Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Reality of Living in a Broken World

After posting about paradise for awhile, I expect that it stands out very clearly that our day-to-day lives are not paradise. We need redemption. But too often we Christians discuss the brokenness of the world in generalities. Are we embarrassed to admit that our own lives and families and neighborhoods are a mess?

So I'd like to start with a quick run-down of people I know, either in my family or neighborhood, and the realities of it all. In this small group I find:
  • Two former alcoholics
  • One diagnosed psychotic
  • One former drug addict
  • One high school dropout
  • Two people who have been divorced
  • Two women who have been raped
  • One teenager who started life as a crack baby
  • A father who has children by three different women, none of whom he ever married
  • An unmarried mother who is a drug addict and, when short of cash, a prostitute
  • A girl being raised by her grandmother because her mother somehow cannot manage and her father did not stay around
  • A former drug addict recently released from prison, trying to straighten out her life
  • A young boy who had his first sexual experience at age seven, courtesy of a more experienced girl who was ten years old
Basically, right around me I find more people who are struggling with life than you could count on your fingers. And that's just family and neighbors I know fairly well.

The point? We all struggle sometimes. Nobody walks through this world and comes out completely clean, untouched by the sin in ourselves or in our loved ones. How in the blazes someone can dream that Christianity is irrelevant is beyond me. How someone can look at such a broken world and think that a clear sense of right and wrong is oppressive rather than liberating, or that redemption after a fall is unneeded -- that kind of fiction is only possible in a world where we put on blinders to the aching realities around us.

So I would just like to offer some encouragement for us along the way. We never need to be ashamed of knowing right from wrong. We never need to wonder whether we are needed, and whether a kind word is helpful, in the middle of that amount of brokenness. We never need to wonder whether redemption and a clean slate and forgiveness for the sake of Christ are really good news. And we never need to pretend that it doesn't touch our own lives, our neighbors and our families and ourselves. When we pretend it doesn't affect us, we lose our effectiveness. We relate to weakness because we've all been there.

5 comments:

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

When I first came to my present church, there were a number of people who attended who were not your usual "church father" types. I came to realize that the pastor, who had a wonderful ministry to alcholics, was very welcoming to all sorts of people. Living in a very small town means people can't hide who the ARE or who they WERE. Praise God that all are welcome.

Janet said...

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Recognizing our own need and brokenness would seem to be a pre-requisite to really living in the kingdom of heaven, if we are to take the words of a certain rabbi seriously.

Weekend Fisher said...

Doesn't it seem like such a given that everybody has something broken in their lives? But we give it such a generic "yes, there is sin in the world" treatment. I just wanted to post a "reality check" post. It's not that "there is (generic, safely distant) sin in the world" -- look at me and my family and my neighbors. There's nothing generic or safely distant about it. And I have no doubt that *everybody* is the same way.

Take care & God bless

Milly said...

Doesn't it seem like such a given that everybody has something broken in their lives?

Amen we are all in some ways broken that's why Jesus came for us.

DugALug said...

W.F.

Sad but true. Thanks for the nice spritz of coffee. Still with God, there will always be hope. I was on Maeghan's blog and she was talking about Jer 29, and I so love those verses.

I am thankful that God welcomes without strings.

God Bless
Doug