Brokenness Made Beautiful

A while ago, we were given a front-load clothes washer machine. All of our previous clothes washers were top-load machines, which would wobble, jump and dance when they became unbalanced with a heavy load of clothes. But when this front-load machine gets unbalanced, it stops, waits, and then starts up again. Because the clothes tumble when the machine comes to a stop, it is now rebalanced and it is able to spin smoothly.

Kintsugi 2
Photo by Haragayato on Wikimedia Commons

Human beings also have a way to rebalance themselves, but we often lack peace because our rebalancing system does not work very well. We feel tension at our core because of discrepancies between our beliefs and our behaviours. We want to believe that we are good people, but we all have something in our life that challenges that belief. So we try to resolve our inner tension by changing our beliefs to match our bad behaviour and say that what we are doing is ok. But when we do that, we keep on hurting ourselves and others and no one gets healthy and whole.

But God has a better way to bring us peace. In Isaiah 11:1-10, God promised that he would send a new branch that would rise up out of the stump of hopelessness that God’s people experienced in 586 BC when they lost their king, country and temple. This promised new branch was the Messiah, Jesus, who came into this world as baby born in Bethlehem and went to the cross as an adult on a hill outside Jerusalem. There Jesus took all of our sin, guilt and shame away from us and paid the full cost to heal all of our brokenness and frailties. And on the third day after his death, Jesus rose from the dead to give us a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

Jesus does this by completing us. Where we are faithless, he is faithful. Where we are sinful, he is sinless. Where we fall short in love, Jesus abounds in steadfast love. Wherever we fall short, Jesus fills that gap and makes us whole so that, in him, we have peace.

The Japanese have an art form called kintsugi where broken pottery is repaired by fusing the broken pieces back together with a precious metal like gold. The end product is not only repaired, it is fall more beautiful and valuable that it was before. The brokenness of the original pottery is evident—you can see the seams of brokenness that contain the gold—but that brokenness is what helps the pottery to be a beautiful work of art.

Jesus has done the same thing for us. He loves, accepts, forgives and completes us. In his tender care, we become beloved and beautiful, precious works of art that have been transformed by the Master Artisan.

As we change our beliefs to match God’s truth that, in Jesus, we are forgiven, loved and accepted just as we are, we have inner peace, and that inner peace helps us to be at peace with those around us (Rom. 12:18).

Dear Jesus, help us to rest in your love and forgiveness, and trust that we are complete in you. Help us to believe that you unconditionally love, forgive and accept us. Help us to love, forgive and accept others. Amen.

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