Jamie Fuller | Servant Coordinator
Son of man, groan before the people! Groan before them with bitter anguish and a broken heart.Ezekiel 21:6 (NLT)
Here, we see God command the prophet Ezekiel to cry out in grief in front of the people over coming judgement. This was not just hunched shoulders or simply a sad face. This was a complete physical display of brokenness over sin and it’s consequences.
Almost two years ago, while at work, I received word that my dad had passed away suddenly. There was no wrestling with how I was going to respond. My soul was crushed and I physically fell down on the nearest couch in the Atrium. In front of my coworkers, I lost it. Crushed under the weight of death and grief-stricken, I began to sob. I couldn’t fix it.
There have been a couple of other times in my life, due to my own failures or watching someone I love struggle with sin that I have felt a response like that. Crying out to God in humility and despair. Oh, how I wish it didn’t take me so long to get there.
More often than not, when it comes to our own sin or being burdened for those who are lost or in bondage, I think we are guilty of having more of a “bothered” response.
Sin and its results just agitate us like a gnat. It’s like getting annoyed and just moving to another spot, like we do when someone next to us is chewing too loud (you know you’ve at least thought about doing that!) or we just elbow the sin, like I do to my husband if he is snoring and I want to make it stop for a while.
Maybe we’re just bothered enough to offer up a checklist prayer but not ask and persist fervently over that thing. Bothered but not broken. Swatting the sin away but not surrendering.
Why do we need to be unable to try hard enough or fix it before we cry out to God for change and deliverance for ourselves, those we love, or for a world that needs Jesus?
There are people in the Bible like Hannah, who was crying out to God over her barrenness so much that she was thought to be drunk (1 Samuel 1). Mordecai who tore his robes and went throughout the streets in grief (Esther 4:1). David who wrote Psalm 51 in response to his own adultery. Nehemiah who was broken-hearted over the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4). These people knew where their help came from. They knew they were doomed in their own efforts and that the way to freedom was through a broken, desperate plea to the Great I AM.
Look at the difference between these words:
Bothered: worried, disturbed, upset
Broken: smashed, shattered, crushed, in bits and pieces
I’m asking myself and I challenge you too. Are you bothered or broken?
Bothered delays, but broken depends.
We can tolerate bothered for a long time. We can accept status quo. We can walk in bondage and unbelief. Or we can be broken. If we’re honest, broken is scary. Who wants to be broken?
But I submit to you that being broken is the way to being whole.
Psalm 51 tells us: The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart.
Let’s stop swatting sin and start surrendering self.
Let’s stop being bothered and be broken.
After all, we have a Savior who was broken for us.
Father, give us soft hearts. Don’t let us settle for bothered. Sin is serious and the enemy wants us to be flippant, hopeless, and calloused about it. Make us sick over sin. Help us to be broken before you. Help us bend the knee and bow our heads. Replace our distraction with desperation. Pride replaced with your sufficiency and power to bring about change and deal with sin in our lives. Thank you for being broken for us. Amen.