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Brokenness is universal

We’re in Cambodia, a beautiful land that has endured more pain than virtually any other country in the last 30 years. Talk about brokenness. Cambodians still don’t talk about all the horrors that went on during Pol Pot.   And then add the sex trade on top of that and you’ve got a culture …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
We’re in Cambodia, a beautiful land that has endured more pain than virtually any other country in the last 30 years. Talk about brokenness. Cambodians still don’t talk about all the horrors that went on during Pol Pot.
 
And then add the sex trade on top of that and you’ve got a culture that has just had to learn to cope.
 
It reminds me of Jenny’s blog – she made this observation: “Brokenness is universal.”
 
It is indeed. Pain is universal. We’re born screaming, grow up, and have our hearts broken. Some of us go to war and have our bodies broken. We suffer and then acquire a limp – a brokenness that we carry with us.
 
Jenny saw it in her appointment at the manicurist:
The woman who did my nails was outgoing and easy to talk to. 33 years old and looked just like Kate Hudson- she was beautiful. Yet the more we talked the more her eyes revealed her pain and brokenness. She’s been a mom since 17- absolutely loves her kids, but never had a chance to really grow up herself. She said several times that she would have loved to travel the world… one day she hopes. She is unhappy in her marriage but wants her 5 year old daughter to have her daddy… she longs for freedom and independance. She longs for someone she can fully trust and depend on…
The older I get, the easier it seems to track the patterns of brokenness that trace their way through people’s lives. Spend any time at all really listening to someone share their heart and the brokenness comes through.
 
In Cambodia, the bar girls are ashamed that their moms have pimped them out. They can’t speak of their pain. They feel dead inside.
 
The first time they were trafficked and put to work, many of them fought. But after being beaten and hit multiple times, their will broke. And that brokenness has been with them ever since.
 
Our own breaking seems small by comparison. In the presence of such pain, your rights to complain fade. The fact that we do do anyway is yet another area in which we’re broken.
 
The irony is how we hide our brokenness. Shame attends it like a sea lamprey on a shark. We can’t bear the shame and so, we tell ourselves that we’re unique. That somehow our pain is special.
 
If we could only see how universal brokenness is, maybe it would be easier to drop the facade and let people touch us where we’re tender. Yes, it’s bad, but it’s not unique. 
 
If you’ve been in hiding, let me tell you, it’s not worth the
effort. What have you got that’s any different from anybody else? We’re
all broken (for an example, check out this post where nearly 100 people apologize to God).
 

Where do you feel most broken? What would keep you from sharing your brokenness and helping them see they’re not alone?

Comments (4)

  • Hi Seth,
    When I was part of a church trip to Cambodia in 2003 a highlight was our morning devotions with Cambodian workers at the Sunshine Centre near the Russian Market. Each day someone would share their testimony. While we all expected tragic circumstances when the locals shared their stories they were shocked when we shared ours. I think they were shocked to hear that people from an affluent society such as Australia weren’t insulated from the difficulties that the world can throw our way.
    Regards,
    Dave

  • Thanks Seth. There is community in brokenness but not outside of those places where everyone is broken at the foot of the cross. Leper colonies have more community than many churches do. Love you friend. Always….

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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