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Friday, March 24, 2017

A Lenten Healing: 40 Graces for Forgiveness (Day 21: Brokenness)

During this third quarter of Lent I’m going deep into some of the ways I’m exactly not like Jesus. He is wise; I am foolish. He is just; I am selfish. He is perfect; I am broken. I’m looking forward to working through these next ten days about as much as I look forward to eating Brussels sprouts or having a tooth drilled or cleaning a hair clog out of the drain.
We get used to living with our own damaged parts. We forget that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. In fact, when we live with something long enough, it becomes status quo, situation normal, the way I am. We’re not sure we want to change anything, because we don’t know what healthy would even look like.
I’ve known a few people in my life who owned the label “Victim”. It became the primary identifier of their personhood. I remember two in particular who went from therapist to therapist, help group to help group, exhausting friend after friend after friend after friend, never actually putting into practice any of the advice or wisdom or help they got. I believe that to a certain degree they liked the attention, comfort, and sympathy they received for having been wounded so badly. If they assented to no longer living at the mercy of their pain, where would attention, comfort, and sympathy come from? They believed they could only be loved for being victims, because that’s the only way they’d ever been loved.
Jesus is perfect, but I am broken. He bought the house of me, then came inside and started poking around all the places that need fixing in his new digs.
One of the big holes in my roof is the word “unimportant”. I’ve owned that label for a long time. When someone hurts or offends me, I let it reinforce my belief that others don’t think I’m important enough to treat well or respectfully. The rain comes in that roof hole and starts molding the attic floor. Then it seeps through the rafters into the ceiling below. Unless taken care of, it will just keep spreading.
Forgiveness will eradicate every bit of that stinky mildew. But if I don’t let Jesus patch the hole in the roof, there will just be more the next time it rains.

* * * 
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
– John 5:6

* * *

It’s no secret that I’m damaged, Lord. I invited you into the living room of my life for a cup of coffee, then you got up, went upstairs, and started opening closet doors. Pretty cheeky for a guest, but perfectly legit for the rightful owner. I can already see that forgiveness alone won’t fix all that’s wrong with me. It will rectify problems between myself and others, and clean up that particular mess inside me. But if I let you do the renovations you want to do, forgiveness will be both less often needed, and quicker to do its work. Have at, Jesus. Have at.

40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey is now available in print. $6.49 at

With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.

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