Systemic Brokenness

Written by MayBell Developments – February 28th, 2022

It’s no secret that our world is broken.  That we’ve parted from what God has created us to be and have wreaked havoc in our relationships, but have we truly considered how deep our brokenness goes?  When we think about the fall, we think about the separation that it caused between us and God. As you can imagine, this isn’t all that broke when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Will in the Garden of Eden.  Just as Jesus’ death and resurrection shook all of creation, Adam and Eve’s disobedience shook all of creation.  

We are the Broken

Our Western world is waking up to the brokenness of our very human selves.  The mental health movement is sweeping Canada and the US and providing much-needed support to those suffering from the brokenness of the fall.  In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were whole, they lived WITH God, he knew their hearts and minds and spoke into their lives every day.  They had no sinful thoughts, they had no negative voices speaking into their hearts and minds.  How often throughout your day do you have negative thoughts towards yourself, towards others, towards your Creator, towards the world around you? 

As we recognize our brokenness, we are able to reach out for healing to the Son of Man who has created all and has experienced our pain.  In Matthew 4, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  During this passage, the devil is continually speaking negativity into Jesus. 

He tempted Jesus to make bread… you are not satisfied with what you have, you deserve this.

He tempted Jesus to test God… you don’t need your Creator, you can do this yourself.

He tempted Jesus with power… you can be more than this, you can have it all.

Be aware that Jesus resists each of these temptations by leaning on the Word of God.  He does not trust in His own strength to resist the devil’s accusations but points to God as His stronghold.

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4, Deut. 8:3

“Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” – Matthew 4:7, Deut. 6:16

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” – Matthew 4:10, Deut. 6:13

Today the devil is using his same tricks in new ways.  He has plenty of avenues to speak negativity and accusations into your life. Social media, for example, opens us up to a comparison trap, we compare our lives to the highlight reels of those around us which can lead to these accusations “you’re not enough”, “you’re not satisfied”, etc. Increased social media has led us to become more isolated as a society.  When we lack connection we will become increasingly susceptible to the devil’s lies.  If you find you are struggling with mental health, please reach out for connection.  Connection with God and connection with those around you.


They are the Broken

Sometimes it’s easier to see the brokenness in our own lives and not in the lives of others although the reverse may also be true.  That same brokenness or lack of fulfillment that we feel in ourselves is felt by everyone around us.  If we don’t take the time to look at our own brokenness we will fail to see the brokenness of everyone else.  Being prideful in our assuredness that we “have it all together” is one of the devil’s lies and convinces us that our peers, acquaintances, and even strangers should be just like us.   

When we recognize our own brokenness we can empathize with the stories of those around us and meet others in their brokenness.  

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. – 1 Cor. 9:19-23

Paul talks of meeting people where they are.  In whatever circumstance they are in he becomes like them, not compromising his convictions, not tricking them, but meeting with them in a judgment-free zone.  Allowing them to see his imperfections and understanding that they as well are not perfect people.  Gaining their trust through understanding.

This is where we need to be.  In a state of understanding the imperfections of ourselves and everyone around us.  There has only ever been one perfect person on this earth, Jesus Christ, and though we should aspire to be like Him in our actions, we know we will never be perfect.  Christ’s perfect love covers our imperfections but we still know they are there and we should know they exist in all of us.


It is the Broken

Let’s go back to Eden. The world was perfect.  God’s creation lived in harmony with one another and with Him.  God had gone so far as to create order within that perfect world. He placed humankind as rulers and caregivers over the animals and over the earth. We were designed to have a sense of order, responsibility, and care for other living beings.  When Adam and Eve disobeyed God the relationship with God and with others were not the only relationships that broke; the relationship of order and care also became broken.

God’s good design was for Him to be our King and rule over us with a kind and gentle hand.  In 1 Samuel, we see God’s people reject Him as King and chose to have their (our) own people rule over them. 

“No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord.  And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.”  – 1 Samuel 8:19-22

When imperfect humans become rulers the devil gains another tool, imperfect humans build imperfect systems. Today we look around and see broken systems everywhere. Over governmental system is broken.  It carries responsibilities it was never meant to carry.

Structural injustice, inequitable education systems, embedded racism, power imbalances, and class struggle are just a few examples of systemic brokenness that might mean that the poor do everything right, but still end up in a very difficult situation. These systems cannot be overcome on an individual level but as a whole. Sometimes it might mean helping low-income people avoid oppressive parts of the system, sometimes it means creating a parallel system where they can flourish, and sometimes it means changing the system altogether but it cannot be done alone. In a world of isolation, the help of others is often hard to find.  


Jesus Heals All

We know Jesus heals.  We can see His healing even in our world today. Though we may often turn a blind eye or attribute His healing to other sources. For those who hold Jesus in our hearts, we see clearly His good works.   

In Biblical times, we see Jesus’ works flowing directly from Him but how does Jesus work in our world today?

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. -1 Corinthians 3:9

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  – 1 Corinthians 3:16

They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:45-47

We are Jesus in our world.  We set our eyes on Him and allow His love to overflow our hearts so that we may pour His love into those around us.  We cannot wait on our broken systems to create the Godly change that this world needs but must act faithfully on God’s Will for our world.

Be encouraged today to spend some time with the Lord. Discern where He is calling you to act or who He is calling you to disciple to. Then ACT. 

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – 1 Corinthians 12:27


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