Saturday, January 29, 2011

Only the Clean and Unbroken

I drove past the local flower shop, and cringed when I read the sign.

“Only the Clean and Unbroken.”

I knew the store owner was recycling floral vases and encouraging people to bring them in rather than throw them away. I knew the sign referred to the inexpensive glass containers used to deliver bouquets and rosebuds.

But somehow the words felt like a personal indictment: I was anything but clean and unbroken.

“Oh, God,” I thought. “What if you required me to be unsoiled and whole before coming to you? What would I do with the stained and broken pieces of my life?

Israel’s great shepherd-king wrote, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

The Message version puts it this way: “Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”

King David cried out in Psalm 51 as a broken and sin-stained man. He had not only stolen another man’s wife, but also had that man killed. As a result, an innocent child died. Not exactly a pristine situation.

Yet David knew he could run to his God in spite of the blood on his hands and the blackness of his heart. He knew the Lord would look on his brokenness and repentance and forgive him, wash him, and make him whole again.

Centuries later when Jesus was accused by religious leaders of hanging out with the riff-raff, he replied, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.” (Mark 2:17 The Message).

God is in the recycling business, but unlike the local florist, he restores and recycles human wreckage.

Yes, he wants to use us again, but first he will do what we cannot: put us back together and wash us with the sin-cleansing blood of Jesus.

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