“Marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairytales to the picture when it comes to marriage. We bring them to the altar with us thinking, ‘This is going to be perfect!’ And then the problems hit and you don’t know where to file those into your picture… The idea I’m trying to say is, ‘Can you lay down who you thought I was and love the ‘me’ that is? Can we take this from where we are now and realize that I can’t be that person?’ Only God is going to be able to make this work and broken people can be broken together.” – Mark Hall (Casting Crowns) on Broken Together
There is no denying the toughness of this world. There are the leaky roofs, the misbehaving children, and the fender benders. There are the separations, the miscarriages, and the betrayals. But then there is also the racism and the shootings, the bombings and the hatred. There is blaming and finger-pointing, judgmental stares and the malicious whispers attempting to destroy our youth one bully at a time. There are the suicides and the homicides, the addictions and the abusers, the mental illnesses and the delinquents.
The world, in a nutshell, is broken.
I am a broken wife, married to a broken husband. I am a broken mother, raising broken children. We live in a broken house and our children attend a broken school district. I love, but I do it imperfectly. I parent, but I often fail miserably. We are a broken people, trying to live in a broken system.
When I read the words of Mark Hall, I saw not just my marriage, but my family, and not just my family, but our society and the culture we live in. I look around and I see all of us bustling around, trying to out-do the person next to us with the portrayal of our new clothes and fancy cars and perfect families – attempting to climb nonsensical social ladders at the expense of others – striving to look self-important while ignoring the hurting of those in the next room – wanting to fit in when we’re made to stand out – desperately trying to mold our loved ones into forms that we see as lovable instead of rejoicing over who they already are.
You see, we are all broken. Every last one of us. We have baggage and scars that would stretch for miles if lined up end to end. Each of us have been found, at some point in time, barefoot and standing in the shattered remains of life, and we don’t need another program. We don’t need another self-help book. We don’t need another sermon.
What we NEED is to have broken people offering up broken hands to help their fellow man. What we have to have is so much compassion spilling out of us that we are willing to pray for a stranger in the supermarket. What we MUST show is the kind of empathy that allows us to hug the woman in the post office and invite her home for dinner.
The problems in this life will no fix themselves, folks. But if we are waiting for The Perfect to come along and fix The Broken, get this… we will always be waiting.
We are called to be broken together and to love imperfectly.
There was a man long ago that chose to come to our broken world. He hung around crooks and adulterers, murderers and drunks. He didn’t climb ladders and he didn’t obtain wealth. He lived humbly among the rest and offered one thing - Love. Only his love wasn’t imperfect. His love wasn’t broken. It was pure and holy and all-encompassing. He was the epitome of compassion, the precious mark of empathy.
This beautiful man took all that he had and, to show that his love was real, he allowed himself to become broken in order to meet us in our own state. He was broken to the death so that we could be broken together with him. Do you hear what I’m saying to you, right now? Do you understand the magnitude of this message??
We are human wrecking balls, tearing apart our own society, barreling down the human race with our unkindness and our stones. But Jesus, the Only Unbroken, became broken for you. He saw through the mess of your life, your arguments with your spouse, your frazzled parenting, your insensitive comments towards others, your lies and your bitterness and the facades… He saw through it all and offered to come down to where you are and provide you the greatest love that you would ever know. A love that makes you want to run screaming because you feel so unworthy… but a love that will chase after you and hold you until you have cried your last – until you are finally broken together.
Can we take this love, friends? Can we take this love and start offering it to those around us? To our spouses and to our children? To our friends and our colleagues? To our neighbors and to strangers? Can we let go of the image that we want them to be and love them in their brokenness? Can we, please… Oh please, can we be broken together?
“So when you’re on your knees and the answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held.
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.”
- Casting Crowns, Just Be Held