I read a father of four + pastor’s tweet last night: “teach your children that they are broken.”
I wish there was more to this tweet. I know that there is more to this man’s heart than this example of fifty-one characters which has heaped backlash from every direction. I know he is doing the best that he knows how and giving every last molecule of his being for his children. But if this is truly all there is, my heart grieves, and I wonder how such a home could ever be safe for ones that are tender and growing. Because if you search for what is ugly and broken in this world, it will render you ugly and broken. The pain of the world will shake you to your very core.
To say that some(one)thing is broken implies that one must work to fix it, else it is worthless. Adding emphasis to this implication only serves to bring about shame. Within the confines of this mindset, we must toil and strive to manufacture our own safe place. To stop at brokenness communicates that we must finish the work of grace. It incites fear, which scripture says stems from the threat of punishment.
I must admit, I give in to this mindset far more frequently than I should. Perhaps you are in the boat with me. Perhaps you catch yourself throughout the day repeating things like “I’m such an idiot,” or “if I could just do this better.” The truth is, its difficult to believe that you could be loved as you are, in your yoga pants and unkempt hair, trying to get dinner on the table by the time your husband gets home from work and help your kids with their homework.
I promised my husband I would work on not shrugging off his “I love you’s.”
I watch the news every night, and hear of some new atrocious crime that has been committed, and sometimes I lie to you just to get through the day. Because I know that I am imperfect. I can be incredibly selfish, and painfully judgmental. Anyone close to me could tell you that. And I don’t have to tell you things are bad, because you are already keenly aware.
What the world needs to know is that there is more than this. There is a way out.
The way out is Christ. Because of His death on the cross, we are no longer bound to sin. Because of His resurrection, we are whole and holy before the Father. Christ, who was friend to the prostitute and tax collector, who saved the adulteress woman and spoke words of conviction to the proud. Christ, who said “blessed are the merciful.” Christ, who said “go and sin no more.” Christ, whose dying declaration fulfilled the law.
If you’re using shame and fear as tactics in evangelism, please stop.
And if you have been scared or shamed into believing a gospel based on obligation and performance, please accept my most humble apology.
Scripture says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The Word assures us that nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing you could think or say or do could make the Father love you any more or less than He does. Grace is a completed work.
And that, my friend, is a safe place to rest your heart.