Updated: Mar 7
What does it mean to be a “broken” person?
Someone defined it this way: A growing awareness that no matter how hard we try, our ability to make life work gets worse instead of better. It’s a recognition of our need for a God and His intervention in our lives.
Cambridge dictionary defined brokenness this way: a state of strong emotional pain that stops someone from living a normal or healthy life.
Brokenness. It can mean a lot of things. It may imply messiness and imperfection. It may mean heartbreak. It may mean physical weakness. For some, it’s a reason to demand pity; for others, it’s motivation to stay “true to themselves” in their flawed humanity and not attempt to appear all put together in a nice, neat package. For others, it’s a cool word, a trend. There’s a lot we could talk about in regards to the meaning of brokenness.
People all around us are fighting a war in the lonely arenas of their hearts. Some are struggling with heartbreaks, some are with betrayals, the loss of a loved one, or anything which aches their heart.
Brokenness is not sharing a sad quote, song, or whatsoever on an Instagram story which in reality doesn’t satisfy the emptiness inside of you instead it creates a perpetual melancholic image of oneself.
Bible says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). There is something about reaching a breaking point that causes us to seek the Lord more sincerely.
A perfect example we see of David in 2 Samuel 12 and Psalm 51: the beauty of brokenness.
“Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife.”
Perhaps panic arose in David’s heart as he realized that Nathan was here to talk about his “secret” sin. David, a man after God’s own heart. David, a warrior with his band of mighty men. David, the greatest king to ever reign over Israel.
That same David was once a broken man, and he prayed, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:10, 17). Some things in our lives need to be broken: pride, self-will, stubbornness, and sinful habits, for example. When we feel our brokenness, God compensates: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit” (Isaiah 57:15).
To us, broken things are despised as worthless, but God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory. Broken things and broken people are the results of sin. He uses broken things for big purposes.
Only when we surrender to Christ can we be restored and transformed. Such surrender requires brokenness on our part (Luke 9:23). Romans 6:1-14 describes how believers become dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. Claim the promise that cannot be broken: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. … The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:19-22).
God does not want us sinners to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and try harder. He does not want us to feed our pride by “making things right”, nor does he simply want sadness and sorrow over the consequences and pain our sin brings to us.
He wants spiritual brokenness, the kind of brokenness He can use. He wants godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Cor. 7:10).
The reason brokenness is beautiful is because of how God can use it in our lives. It is something that can draw us near to Him. Brokenness can make room for a contrite heart and repentance to bring us back into fellowship with Him when we have miserably failed. It is not lovely in and of itself, it is not the end of the journey, it is not a cute hashtag to put on a picture of a dirty house. It’s not a word to use when you want to feel “authentic”. Standing alone, it is messy and sad. No, the beauty in spiritual brokenness is found in where it brings us.
True brokenness is a tool by which God brings His wandering sheep back into His loving arms.
The thing I loved about brokenness is that it arouses within us a desire to know more about God and the more we love God, the more we will love people.
I believe we should all ask God to break our hearts and offend our minds so that we can know more about Him and live in His loving arms and with unending peace.
Thanks to GotQuestions and Ethnos 360 Bible Institute for some material.