The true nature of who we are as humans is the most misunderstood and poorly communicated aspect of the Christian worldview. It has also caused the most harm. Words like “sin” and “sinner” are easy to misunderstand. This is an easy topic to oversimplify and use to degrade people whom God loves.
What is Brokenness?
I use the word “brokenness” to communicate the Biblical term “sin.” Brokenness encompasses both who we are by nature and what we do – it’s both the root problem and the symptoms. We live broken lives because we are broken. In Biblical terms, we sin because we are sinners.
Brokenness is basically a spiritual cancer. Everyone has it – everyone. It influences every aspect of our lives: our motivations, feelings, thoughts, desires, actions, and bodies.
The Symptoms of Brokenness are Universal
We do things we know will hurt others, God, or ourselves, but we do them anyway. I do things I wish I didn’t, like look down on others so I can feel better about myself. I don’t often do good things, like spend meaningful time helping the poor. And when I do, I often have self-centered motives.
The Symptoms of Brokenness are Personal
Many of us struggle in at least one area of brokenness to a greater extent than others. The root of these can be our biology, environment, a traumatic event, or a combination of the three. Some examples are anger, eating disorders, various addictions, self-destructive behavior, stealing, laziness, anxiety, or lying. One of mine is depression.
- Being broken doesn’t mean we act as evil as we can. Because God originally made humanity to be completely good – though that goodness became broken – we are capable of doing good.
- Being broken doesn’t equal worthless. Our condition doesn’t diminish our worth to God.
- Murder isn’t the worst thing we can do. Not loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength is – we are all guilty of it.
The Consequences of Brokenness is Death
Just like untreated physical cancer, the consequences of being broken is death – a death that’s both physical and spiritual. Physical death separates us from our bodies and spiritual death separates us from God, and therefore all goodness, forever. Evidence of death at work in us are such things as guilt, shame, bitterness, regret, and fear.
The Cure for Brokenness (Understanding the cure helps us understand the sickness.)
The good news is God has provided the cure. It’s like a spiritual organ transplant, but one where every aspect of us needs to be transplanted, including our broken past and future. Our only hope is a “life donor” who has a perfect life, one who never had our spiritual cancer.
Jesus is the only one with a perfect life; that’s why he’s such a big deal. Jesus experienced all of humanity’s sufferings and death, the consequences of our brokenness. His death removes death from us. His resurrection with a whole and eternal body can give us new life.
In this life, only those who belong to Jesus are spiritually alive. They have received the cure, so the disease of brokenness has no more power and its presence in our lives is being healed. After this life, they will have an immortal, resurrected body, a perfect life with God, and be completely healed and free from the presence of brokenness forever.
Taking the Cure
Being cured is a matter of faith, by what we really believe. Faith that you have the cancer, that it’s caused a spiritual death. Faith that you can’t cure yourself with good works or religion. Faith that God loves you so much Jesus would die for you. Faith that God can perform the life transplant and Jesus has provided the only cure. If you want to be cured, knowing it will end your old life and start a new life and journey with God, you must have the faith to lay down on the operating table. You can even tell God that you need and want the cure and thank Him for what Jesus did for you to provide it. You can learn more about Jesus in the article Jesus Wasn’t a Nice Guy.
Explore Your Perspective:
- What’s easiest and hardest to believe: the idea that we are broken, the consequences of brokenness, or the cure for brokenness? Why?
- Have you been confused or hurt by the use of words like “sin” and “sinner”? In what ways?
- How is this view of our nature and spiritual condition different from what you’ve heard before?