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Broken / Poverty

What if we expand our definition of brokenness to include everything that keeps humankind from being able to "live life to its fullest?"

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What do we mean by "brokenness?"

When we use the word BROKEN, it likely comes with the idea that whatever we're talking about has lost its value or worth—much like an old broken tractor that's been sitting in the weather for several years.

At some point, we've probably heard someone refer to the world and all of humankind as "broken." But as we explore the important topic of brokenness, we'd like to begin by challenging any cloudy pictures that we may have in our minds. Unlike the rusty tractor whose owner decided to "put out to pasture," Jesus emphatically demonstrated to us our immeasurable value through his promise to redeem, restore and make all things new.

It seems easier to look at the homeless, alcoholic man bundled up on a street corner and put a label on him like POOR or BROKEN. It's because his poverty and brokenness is so evident. But we should be cautious because these labels can easily create a difference—an "us" and "them."

As we begin a conversation about brokenness, we want to remember the life of Jesus. Over and over he demonstrated a desire to bridge the gap between the big and small, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, Jew and Gentile, Christian and non-Christian.

In God's eyes, we're all the same. The powerful combination of Jesus' life and God's grace is what gives hope to all of us despite our brokenness. And by recognizing the ways in which we are broken allows us to see others around us in a different way. It helps give us compassion for people and a desire to genuinely care.


Scripture: Bringing Beauty into Broken Places

Mako Fujimura, a modern artist tells a story about a girl in northern Iraq who ran toward a bunker with her father. A Japanese photographer was capturing this unfolding drama on the front lines of the war, and he followed the girl with his camera until she was safely behind the bunker. But as he put his camera down, he saw that the young girl had realized, in the middle of this war zone, that she had stepped on a flower.

Before anyone could stop her, she let go of her father's hand and ran back to the flower, knelt down, and tried to restore the flower by holding it up in her little hands. In Iraq, this flower is a rare gift and just like in many desert cultures, a flower represents life itself.

The powerful Christian message is much like this beautiful flower. Can you think of specific scriptures that demonstrate the way God is able to bring beauty into our broken lives and this broken world?

A few verses to get started:

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Ephesians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

2 Corinthians 4:7-8
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.


Discussion Questions

"When we enter into the household of God, we come to realize that the fragmentation of humanity and its agony grow from the false assumption that all human beings have to fight for their right to be appreciated and loved. In the house of God's love we come to see with new eyes and hear with new ears and thus recognize that all people whatever their race, religion, sex, wealth, intelligence, or background, belong to that same house. God's house has no dividing walls or closed doors. 'I am the door,' Jesus says, 'Anyone who enters through me will be safe.' (John 10:9)"
- Lifesigns by Henri Noewen

In God's eyes we are all broken and loved unconditionally. Is this hard to really believe?

Describe the ways you understand brokenness in the homeless population living in an urban setting near you?

Describe the ways you see brokenness in the rich and successful?

Describe the ways you see brokenness in you, your family and close friends?