There’s something about Christianity that makes outsiders (if there is such a class of persons) think that it’s a crutch for the weak, a form of consolation for losers, a kind of drug, ‘an opiate for the masses,’ as Karl Marx put it. Well, there is some truth to this idea, but it’s not what Christianity’s detractors think. Moreover, so many Christians are afraid that this idea might be true, that they go to extremes to prove that it isn’t.
Orthodox Christianity says that what’s wrong with man is that the icon of God is broken, and we’re that icon. They say that Christ came to fix the icon. Well, that’s one way to put it, and I want to get over that idea right away, not because I disbelieve it, but because as delicious as it sounds to those who want to creep away from the idea of an angry God who can only be appeased by the death of His Only Son, it can be misunderstood even more than some other theories of how salvation works.
The truth is, though, that man is broken, and some Christians are in such a hurry to fix him, that they actually shove God out of the way in the mad, and hopeless, attempt. Why mad and hopeless? We may be broken, but we can’t fix ourselves, no matter how hard we try.
Being broken is what we are, no matter how some of us try to cover it up. Admitting we are broken does not mean that we’re happy with it. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to be made whole again. It’s our confession of being broken that places us in a position where God can work on us.
Some people think that Christianity is a kind of self-help and self-empowerment program. They start with the knowledge that man is broken, but then they take charge of the situation. Mining the Holy Scriptures for verses that they can claim as God’s promises and His spiritual principles for overcoming, sure enough, they put God to the test. Hmm, makes me wonder just whose side they’re on!
Christian businesses with names like ‘Believer’s Voice of Victory’ or ‘This Is Your Day’ bombard the unchurched masses with slick entertainment and self-improvement promotions. These are not ministries and have nothing to do with Christ or Christianity, except that they draw on the Bible for their vocabulary. They know that man is broken. They know who’s in the audience. They offer to fix them, for a price of course. Yet it’s not their job, and in fact and act, they can do nothing.
I have a brother in Christ who repeatedly confesses that he is broken. Furthermore, he wants to remain broken. How can that be? Doesn’t he want to be whole? He lives a normal life, has a job, goes to church regularly, and he is living victoriously over his enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil. How do I know this? Because of the fruits of his life. But also, when he receives the praise of men, he somehow skillfully evades it, always turning it back immediately to God, and in such a way that you feel he didn't even notice what he was doing. Talk about playing a game of ‘hot potato’!
Broken, because that state is where we are just by being human, is what draws the love and help of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to us. Admitting it, confessing it always, and turning to Jesus, that’s what opens us to the merciful heart of our loving God. Yet, this is not how Christians are taught to be any longer.
Many churches set human standards before their members instead of the Word of God. The leaders of these churches preach themselves, not ‘Christ, and Him crucified.’ Go to almost any church web page and prepare yourself to hear about the virtues and accomplishments of their leaders. They set themselves up as examples of ‘successful’ Christians, again placing before you not Christ, but themselves. They hold out to you these images of a ‘happy life,’ while hiding the cross, except to wear it as jewelry. But the true cross is the happy life, because it is life with Jesus.
Not ‘success’ is ours for the taking, brethren, but being broken, like the flask of ointment was broken, that the feet of Jesus might be anointed.
Ours is to stay close to Jesus, hanging on to His precious words, not as magic promises that we can force Him to grant, but as they are, the living words of the living God, spoken to us for our hearing, that we may have faith. And what is this faith? It is trusting Christ and only Him to be our saviour, confessing no other, waiting on Him to make us whole, without looking, without measuring ourselves to see if we’ve grown, looking only to Jesus and not at ourselves.
Yes, brothers, let’s be broken for Jesus, who said…
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:1-11 NIV