A religious ‘doctrine’ has been taught to me since I was a babe in Christ and I accepted it and have taught it to others. I’ve written the teaching into countless articles and my book. However, several months ago God prompted me to seek Him and really study the accepted ‘truth’ that God wants us broken.
After weeks on this study I am left with no doubt about why some Christians (me until now) struggle to have an “Abba Father” relationship with God…one that causes us to lie down in green pastures with God’s perfect joy, peace and rest…a relationship bathed in “lively hope” and love for the God of our salvation/sozo (to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): – heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.)…a relationship bathed in positive hope and victory in Christ instead of so much sadness and depression and anxiety. I’ve struggled with this dichotomy of brokenness vs. wholeness for years and know the issues it causes. But God…enabled me to break this stronghold with the truth of His Word.
I hope this study prompts much thought and consideration and prods many to take a long look at this widely accepted church ‘doctrine’…asking the Holy Spirit to guide and lead and rightly divide the Word of God.
(Words in parenthesis are Strong’s Concordance definitions for the previous word.)
My pastor adamantly stated recently that a doctrine/teaching or instruction cannot be based on just one verse in the Bible. However, this verse is always used to support the doctrine of brokenness: Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken (to burst; bring to the birth, crush, destroy, hurt, quench) spirit: a broken and a contrite (to collapse (physically or mentally): – break sore) heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Question: Is the reason this scripture is always used because it is the only scripture in the Bible that ‘seems’ to say anything ‘positive’ about brokenness? I have always been taught and believe that a teaching should be based upon two or three truths of scripture but I cannot find others that support the teaching that we are to seek to be broken.
This verse starts with the phrase: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”
Proverbs 17:22 is the only other scripture that refers to a ‘broken spirit.’ Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth (to be ashamed, confused, disappointed, confounded) the bones”
In reading the above two verses, Psalm 51:7 and Proverbs 17:22 and the word definitions from the Strong’s Concordance I was jolted by a huge question about Luke 4:18 Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”.
Word definitions from Strong’s Concordance:
Poor—beggerly; destitute of learning or culture
Brokenhearted—break in pieces, bruise, to tear one’s own body, shatter one’s strength
Blind—physically blind; ignorance to spiritual things
Liberty—release from bondage or imprisonment (strong holds)
Bruised—break, shatter, smite through
The jolting question, which came from deep within my spirit, was how can I seek to be broken and accept all Jesus came to provide for me? And the Word of God immediately filled my mind with scripture concerning His will for my being whole.
Matthew 9:22 “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” (whole: to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): – heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole.)
Matthew 12:13 “Then saith He to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.” (whole: healthy, that is, well (in body); figuratively true (in doctrine): – sound, whole.”
Matthew 14:36 “And besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” (perfectly whole: to save thoroughly, that is, (by implication or analogy) to cure, preserve, rescue, etc.: – bring safe, escape (safe), heal, make perfectly whole, save.)
Matthew 15:28 “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (whole: to cure (literally or figuratively): – heal, make whole.)
John 5:6 “When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” (whole: healthy, that is, well (in body); figuratively true (in doctrine): – sound, whole.)
Acts 9:34 “And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately.” (whole: to cure (literally or figuratively): – heal, make whole.)
Whole…God wants us whole, complete, nothing missing nothing broken! And whole is the opposite of broken.
The rest of Psalm 51:17*: “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
Let’s look at Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth (open wide or free) such as be of a contrite (crushed to powder or destroyed) spirit.”
Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” (delivereth: to snatch away, defend, deliver (self), escape, without fail, part, pluck, preserve, recover, rescue, rid, save, strip, surely, take (out).
I have spent weeks seeking and listening to God’s still small voice concerning these Scriptures because my accepting of, and belief in, this ‘doctrine’ has caused much uncomfortable confusion in my walk with God. Through this study I realized that I needed to purge it and let Scripture renew my mind. I believe without doubt these passages of Scripture are teaching me that God does not and will not condemn us for being broken by adverse circumstances…carrying baggage from our past until we learn to lay it at the cross. But the Word of God teaches that Jesus died for our salvation and the word for ‘saved’ is “sozo” which defined by the Strong’s Concordance means: to save, that is, deliver or protect (literally or figuratively): – heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. I could not help but to come to the conclusion that it is a dichotomy to say that I am saved/made hole by the blood of the Lamb of God BUT I need to seek to be broken.
*I went back into the Hebrew for Psalms 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” And I believe the following text explains it very well.
“Sacrifice to God is the birthing of the Spirit. – or – Sacrifice to God is the quenching of anger. A humble heart God will not condemn. – or – A broken/crushed/oppressed heart God will not condemn.
Now I know what people MEAN when they say that a Christian should become “broken.” They really mean bringing the body (flesh) and soul (mind, will and emotions) under the control of the spirit. And that IS completely scriptural! But that process, starting with the renewal of the mind, is a process of becoming WHOLE!
You (the real you) are a spirit, you have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and you live in a body (your Earth suit). When the Bible refers to your “heart” it’s not referring to your “blood pump.”
In the Bible the HEART is the combination of your SPIRIT and SOUL. When you are born-again, your SPIRIT is renewed but your SOUL is not. Therefore even the born-again Christian can still have a broken HEART. It was completely broken, but now that your SPIRIT is made new, your HEART is half way healed.
Now through the Word of God, The name of Jesus and the broken body of Jesus we are instructed to begin the process of the renewal of the mind. Once that process is under way, the will and emotions will follow. The further you progress through this renewal process, the more WHOLE your heart becomes.
God doesn’t BREAK you so that He can make you WHOLE any more than you would break your child’s leg so that you could nurse him back to health! That’s sick!
Christian WHOLENESS and “Christian Brokenness” are completely incompatible. Every Christian should fully appropriate EVERYTHING that Jesus has done for us to make us WHOLE in every way. Even though some Christians may remain broken in some areas of their life, no Christian should be content in remaining broken. And NO Christian should EVER seek to become broken in any way.” (T. Greenwood)
My friend responded: “God doesn’t take lightly, reject, or despise our broken hearts. That doesn’t mean he WANTS them broken! It is NOT the state He wants us in!
He will humble the proud, and he will train us through adversity. But the goal is humility, Christ-likeness, and wholeness, not brokenness.”
God sent His word and healed the Israelites. I’ve had the misfortune in my Christian life to be fed–and resign myself to–the doctrine of brokenness. That word/teaching/doctrine cannot edify a Christian and cannot heal brokenness for it keeps one wounded and bleeding. Many good Bible scholars call it TOXIC to the soul and a poison to joy and growth in Christ.