Broken, messy, used to failing

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Broken, messy, used to failing. Not the adjectives you would expect to be used to describe a Christian. I would use them to describe me as a Christian.

You see the opinion a lot of people have is that Christians are pious, judgemental and have it all together. The ‘holier than thou’ approach.

Is this unfair? I don’t think it is. I think the issue is that we have forgotten how to vulnerable, forgotten that ultimately we are broken and that we need help to be fixed, we can’t do it alone and that help comes from Jesus not from working on it ourselves, by doing as many good deeds as we can in the attempt to earn goodness.

Human achievement – society is based on this concept. That everything is earned through doing enough, working hard enough, being busy enough. The problem is in the attempt to earn goodness and achieve accolades we have lost the art of vulnerability. We have created a culture where vulnerability is synonymous with weakness. We strive to out busy each other, to prove we are better than the next person. We lie about the fact that we are struggling. We pretend we don’t care about others.

I myself have fallen into this trap. Why? Because I am broken and messy and at times I fail.

We don’t like the word fail but the truth is that we all do but rarely will we acknowledge it to ourselves let alone others.

In the church we have become adept at hiding our failures from one another. Forgetting the very reason we are there. We need to return to a culture of vulnerability. We need to be prepared to say to each other that we are broken and messy and that we fail. That we can’t fix it all ourselves.

If we don’t, there is the danger that we create a place where people feel they have to live up to a certain set of standards to belong and that is far from the church we are called to be.

We need to be prepared to say to the world that we don’t have it all together, that we struggle, that we don’t have all the answers, that life is hard. We need to be vulnerable. We are no better, we are not ‘holier than thou’.

We need to display that we love each other in our messes, in our troubles, in our failures. We need to show that ultimately we love.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t live out of my brokeness but I know I have brokeness. I don’t live feeling a failure but I know I fail. I don’t call myself a mess but my life can be messy.

Vulnerability is hard because it means being susceptible to attack because you let people in to your life as it is without hiding anything.

I think that means being prepared to die to self doesn’t it? forgoing reputation?

This post is my first step towards true vulnerability. What will yours be?

5 thoughts on “Broken, messy, used to failing

  1. Yes we mustn’t try to kid anyone. Jesus is for all those who are broken. He came to heal the sick not the self righteous

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      • I know when I preach I nearly always express my own struggles to live up to things I am teaching. Sometimes I wonder if that ok, but I suspect it is.

        In a bible study group in our city recently, I was talking about the difficulty in living out our faith in the workplace, and someone challenged me that I was making Christianity just a theory.

        I do hold on to faith in Jesus, but if I’m honest I constantly fail to live it out. Don’t think I’m alone in that. People need to see us as we really are.

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  2. Hear hear. That’s the biggest thing I feel God is calling me to keep saying – and doing myself. That we need to let down our masks and be real, rather than being who we think people expect us to be. Planning to write about this, so may well be coming to you for some further comment some time! ;D

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    • Thanks for commenting. Definitely something that keeps coming up, having been mulling over it for a couple of days but had to write it down. Happy to supply further comments as required 🙂

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