I think the only time I find it truly easy to admit I am broken is when I am using it as an excuse for why I am not responsible for the way I have hurt someone. “Well, what could you expect? I am broken, really screwed up, and I have a history of being hurt myself.” The old lie, that old terrible Christian excuse, “Well, after all, I am just a sinner.” pops its head up in one form or another.
When this happens, it is easy to admit my brokenness. The rest of the world is responsible for its brokenness, but not me. I am helpless to do anything to change. What, I gossiped about you? Why is that a problem? You hurt me and deserved it.
As I have been on this journey of confession and repentance over the last five years, I have come to make some observations about how my willingness to deal with my own character defects directly impacts the intimacy I experience in my relationships.
Jesus tells me not to be intimate with people who don’t have good character. I am convinced that not only is this true, but my own character directly impacts whether I am able to be in intimate relationships with people with good character.
My willingness to admit and face my brokenness directly impacts whether I am able to actually enjoy healthy intimacy with those around me.
My character definitely impacts whether wise people will want to have a deep meaningful relationship with me.
When I experience a broken relationship with another believer and turn to finger pointing instead of soul searching, I am wrong. Period. It doesn’t matter what the other person did. I do believe there are times when other believers will hurt me and demonstrate such poor character that I will have to put up really strong boundaries to keep the relationship healthy, but I don’t think this decision is ever made by finger pointing instead of soul searching.
Every relationship in my life is majorly impacted by my brokenness. It is best to remain very aware of this. It is best to walk humbly.
This morning I woke up and had a revelation. God has been giving me a lot of revelations when I wake up recently. It is pretty cool to wake up to a whole new perspective on a situation.
This morning’s revelation was that it is by the grace of God that I have been able to engage in deep, meaningful relationships here. I definitely have not earned this right. All the ministry in my life, the amazing relationships with the family I serve with, and the financial freedom I have in my life is a gift from Him. I didn’t earn it.
This revelation was a pretty big deal for me. Not because I necessarily thought I had done enough to earn it, but because I have been trying very hard for a very long time to earn it.
This morning without trying, and without feeling guilty as I did so, I remembered all kinds of crazy ways I have acted as I began to experience healthy intimacy in my spiritual family. I remembered the crazy things I said to people, the fear, my attitude and my walls.
I became incredibly grateful that I am in a community that demonstrates God’s grace because otherwise I would have been told to leave a long time ago. Instead of rejecting me in my pain, they demonstrated God’s grace. They never told me my actions were okay, but they loved me anyway. They loved me even when I didn’t always act lovely. This morning I felt deeply humbled by the love of God and that of His people.
There have been so many times along this journey when I didn’t want to look at my own part in broken relationships. I wanted to cast stones and defend myself. I wanted to leave this community and go find another one, so that I did not have to face my own brokenness.
I am so grateful I stayed because with every layer of brokenness I faced within myself, I deepened my experience of intimacy in my relationship with God and others.
It is true I could have abandoned Jersey City and sought refuge in Houston, Seattle or San Francisco. Something I have often done in the past as a way to escape intimacy. But I stayed right here to deepen my experience of God as I continually confess and repent as I demonstrate love to His children and the world around me.
Facing myself is an incredibly difficult endeavor. It takes courage, but the payout is priceless.
When is the last time your own confession and repentance has transformed the intimacy in one of your relationships? Is there an area of your life where it might do you good to do an inventory of your character and repent of your current actions?