Redeeming Brokenness

Our acts to redeem the brokenness of culture are not always an actual reform. Sometimes it is simply responding with love to sin or bad events in people lives (Matt 5:43-48). We show compassion for and care for those that have sinned and are suffering from sin. Either their own or someone else’s. Their lives are broken, and need redeeming. This could include helping unwed mothers or soon to be single mothers with caring for their children.

Can we redeem the act of sex outside of marriage that led to their situation? No. Not in the same way that Christ has on the cross by removing and forgiving the sin. But, we can bring about a form of redemption by loving them and helping to press them on towards the object of saving faith, that is Christ.   

Paul tells us about our responsibility as part of the body of Christ is to be communicators of Christ’ reconciliation. He says that the new creation that we are in Christ is,

                                “From God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Just as Christ has brought us to God, we now bring others to Christ. We are to live our lives as a reflection of Christ. Systems of sin, like pornography and prostitution, need one thing: the redemption that only comes through Christ Jesus. We, therefore, do our part in redemption by bringing them to the One that can forgive them of their sins.

                But we do not need to wait until someone has come to know Christ before we can act out our own reconciliation to others. If we have been brought to God through Christ, then we have been changed by His Spirit. We not only stop doing actions that are in opposition to the gospel, but we also go out of our way to do good for the gospel. By doing good we show that we have been reconciled.

                In the book of Isaiah, God urges his people to take care of the poor, the needy, and the widows. Israel is continually indicted because they do not have a compassionate heart (1:15-17,23). Christ, in the story of the Good Samaritan tells his audience to, “go and do likewise.” We are not to just love those who are our neighbor, but to be the neighbor.

                We act out Christ’s reconciliation when we go out of our way to love others. When we play with a small child, sit with and talk with the homeless, help a widow with housework, write a letter, or tell someone about Christ. How are you going to actively live out Christ’s reconciliation in your life?

Forging Broken Crowns

“I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger I’m traveling through this world of woe. Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger In that bright land to which I go.” This is my favorite song. It beautifully shows both the pain of living in this broken world, but focuses on the hope that we have as we look forward to in the next. As Christians, we know that when Christ finally returns that he will make all things right. There will be no sickness, toil or danger when he comes and makes this earth new.

When he comes, he will bring the perfected kingdom of God to this earth. His righteousness, justice, love and mercy will consume us, for, “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3 NIV) In that day, those who persevere as strangers in this world, will be rewarded with the crown of life.

Until that time though, we are faced with the pain of this life. I have friend, Sarah, who is six years old. She is a very pretty little girl that likes to play with toys, hear stories and loves pretending to be a princess. The college group from church meets at her family’s house for Bible study. One of my good friends shared with the group some of his experiences with the military that he was having to work through.

Just one of his memories was talking with a guy who was known as tough, even for a Marine. He was about to get out of the military. When asked what he was looking forward to, he said that he couldn’t wait to spend time with his daughters. Two hours later he was dead and laying in a pool of his own blood as a new medic desperately kept trying to work on him.

Several of us were crying. We were overhearing the pain and difficulties of a brother working through the same broken world we lived in. He just had a more intimate acquaintance.

In the corner, Abigail was also crying. But she was crying for a different reason. She had a pad of pink princess paper on which she was drawing. However, she lamented, “I am crying because my drawings, my drawings are broken.”

My military friend was on one side of the room sharing the horrific evil incidents that are here in the broken world. Abigail was sharing how even our attempts at beauty are still somehow, broken.

As we wander through this land of woe, we are faced with all kinds of brokenness. But we have a brokenness tempered by hope. Hope that one day all will be made right fully and perfectly, just as Christ has begun making life right today. He has brought us forgiveness, and shown us how to live rightly before God here on earth. Because of him, we now make our lives reflections of his perfection. We form and temper our lives after Christ so that we may attain the crown of life.

As we follow, we reflect the perfect crown as we craft our own earthly crowns here and now. Not flawless, but ones redeemed by the perfect one. Despite all the pain, imperfections, and heart ache, we are called forward. We strive and fight to be like Christ as we forge broken crowns.