus. He’s all I had. And if He didn’t come through for me in that moment on the floor, then I am not sure what would have happened next.
I believe brokenness looks different for each of us but one thing is the same for all of us: When you are stripped bare and left face down before God wherever that is, you know. You know the depths of your heart have just been revealed to you. And you know that you will never understand the Gospel and it’s life-altering ramifications better than you do in that moment. You will never interact with Jesus the same again because you quite have nothing more or left to prove. You only have His love, grace, and forgiveness. It’s an incredibly powerful, resurrecting, transforming process. And there is a freedom that comes from true brokenness. A freedom that is often misinterpreted, but a freedom that I will defend the rest of my life.
It’s the same freedom the Prodigal Son experienced when he came back home – the freedom to party and dance even though he was still dirty from living with the pigs (read Luke 15). You see, he wasn’t celebrating his brokenness, he was celebrating the love of his father and the fact that he came home and was safe. Why can’t we do this for people? Why do we operate out of fear and guilt? Why can’t we just rejoice when someone comes back to Jesus and trust Him to finish the work He’s started in their lives?
Our church, Centerpoint Church, ministers to hundreds of broken people every week. And I am here to tell you that we celebrate Prodigals coming home. All I can do is to remember my story and the fact that the Father came running to me when I was most helpless. Unable to offer or prove anything. And He changed the trajectory of my life. When we stop trying to prove to God why He shouldn’t love us and just determine to accept His unconditional love, grace and forgiveness for us, He does a miracle. It may look to outsiders like He is letting us off the hook. All I can say, we know otherwise. And that truth saves and sustains our lives.