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Brokenness and Trust

Have you ever felt as though you are more messed up inside than other people?   The truth is, we’re all messed up. All of us are broken in ways that we want to hide. Recently, hanging out with some friends, I had a fresh reminder of my own brokenness. The next morning, I debriefed it with …
By Seth Barnes
Have you ever felt as though you are more messed up inside than other people?
 
The truth is, we’re all messed up. All of us are broken in ways that we want to hide. Recently, hanging out with some friends, I had a fresh reminder of my own brokenness. The next morning, I debriefed it with Karen and I told her, “I wish I had handled that differently.”
 
I have these kinds of debriefs because I don’t want to ever deny my brokenness. If I’m to grow, I have to embrace it.
 
We want to hide from the pain of failure and poor decision-making. Life as you’ve lived it doesn’t work there. It’s a place of pain, a place of tearing down, of deconstruction.
 
We need to recognize our own dysfunction and inadequacy. The irony is that, no matter how far we travel to escape it, inevitably we find the brokenness within us. Try as we might to hide from them or ignore them, we carry our flaws with us.
 
We are broken

Henri Nouwen says it well, “We live with broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds or broken spirits. We suffer from broken relationships. How can we live our brokenness? Jesus invites us to embrace our brokenness as he embraced the cross and live it as part of our mission. He asks us not to reject our brokenness as a curse from God that reminds us of our sinfulness but to accept it and put it under God’s blessing for our purification and sanctification. Thus our brokenness can become a gateway to new life.”
 
The question is, can you trust anyone to help you work through your brokenness? Many of us would rather not trust people we don’t know well. And some people never have learned how to trust in the first place.
 
I had a friend who loved a girl. She got so tired of waiting year after year for him to pull the trigger that she eventually married another guy. I don’t know if he ever got over that. Trusting again has been hard.
 
Who knows why any given person ends up that way. But everyone has been burned. It’s normal to have your trust broken. Some move on and some keep looking over their shoulder. The scenes of what happened to hurt them keep playing in their minds. The place of low trust comes to define them.
 
They come to a conclusion and make a decision. They think: “Trusting was hard and I got burned. The only way to avoid that kind of pain is to not trust again, so I’m not going to any more.” 
 
Jesus trusted
 
Jesus began his ministry with a discourse on taking the opposite tack. “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” His point was to let God sort out the issues of justice and to not be so concerned with broken trust. If you really look at the sermon on the mount, Jesus said some crazy, hard-to-swallow stuff. 
 
I don’t know where you come from, but I’ve taken those situations where I got burned and tried to do what doesn’t come naturally. When I’ve been betrayed, I’ve sought to forgive the person right away. When a big risk blows up in my face, I regroup and find a way to risk again.
 
The best things in my life have required buckets of trust. My marriage, my friendships, my ministry, my faith. And yes, I’ve been burned. But I’ve also seen miracles! Trusting God when it doesn’t make sense seems to delight him. I have fallen so many times, but I’ve also lived a life filled with adventures. It’s been worth it.
 
How do you do at trusting people? What kind of place do you come from? We all have reasons not to trust, but life is happier when we leave them behind.
 
If you want to grow in your ability to trust, why not take a small step today? Find someone who has wounded you, someone who has revealed your brokenness, and do something nice for them. Reach out to them and see if your capacity to trust doesn’t grow.
 
Keep doing that and over time, your life will change. It’s the one sure way to navigate through brokenness.

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