By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
When something is broken that can be repaired, it is important to pick up all of the pieces. These fragments are all a part of a whole and will need to be returned to their rightful places. Similarly, if we take something apart in order to fix it we have to know where everything came from in order to restore it. What are the missing pieces in our broken lives? How do we need the Lord to restore us?
1. Comforting community
This is what our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, intends for the Church to become for each individual who visits or joins. Since some of us are suffering from isolation and alienation from a loving and supportive group of person, the Church is supposed to be the place to discover relationships that feel like the care and attention of members of a close-knit extended family:
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God's grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. "(Acts 4:32-35 NIV).
2. Inner healing
Memories may be so powerfully oppressive that experiences from childhood seem to have happened only yesterday. Inner healing helps us to pick up the pieces of our shattered self-esteem and our battered trust of others and of God. Prayer, counselling and time may all work together to make sense of what has happened, to make peace with our own innocence, ignorance or gullibility:
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate. (Luke 20b-24 NIV).
This is often the first step toward reconciliation, particularly when a sincere apology has been offered and accepted. If there is any likelihood of danger or ongoing abuse, then the forgiveness is a placing of the situation in God's hands while we remain at a safe distance. Forgiving ourselves is sometimes even harder, especially if we failed to resist the temptation with all available resources and reserves. God's forgiveness is always available to us if we are willing to admit our need for it and accept it humbly:
"Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralysed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgive.' " (Matt. 9:1-2 NIV).
4. Recognition of our worth
The cross is the symbol of how much we are cherished. As we begin to open ourselves to the grace of God, we are slowly transformed. We are each precious, unique an gifted. This has to become our own path that leads to loving ourselves and loving our neighbour. After denying Jesus three times, Peter is reinstated:
"When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.' Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.' The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.' "
5. Total dependence on God
When we consider our sinfulness and generally rebellious spirit, we realise that we cannot help ourselves or our people in any lasting way if we do not submit ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We mean well for the most part but we are not able to save ourselves from ourselves.
When something is broken, we send it back to the manufacturer. When we are broken, we need to turn to our Creator who fashioned us in the divine image. We were designed to respond to God's unconditional love with a wholly committed and heart-felt love, to thrive in an atmosphere of mutual love with others, and to find wholeness in holiness as we celebrate who we are in Christ.
It is time for us to pick up the pieces of our personal and national lives, and give ourselves over to God's healing and restoring power.