Why We Should Be Bragging About Our Brokenness A Lot More.

In the early 2000's I stumbled upon a book Called The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. It changed my life. Here is how the book begins:
The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the superspiritual. It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne, and not Jesus, their hero. It is not for academics who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis. It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion. It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion. It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation. It is not for the fearless and tearless. It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the Gospels, “All these commandments I have kept from my youth.” It is not for the complacent who hoist over their shoulders a tote bag of honors, diplomas, and good works, actually believing they have it made. It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus. If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out. It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other. It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace. It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker. It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents. It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay. It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God. It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags. The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way. —Brennan Manning


I felt the same way.

I still love this book. I return to it regularly and refer it to Jesus followers who come to me feeling like failures; beating themselves up because they think they don't have enough faith; questioning themselves because they struggle with certain hurts, hangups or habits in their lives; wondering if God can really love them or even care about them. 

There aren't a lot of these folks.

Reality is, most of us just want to pretend like everything is ok even though we know it's not. 

But occassionally, a desperate saint will admit their brokenness and I have the supreme privilege of helping them see that God is a God of grace and mercy; that he loves them just as they are, not as they should be; and that he desires to bring them the healing that they so desperately need. 

Then I give them Brennan's book and tell them to call me in the morning.

Yesterday our music team sang the song "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North, (see video below) it's an honest ballad - a modern-day lament psalm - that pleads with God:

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That's frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
Cause I'm worn

I think one of the greatest gifts that we Jesus followers can offer to a searching world, is honesty about our brokenness; a willingness to be genuinely authentic about the fact that we are cracked and flawed just like everyone else, but that we are being mended daily by a loving, gracious God who enjoys nothing more than to take the wreckage of a human life and put it back together again.

In 2 Corinthians 12.9-10 we read these words:

“My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. Therefore, I’m all right with weaknesses, insults, disasters, harassments, and stressful situations for the sake of Christ, because when I’m weak, then I’m strong.

The call of all Jesus followers is to move towards holiness. Hopefully we are making strides every day. Hoperfully when we evaluate ourselves (which we should be doing regularly) we will see patterns of more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5.22-23) evolving in our lives.

But we have to start where we are. And we have to recognize that the journey forward will sometimes involve some falls backward. 

But as the monk told the curious observer when asked "What do you do in that monastery all day?" 

"Well, we fall down, and we get up."

So, let's wear our scars proudly. Let's get up when we fall down. Let's brag about our brokenness. And in doing so, let's fix our eyes on the One who offers us the healing and hope that we all desperately need.

And in the process, maybe we'll even have the great privilege of helping others experience healing as well.


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