She was a little timid about meeting with me. She said her story would be hard to hear, and she gave me the option of declining. I did not know what her story would include, but I sensed there was still a lot of shame in her heart over it.
The morning we were to meet I asked God to provide exactly what was needed, expecting that my prayer would be answered during our meeting. Instead, He immediately brought to my mind an image of Jesus on the cross. He gave me a picture of true brokenness and showed me that in His eyes brokenness can be beautiful in its sacredness.
Today is Good Friday, the day when Christians around the world remember that Jesus, the perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb of God, was nailed to a cross on a hill outside Jerusalem on Passover weekend. Jesus’s death atoned for our sins and made a way for us to experience true oneness with Him. We are created for relationship, and Jesus died to make a holy God accessible to an unholy people. But it was a gruesome death that Christ endured.
Many, if not most of us have sanitized the cross, opting to focus on the risen Christ rather than the bleeding, bruised, dying Christ. I believe we cannot have one without the other. In Isaiah 53 we meet Jesus, the Suffering Servant. Verse 10 says the Lord was pleased to crush His Son. Reading different translations helps us understand the meaning of “pleased” in the Hebrew, which at first glance might imply that God took heartless pleasure in seeing His Son suffer and die. The New International Version says it was God’s will to crush Him, and The Message says it was what God had in mind all along.
It was the Father’s will, ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden, to provide a way for redemption which would be achieved through the “breaking” of His Son. As painful as it was to watch Jesus suffer, God allowed His body to be broken on the cross to accomplish victory over sin and death, once and for all, and bring new life and wholeness to the wayward souls of those who put their faith and trust in Him.
Though our wounds and wanderings have left us bruised, broken, and limping, there is something beautiful about that brokenness when it leads us to deeper intimacy with God and others. Without brokenness, there is no victory—either for Jesus or for us.
My friend’s story was precious. It was also familiar. I listened as she shared of her long struggle with porn use and her attempts to live free of it. Her tears carried away fragments of her shame. Her vulnerability paved the way for connection. I believe she found in me a safe place to continue on in her healing journey.
While God abhors sin, our brokenness is precious to Him. Our brokenness means that we can know aspects of His heart that speak into our pain and suffering. God is healer, redeemer, bondage breaker, way-maker, and all the while friend and Lord. He delights in us! Even in our broken state. As we acknowledge the brokenness in our own lives, we realize that speaking of it can actually endear ourselves to others on the same journey toward redemption.
How comfortable are you with your brokenness or your story? Your struggles with sin, woundedness, or shame may be connection points with those you love and care for, your friends, your family, your children.
Maybe you’re still struggling with sexual sin. Maybe you haven’t found healing yet for wounds related to sexuality or forgiveness for the one who betrayed you. Pray that God will lead you away from bondage and into truth that sets you free. There is freedom to be had! Jesus didn’t rise from the grave so that you and I would continue to walk in sin or shame. No. God has more for each of us. I’ve seen Him bring healing in my own life. I’ve seen it in my husband’s life. I’ve seen it in countless friends’ lives. But redemption for sexual sin or wounding will quite likely involve vulnerability and community. In community we can reveal our deepest shame and realize that we are still loveable. Processing shame in community can be powerful.
Jesus died to make a way for us to commune with God and know eternal life with Him. He values community. He had his own inner circle of three and a broader circle of twelve.
Who are you sharing your brokenness with? Who is journeying with you toward healing? Let the image of the suffering Christ give you courage today to take the next step as God leads you. Ask Him to show you what that is. He is there. He cares.
TrueNorth wants to help you. On our website you’ll find many options: books, podcasts, programs, and groups for many aspects of sexual struggle or brokenness. I encourage you to explore some of these, but please know that if you really want to grow, you’ll have to be honest with a few others – not just accountability partners, but others who are a few steps ahead of you. May you find true Sherpas who are able and willing to show you the way.
We are praying for you! And we are cheering you on! Please let us know how we can pray for or encourage you today. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder and CEO, TrueNorth Freedom Project, Atlanta, GA.
Photo by Sandy Millar
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