Beautiful and Broken
I was making one of my favourite salads for dinner last night – it has cucumber and radish and avocado and basil (let me know if you want the recipe – easy and delicious!).
I had planned to make it a few days ago, so the veggies had been living in my fridge for just over a week. Not really a big deal. They looked great, and felt great – nothing slimy or stinky or anything.
After washing my radishes I began to thinly slice them – and I remembered how much I love radishes. Kinda spicy and crunchy…I don’t eat them enough. And besides the taste they are pretty – the fuschia on the outside makes the white on the inside pop.
Except when the inside is black.
Which was what I found upon my first slice.
It definitely wasn’t the kind of “pop” I was looking for.
And I’ll be honest, as I continued slicing – I found myself becoming annoyed and just a little panicked.
Panicked because the radish is a pretty important – some might say vital – component of a cucumber-radish salad.
But annoyed because when I checked the produce earlier in the day there was no indication that this was what I was going to find.
I mean, the radishes were beautiful.
They smelled great, they were firm and smooth and the right colour. Yet the first 2 I sliced were completely black inside. It wasn’t even like a potato where I could just cut off the bad part and use the rest. It was black all the way through. Completely rotten and unsalvageable.
Now, to put your mind at ease and complete my compelling story, only 3 of my 11 radishes were rotten. The salad was yummy and all is right in the Jurik’s culinary world. Crisis averted.
But as I sat down today to write and help us walk through this next portion of the book of Matthew I realized that how I felt about the state of my radishes – annoyed and panicked – is actually how I feel about myself sometimes.
Pastor Vijay explained in his message this week that we were all born beautiful and broken in virtually all facets of our lives. He unpacked how this plays out specifically in our sexuality and how Jesus’ revolutionary life and teaching changes everything about this aspect of our lives.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The beautiful and the broken creeps into everything – into our relationships with God and with each other, into our motives and heart and dreams and perceptions. When we realize this, it can be annoying, and it can even make us start to panic. Especially when we have invited Jesus to change us but we are confronted with the reality that His revolution is not a one-and-done type of thing. That we need to be revolutionized by him over and over, again and again.
Jesus wants to revolutionize all of us.
Yes, our sexuality. But also our hearts. Our friendships. Our minds. And he wants to do it over and over and over again. He is patient and willing to take the beautiful and broken road with us.
So don’t panic. And don’t be annoyed with yourself as you read this week. Instead, lets take the opportunity to experience the revolution of Jesus together…
Read: Matthew 18:1-20
1. What is the main idea of this passage?
2. What does this passage tell you about God?
3. What does this passage tell you about yourself?
4. What do you find most beautiful about this passage?
5. What do you find most difficult to accept about this passage?
Talk to God about everything you’ve wrestled with about this passage. Confess where you struggle to accept His ways – perhaps it’s a battle with your pride (you do realize that you are the lost sheep, right? ), or a sin you are allowing to keep hindering you or hurting others. Maybe you have unforgiveness in your heart that is plaguing you and breaking the unity in your friendship/marriage/church family. Allow the Holy Spirit to both convict and minister to you today.
The passage for today will be familiar to many of you. Let’s not allow that familiarity to give us permission to skim or rush through what God might want to say to you today.
Begin with 5 minutes of Silence.
As you sit in silence, concentrate on your breathing.
As you breath in, whisper/think: Jesus.
As you breath out, whisper/think: speak to me.
Read: Matthew 18:21- 19:11
- What do these passages tell you about God?
- What do these passages tell you about yourself?
- Are there any common themes between these two passages? Is this new to you?
- In what ways do you see the brokenness in these passages reflected in your motives? (ie. Do you find yourself lacking mercy/grace with anyone in particular? Maybe its yourself. Do you look for loopholes/ways around the commitments you make?)
- What do you find most beautiful about these passages?
Talk to God about anything that has come up for you.
Praise Him for His mercy and forgiveness and commitment to you.
Read Matthew 19:13-30
1. What does this passage tell you about God?
2. What does this passage tell you about yourself?
3. In what ways do you see yourself becoming more generous?
4. In which ways do you still see yourself living with a scarcity mentality?
Close your eyes.
Clench your hands into fists. Squeeze tightly – it doesn’t need to hurt, but you need to feel the tension.
Ask God to show you who or what you are holding onto tightly for comfort/security. It might be a relationship, it could be your job or money, it could be your honour/accomplishments. It could be your time.
Try not to rush. It is hard to sit in this brokenness –but give yourself the time to hear from God about this.
When you are ready, open your hands.
Release the tension, and talk to God about what it would look like for you to live more open-handedly. Thank Him for His beautiful generosity to you, and ask Him to help you release the scarcity mentality in your own life.
And be encouraged! Remember – “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Read Matthew 20: 1-28
We are well aware that the concept of justice in our culture and time often differs between people. It is broken.
Our backgrounds, experiences, families, races, genders, nationalities… you name it, skews with what we see as fair and unfair. How to carry out justice and how it is being miscarried.
So pay attention to how you feel as you read through this passage today, especially verses 1-16. Note your immediate reactions (physically, emotionally, etc.) without judgement or filter.
- What does this passage tell you about God?
- What does this passage reveal about yourself?
- Who do you most relate with in this parable?
- Which part(s) of this passage feels the most unjust to you? Why?
- Which part(s) of the passage feels just? Why do you think that is?
Talk to God all about what today’s reading has stirred up in you – the broken parts, and the beautiful.
It’s ok to feel uneasy, or convicted, or bothered– its just not ok to not talk about it. Remember that God is always present and longs to know you and help you. He’s a great listener.
Read Matthew 20:29-34
Can you remember a time where you asked for something you knew was an outrageous ask – either impossible to get, or too extravagant – and you only asked so that you could share your deepest desire out loud.
Like, you didn’t really expect it to happen?
Or maybe you didn’t ask, but someone offered you something that you wouldn’t have even dreamed to ask for?
I remember when Camille (my now 15 year old daughter) was little and we were at my brother’s wedding. She was only 2 years old and her Auntie offered her chocolate before she’d even had breakfast on the day of the wedding.
She looked at me – scandalized by the thought of delighting in chocolate first thing in the morning. She knew that the right answer was say ‘no thank you’, but she was holding onto a thin thread of hope that I would somehow miraculously think chocolate for breakfast was perfectly reasonable.
We locked eyes. And to her surprise and delight, I nodded my head. (I mean, it was a special day, after all.)
Her reaction was priceless. Her eyes widened, and with a big smile she turned back to her Auntie, shrugged her wee shoulders, and in her sweet munchkin toddler voice said “ok, sure”!
She simply couldn’t believe it. And boy, was she gonna take that chocolate and revel in that treat all day long.
That’s the story I pictured today when I read this last passage.
These 2 blind men, begging on the side of the road. Discarded by society. Knowing the chances of anything changing – their healing, restoration, acceptance, love – were next to zero.
Yet they happened to be near Jesus. So they took the chance and yelled out their “Hail Mary” –type plea to Jesus.
Probably with little to no expectation that He would hear their cries. Knowing the crowds would shun them, belittle them, ignore them. Accepting that this would probably have a disappointing end.
But just wanting to say it. Out loud.
In case He would hear.
In case He would say “yes”.
- What does this passage tell you about Jesus?
- What does this passage reveal about you?
- Is there anything you holding back, afraid to ask or talk to Jesus about?
- Is there anything you’ve been surprised with, blessed with that you haven’t reveled in enough?
Take some time to pour your heart out to God. Tell him your hopes and dreams that don’t seem to be happening. Tell him about your problems, your fears. Or thank Him for His blessings – the way He’s surprised you and lavished you with His love.
End your time by worshipping our Saviour – who takes our brokenness and makes us beautiful.