Brokenness and forgiveness


A broken ornament

This was the scene in one of my local Chapels lately. As we prepared to worship someone brushed against a shelf containing a lovely white ceramic figure of a girl dancing. About one and a half-foot high it came crashing onto the hard church floor with such a noise and broken pieces everywhere and far to many to piece it back together again !

Brokenness is something that affects so many people as they go through life. Thankfully many are able to be `put together` again but sadly many are not. People are broken through many things, depression, illness, hurtful words, adultery, slander, self-centredness, selfishness, lies, bullying and so the list goes on and on. quite often, I think, some of the brokenness is caused by either thoughtlessness or outright bullying from the point of view that the accuser is right and the other wrong.

And yet most brokenness can be sorted out in some way, albeit over a period of time. I`m thinking of the need in some cases for forgiveness. We take sides over issues when forgiveness is required; we assume the full story when we simply need to hold someone; we back off from a situation under the excuse of not knowing what to say, when nothing needs to be said but presence is merely required; we hold someone else in contempt because of committed sin and ignore our own committed sins as if they are lesser (log in eye syndrome).

Why do we insist on being so judgemental ? Jesus said whilst hanging from the cross “Father, forgive them……….” but often we fail to do so and therefore inhibit the possibility of healing of relationships and our moving on in a situation. For that’s what happens when forgiveness is denied-the relationship between people remains fractured and our own spiritual journey remains out of tune with God. I`ve known some situations where I believe that God has forgiven long before human beings have, for God is pure love.

Jesus said “If you have a grievance with your brother, lay your gift down and seek out your brother, resolve the grievance and then come back and present the gift” Matthew 5:23-24. Here Jesus is looking for reconciliation between people. It’s not just about an attitude shift but it’s about forgiveness being spoken and enacted in the removal of whatever the grievance was about. We can’t do that if we insist on being judgemental; we can`t heal if we don`t forgive; we can`t deal with brokenness unless we are actively seeking to mend.

The challenge for me today is, what do I need to put right and when can I start ?