This is a guest post from Tyler Braun. Tyler is a close friend that I have never actually met in person. But through the use of technology has become close. He is a pastor from Oregon whose first book, Why Holiness Matters, just released. You can find Tyler on Twitter or his blog, manofdepravity.com.
A few years ago I took a bad fall while riding my bike in downtown Portland. I went over a train track at a bad angle, the track grabbed my front wheel and jerked my handle bars and I flew head first right over my bike. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet I would have been in the hospital for a long time.
It was not my proudest moment.
In the days that followed I think I managed to show anyone and everyone my scars. I had a scar on my right hip and right knee. My right hand still has marks left on it, now almost 3 years later. But best of all, the scar on my helmet is a constant reminder how bad it could have been.
In the aftermath of this, I choose to celebrate my mishap. Just about every cyclist has a crash and burn story, and they are all quite skilled in celebrating it.
Everyone deserves to brag about their scars, right?
As a pastor’s kid I’ve seen almost everything there is to see inside the walls of a church. And one of the worst is the idolatry of brokenness. The story is similar to my bike crash, but replace the physical scars with sin and worship a sinful past instead.
We are all broken. We have all sinned. We all fall short.
And really, we all need to tell these stories, but so often we become worshipers of our brokenness.
Especially today, this brokenness is easy to see. I see it in the kids growing up without a dad at my youth group. I see it in the marriages that end in divorce. I see it in the crowded parking lot at the local strip club. And of course I see it in my own heart and mind quite often.
Rather than pursuing a life of perfection through works righteousness, many have ran the opposite direction and tried to prove themselves as broken. We hand out prizes to those who have the worst past.
“Look at all the crazy things I’ve done. Good thing God forgives me.” Is it any wonder why we’re so starved of healing when we have pride from our past. The past leaves scars we’d much rather ignore.
We love to the flirt with the line between worshiping the God who saves us from our brokenness and worshiping our brokenness. In settling to be more authentic about who we really are, we miss out on the calling God has given us to pursue holiness. I appreciate Brett McCracken’s take on this:
Brokenness and sin may seem the natural or more “real” state for us, but it’s not the ideal. We were made for more, and Christ’s atoning sacrifice allows us to become more human. That is, less broken and more healed (read the full post).
It’s no wonder we’re all so cynical about faith and church, because we focus on the wrong part of the story.
We focus on the brokenness, not the healing.
We focus on the sin, not the Savior.
We focus on the past, not the present.