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The Gift of Brokenness

One of my favorite Psalms is King David’s confession of his sin in Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God,according to your unfailing love;according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquityand cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinnedand done what is evil in your sight.

Let me tell you why I like it. Everyone, especially leaders, need to have a reality check from time to time. That reality check is about their brokenness before God. 

Remember the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18? They both came to plead their case and one was a proud man and he wanted everyone to know about his great success. The other man knew that his life was broken and he was in need of mercy. 

11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

The Bible says the man who was broken received what he needed from God in that moment of honesty. 

I just read of another famous Christian pastor who resigned recently because of some issues of indiscretion. Not all of these leaders who resign are guilty of the things they are accused of, but the accusations will always be a question mark in the minds of people. Some leaders, however, have lived like the Pharisee in the parable of Luke 18. They stand on their accomplishments as if they were a conquering hero. They see themselves as successful and a cut above the other leaders in the herd, totally unaware that the great leaders have little to brag about and most of them have wounds that result in walking with a limp. They, like the tax collector, know their leadership is flawed and often inept when called upon to lead. They make mistakes and respond like King David, with a spirit of brokenness and repentance.

Leaders who walk with a limp are often the kind of people you can trust to lead because they understand brokenness and the pain of failure. King David failed as a leader, and as a parent, yet God knew that through his brokenness he was still a man who pursued God with all his heart. I love people who are vulnerable and are not afraid to tell you why they limp. They openly share the cost of their brokenness and the joy of God’s restorative mercy, which enables them to rebuild their life from the ashes of failure. You may be suffering from some kind of brokenness today, but instead of seeing is as an insurmountable failure, you see it as an opportunity for God to restore you with new hope and promise. I don’t think King David ever forgot the words he wrote in Psalm 51, because his brokenness helped him experience God’s mercy as it covered a multitude of sins. 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

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