broken vs. brokeness

Is brokenness good or bad? Is brokenness the same as being broken?

I read an article the other day that said “God wants you WHOLE, complete, nothing missing nothing broken! Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc… That’s what I believe – and the scriptures back it up. WHOLE is the complete opposite of broken.”

I will agree for the most part of this idea, especially after looking at the Scriptures he uses to back himself up. God does want us to be whole physically. But what I am concerned about is the use of the word “broken.”

I do believe God wants us to enjoy Himself and enjoy life and His creation. But God never said everything is going to be good, perfect, easy…He promises danger, instability, and a life that will inevitably be broken. I do not believe in the prosperity Gospel. And I do believe God wants us to be broken all of the time, by this I mean physically and emotionally hurt and sadden.

I do think that God wants us to have a broken spirit (or spiritual brokenness) “which makes us sensitive and responsive to the Holy Spirit and develops spiritual maturity and character.”
Let me define the terms (broken and brokenness) and reference the Bible. I believe these two terms are two different concepts.

The more I read Tim’s article, the more I am confused by what he is trying to say. I think deep down he has got the concepts correct. But a lot of the Scriptures he uses are out of context or have nothing to do with spiritual brokenness. So now let me try my way of explaining it. Maybe Tim is saying the same thing. I am not sure.

Brokenness- Nancy DeMoss explains the brokenness I am talking about best, “Brokenness means the shattering of my self-will, so that the life and Spirit of the Lord Jesus may be released through me.” This brokenness is a shattering of our will. It is a choice, to let the Holy Spirit guide us instead of our own choices. (Acts 2: 38-41) People heard Peter’s preaching and they were broken in their hearts and ready to receive the Word of God. The Greek original, “katanusso” denotes a vehement piercing of sorrow. The tense of the verb indicates a one-time striking of the heart which brings one to the realization of the sorrow for one’s sin and the need for God’s grace.

Broken – being deeply hurt by tragic circumstances. A person may have experienced many deep hurts and tragedies.

This broken is physical, emotional – it is not the spiritual. It is painful, yes. But it completely different from what we mean we we are talking about spiritual brokenness. (Something God wants us to have.) Tim’s article does a good job explaining that God does not call us to be physical and emotionally sad all the time, hurt and broken down. This true. But I am saying that God does call us to a spiritual brokenness. And this brokenness is completely different from being broken. David was broken, due to his sin. Not spiritually broken but emotionally hurt. (Ps. 51:10) in the Hebrew word “shabar.” The Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew Lexicon denotes “shabar” with remarkable concrete-ness. Such meanings given for this root in it’s various moods include to break, to destroy in pieces, to break down, to hurt, to tear, to crush, to rend violently, to wreck, to rupture, to be maimed, to be crippled, to be wrecked, to shatter or be shattered.

This world is broken. The lost are hurt. They have been through train wrecks and are searching for truth and substance. A lot of unsaved folks are broken all the time. God does not want this. God comes to bring life and bring it abundantly. (Jn. 10:10)

To Christians God says this: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4: 8-9 (NIV)

Passion for Spiritual Brokenness:
For the Christian, we are called to have a heart for God and the Holy Spirit. A spiritual Brokenness.

Psa. 51:17(KJV) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Put it in other words:
Sacrifice to God is the birthing of the Spirit. A humble heart God will not condemn.

God does call us to brokenness. To live selflessly. To let the Holy spirit reign.

Here are some resources on this topic:

Begin in my sanctuary – article by Nancy DeMoss

The Heart God Revives worksheet

Broken people vs. Proud People

irenic, respect


Today I am looking at C Michael Patton’s Parchment and Pen blog again.
And the topic of on of his recent posts: irenic. (Really the post is about more than the word: irenic. But I am focusing on the word irenic and not throughly looking at Michael’s post, because I am intrigued by it.)

Irenic- “adj.

Promoting peace; conciliatory.

[Greek eirēnikos, from eirēnē, peace.]”

Michael says “This does not involve compromise, but a willingness to engage issues fairly.” He goes on to talk about how we should conduct ourselves online (and off line) when dealing with theological beliefs and issues. Basically how to be assertive and respectful at the same time.

Here is an excerpt from Michael’s blog post:
“Here are some of the characteristics to being irenic in theological conversation and controversy:

  • You accurately represent all theological positions, even when you strongly oppose them.
  • Your tone of engagement comes from a humble respectful attitude.
  • Your primary goal is not to win an argument, but to contribute to understanding.
  • Your defense of your position recognizes that strengths of the opposing side.
  • You are gentle.

Here are two important Scripture references concerning how we are to engage in theological discussion irenically:

2 Timothy 2:24 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” “

This is great advise. I agree with what he is saying. I think a lot of it is derived from personal experience, dealing with theology and controversial topics on a regular basis.

Synonyms for Irenic are :

Mollifying – To calm in temper or feeling; soothe, lessen the temper, soothe.

Appeasing – To bring peace, quiet, or calm to; soothe. Satisfy, pacify.

Pacifying – To ease the anger or agitation of. End war, bring peace.

Peace-making – settling disputes.

Assuaging – To make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe. To satisfy, calm.

Conciliatory – Tending to conciliate; pacific; mollifying; propitiating

Placatory – To allay the anger of, especially by making concessions; appease. Ease the anger.

Soothing – To calm or placate, ease, relieve, bring comfort.

Gentle – considerate or kindly in disposition; amiable and tender. Not harsh or severe.

Not hostile

Not aggressive

Not pro-active

I think Michael is saying we should be fair and balanced. Show all angles of an argument even if we do not agree, contribute to the understanding, and not being aggressive about our arguments. He is not suggesting that we are too be so gentle and Placate that our arguments are not there at all. We should be assertive enough to make stand our ground on an issue, but we need to do it gently and be fair.