I am just going to lay this out there: one of the things that I struggle with as a pastor is brokenness. I struggle with the Church's brokenness. I struggle with the local church's brokenness. I struggle with congregant's brokenness. I struggle with my own brokenness.
Brokenness means pain. Someone is always going to experience pain in the brokenness, either it is the person who is broken or another person because of that brokenness. We can't escape the brokenness we can only surrender either to the brokenness or to Christ.
Let me explain. Often I think we surrender to the brokenness. It is easier. We can avoid it on our own terms or we can try to control it on our own terms. In both situations, the brokenness wins. There is another way and that is surrendering the brokenness to Christ. Opening oneself up to the guidance of another is tough, it means facing our own brokenness and realizing we can't do it on our own.
I had a wonderful and painful conversation with someone recently who posed the inquiry on whether things were being done out of fear rather than faithfulness. It really got me thinking about how often we surrender to brokenness because of fear from the individual level all the way up to the institutional level.
I speak of this from a personal level. My own brokenness around issues with my father dominated my life for 25 years. I surrendered to the brokenness rather than surrendering to Christ and trusting that my faithful response would lead me towards a better way of living. I wanted things on my terms and I wanted to heal myself. Of course that reaction was nothing more than surrendering to my own brokenness and how it had shaped me to want to have control over a situation in response to my inability to have control over what my father chose to do. It wasn't until Christ broke through via the guidance of a supervisor at my field placement that I began to surrender to Christ. Once I surrendered and said okay I am going to do something Christ is leading me to do even though I don't want to do it internally, then things began to be healed. What if I hadn't responded faithfully (doing something I didn't internally want to do)? How would my brokenness in that situation continue to control me?
These are questions I ask of myself, but I also wonder how often our choices as communities and as institutions are done out of fear rather than out of faithfulness.