There’s an interesting book out called Beginning Again: Life after a Relationship Ends by Terry Hershey. In one of the chapters, he tells the story of some street vendors in Hong Kong.
It was a busy street with all these people trying to sell their wares, and there was one man who sat next to his pushcart. Terry Hershey stopped and asked what he was selling. He said, “I don’t sell anything. Instead I buy things. I buy broken things. My joy comes in fixing what is broken” (pages 10-11). It reminded me there are lots of broken people in our world who need a little bit of attention or help in their journey of life. Life has a habit of hurting us, and there are casualties of the spirit along the way. Maybe that’s how you feel today.
But there is some hope when I consider Jesus for a moment. Jesus, who understood things like rejection, torture, and death. If you saw the movie The Passion of the Christ, you’ll recall the full horror of the brutal hours that Jesus experienced in his suffering and death on the cross. He rose from the dead, and he’s alive today to help us and getting us beyond brokenness.
Brokenness Is Not Something New
There’s nothing new in this, because brokenness has affected people for centuries. In the Bible, in Luke’s gospel, we read about a situation where Jesus brought healing from brokenness to a woman who was a prostitute, shunned by society, especially the religious establishment. Luke’s gospel has been referred to as the gospel for the outcasts, or good news for broken people.
One day Jesus was with a Pharisee named Simon for dinner when a prostitute gatecrashed the event, weeping and spilling perfume onto his feet. The Pharisee was horrified at this and secretly denounced Jesus as someone who should have known who this woman was. She was hardly respectable. And yet Jesus told Simon that this woman’s sins were forgiven, and Jesus said to her, “Your faith has saved you—go in peace”.
What an amazing statement. Surely he would have said something like, You should be more discreet in your work and get a proper life—but he didn’t. He didn’t offer a survival tip or good advice—he brought healing for that situation and changed this woman’s life forever. Jesus was among people as the Son of God who buys broken things (that is people) and fixes them. Jesus found joy in healing and saving broken people.
The Woman With A Disreputable Past
Here was a woman who wasn’t concerned about protocol or political correctness. Jesus met her as an outcast from society because of her life, and morally broken because of her guilt. She obviously wanted to change—and what did Jesus offer that day? He offered forgiveness to someone who society said didn’t deserve it. They reckoned she deserved condemnation.
Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by
I can imagine Simon and his Pharisee colleagues feeling very angry and indignant that day. How could Jesus offer mercy to her, of all people? And he forgave her! It reminds me that forgiveness is an expression of grace, which is undeserved. She did not deserve his mercy, but she got it in abundance. The last words Jesus said to her were “Go in peace”.
What tremendous words. Go in peace means go in shalom, go in salvation; go into wholeness. But where can she go? Due to her past, she can’t go to the synagogue (they would have thrown her out), and she couldn’t return to her family because of the shame she had brought them. She probably had to go back on the streets where nobody wanted her.
Professor Fred Craddock is considered one of America’s greatest preachers. He said in reference to this story: “What she needs is a community of forgiven and forgiving sinners. This story screams the need of a church, not just any church, but one that says you are welcome here.”
I think we can remember that whatever mistakes we make, or misjudgements we have rendered or sins we’ve committed, we are never beyond God’s forgiveness. He specialises in helping broken people. Broken hearts are sometimes harder to fix than broken health. All of us are broken people—this is the human condition. Whatever you feel today, God is with you.
Source: Gettysburg Presbyterian Church