The theme of brokenness and being poor in the spirit has been echoing around me for a number of years. A great friend of both us and the work here is Kyle Miller, a counsellor that has been a great support to Freedom Home. His main teaching centers on the Beattitudes, a model of healing and restoration. (His link is here).
The beginning of healing and wholeness comes when we understand our poverty and can mourn our brokenness, our hurt and our pain. That is the beginning.
One observation we've had at Freedom Home. (Perhaps the home there is such a good example because of its intensity. It forces things to the surface quicker, and their isn't the space to avoid confronting your own issues). There comes a point in all staff and workers where THEY have to confront their own weaknesses, sins, flaws, and history. If they are unwilling...they'll not stay. Either their attitude will cause them to depart or we have to ask them to leave.
I am not talking about pagans here, but mature believers. But in order to mature as God wants you to mature, you have to confront some things. Such things as:
- Pride--some tend to think they are "better," at the home to "help" these unfortunate women. When we think we are "better," pride has already entered our hearts.
- Shame--perhaps it is our shame that prevents us from sharing our history. We are embarrassed to remember what we did. But when we share the secret, we break its power over us. We must not be ashamed of being "sinners saved by grace." We were sinners.
- Relationships--the healing at FH comes because its a community, a family. We are imperfect, but we must be striving to grow. Conflict is natural, and we have to learn how to resolve conflict. We must learn how to ask forgiveness and learn how to let go of grudges.
- Submission--you will never be a leader until you learn how to submit. I've seen that so clearly in some huge failures. One person could not submit to leadership, a huge spiritual flaw that will stop all future growth.
These are just a few examples. I could list a lot more: worship leaders that rely more on their natural music talents than on the Spirit of God, counsellors that think they have wisdom and words and skills, rather than relying on the Wonderful Counsellor, preachers that can craft their words in such a way as to bring the tears.
I've seen it in missionary letters, i.e. "We've done ______, or planted _______, or started ______" Who is getting the credit?
I've seen it in church missions reports, i.e. "We are the _____ largest giving in the district!"
Lack of brokenness comes when we need to look so great, so perfect, and so "holy" that we have no chance to let God in. If we become full of ourself, we won't have room for God.
Poor in spirit helps us empty ourselves of OURSELF. Then and only then can the Holy Spirit enter to give healing.
There are lots of examples of people full of themself...prideful, holding grudges, totally blind to their flaws.
But to find brokenness, we have to look a lot farther.
Could I be so bold to say that God really doesn't care that much about how many campuses you have, how many books you've written, how many sermons you've preached, how many churches and ministrues you've started, and how large of a conference you spoke at.
He does care if you are poor in spirit. And that you mourn over your own frailness. And that we are meek.