I had another blog ready for this week, the second part to last week’s, “When Jesus Doesn’t Work.” But what happened in Las Vegas didn’t stay in Las Vegas and has me more concerned than ever. I have a lot to say, but I’m going to keep this brief. This blog won’t assuage the pain or erase the horror experienced by those at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. And I’m hesitant because I don’t want to capitalize on the abject evil as many politicians have. My hope is we’ll look long and hard at ourselves, examining and addressing the motives of our hearts. Yeah, this isn’t going to be easy.
It’s effortless to watch the news and cringe, hearing over and over again the sounds as bullets shower 20,000 people. But it’s excruciatingly difficult to find a dark, quiet corner, evaluating our own lives. So, instead, we simply become numb to our brokenness, feeling good about ourselves because let’s face it, we would never do what he did, would we? Maybe not. But God’s standards don’t release us from the hook swiftly.
And in numbness, this acceptance of it’s-just-how-it-is brokenness, we continue to produce more broken people. I learned a long time ago that we only produce after our kind; cows give birth to cows, rabbits birth rabbits, brokenness bears more brokenness. Is there ever an end? Do we believe broken hearts can produce healthy, whole people? A hurting, fractured man took lives and his pain reproducing, like rabbits.
One of the reasons I follow Jesus and not another are the promises the Bible offers in the way of healing and wholeness completely disconnected from my efforts. No other faith offers this. Apart from our human works, the Bible presents a painting of a God who heals, restores and provides. It displays an image of a God who mourns and weeps for the innocent. But just like any other gift, we have to embrace him, otherwise, our lives will never change.
Psalm 34 verse 18 reads this way, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” And there are passages upon passages where God reveals his tenderness towards and connection with the broken. Jesus displayed the qualities and characteristics of a holy God, lifting the hurting and alleviating their pain.
One day Jesus took the scroll of Isaiah and found this place where he read.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And then he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18,19, 21
Jesus intentionally selected this passage and claimed it for himself! He purposefully announced himself as the healer, the rescuer, and the savior. We can reject Jesus for all sorts of reasons, but this fact remains, wrestling with his historically pinned presence is essential. In Jesus, we trade our brokenness for wholeness. Until then, all of us are susceptible to heinous acts of violence, overt or subtle.
You can put a Maserati emblem on a Ford, but you're still stuck with a Ford.
You can be religious and broken. You can call yourself a Christian, a pastor, a bishop and still broken. It's not about a title, it's about a connection with the life-changing Jesus. Without submitting to the life-changing power of the Spirit of Jesus, nothing changes. You can put a Maserati emblem on a Ford, but you're still stuck with a Ford.
Why do we expect people to live whole lives without being transformed on the inside? The value of Jesus is about the gifts he’s offering to us who are willing to surrender our tainted lives for his healing.
Confronting the darkness of our own lives, this is the harder and deeper work. The only One who can change hearts is Jesus. Until we surrender, allowing Him unmitigated entrance into the crevasses of our lives, superficial Band-Aids will have to do, but we’ll still have broken hearts.