PICKING UP THE BROKEN PIECES
Isaiah 53:6 - . All like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Have you ever tried picking up the broken pieces of a shattered glass or pottery and putting them back together? If so, wasn’t it a painstaking task? First of all, depending on the extent of the damage, you would probably have to search all over the place to retrieve the broken pieces. Then after collecting all of the broken pieces, you are left with yet another daunting task of putting the shattered object back to its original form.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. After putting the pieces back together, to your disappointment, you discover that despite your diligent effort, the restored piece is not even closed to the original. It is flawed; there are cracks, pieces are missing and wrong pieces are connected. Frustrated with the result of your tedious effort, you reluctantly conclude that the finished product is too flawed to be of any use to you. The next thought that comes to mind is to throw out the worthless piece of junk. But just a minute! Before going any further, isn’t it possible that regardless of its flaws, it could somehow be of future use to you? Why give up on it so quickly—as if it never had any value at all? It is sad that an object which was once cherished has suddenly lost its worth just because of an accident.
Unfortunately, that is how it is in life. Whenever a notorious individual attempts to pick up the broken pieces of his life and puts them back together, the world does not acknowledge the individual’s effort. Society perceives the individual as permanently flawed; nothing on earth could ever restore their tarnished image. On the contrary, when we have truly repented, God does not remember any part of our immoral past. He does not see the broken pieces or any sign of imperfection whatsoever. He sees us as brand new. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we are cleansed and made whole again.
When God created everything he saw that it was good (Genesis 1:31). He made us in his image and likeness. What a masterpiece. Priceless! It was never God’s plan to have his priceless work of art shattered by sin. When we stray from God, we stand unprotected; granting Satan the license to swing his wrecking ball at us. Satan’s wrecking ball of sin gradually demolishes our moral structure as Christians and when morality is destroyed, people suffer.
BE THOROUGH – PICK UP EVERY PIECE
Picking up the broken pieces in one’s life is not an easy endeavor. Yet, no matter the extent of damage sin has caused in your life and regardless of the victims you have allowed it to claim, strive to make it right anyhow. Pick up all of the broken pieces and put them back together regardless of how embarrassing and challenging it is. Do not take an easy way out by sweeping the broken pieces under the rug either. You must exercise patience, discipline and maturity in carrying out such a difficult task. Make sure that you collect down to the smallest piece of the mess you have made and fix it. Otherwise, your attempt to put your life back together will be to no avail. You will only confirm what your critics think of you—evil and good for nothing.
ENCOUNTERING YOUR VICTIMS
As you go into different directions to find and pick up the broken pieces of your shattered life, you will discover that the broken pieces have scattered in directions you never thought they would go—yielding results that were never intended. You will learn that the effects of your misguided actions have caused sufferings, heartaches and even death. Moreover, you will again encounter the victims of your actions and will face hostility.
They will stand in the way and remind you of your past deeds. In retaliation, your victims will maliciously spread the details of your past to everyone they encounter. They believe strongly that you are still that evil person and you do not deserve a break.
As humans, some of them are not letting you off the hook easily; after all, you were responsible for their pain and misfortune. As far as they are concerned, no effort on your part will ever be able to erase the hideous picture you’ve painted of yourself.
Your victims will make things unpleasant and embarrassing for you but you shouldn’t take offense to their animosity. They have the right to be angry you know. In spite of everything, they are the victims of your immoral actions. Regardless of their hostility, you must exhibit maturity and acknowledge that you offended them. Go to your victims directly and beg for their forgiveness. Don’t overlook this step. It is a major part of the transformation process.
Restoring a shattered life is not always pleasant. To avoid the entire morass, we should not allow ourselves to be moved by circumstances or emotions. Instead we should be governed by principles. We must exercise good judgment in whatever situation we find ourselves because there will always be a tomorrow accompanied by a day of reckoning. We will give account of our deeds, if not while on earth; definitely when we die.
YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM
When tomorrow comes and you are being condemned and people are gathering stones to stone you, bear in mind that you are not the victim in this whole debacle. The innocent people whom you have offended are the victims. Therefore, put aside that victim mentality and own up to your actions. This is not the time to have a pity party; “Oh poor me”; “People don’t like me”; “it is just jealously”; “They are just enemies of progress and blah, blah, blah. Oh, for crying out loud, get it through your head, YOU ARE NOT THE VICTIM HERE! You are the enemy. The people who dislike you are the real victims. The sooner you realize this, the better for you.
The best way to silence your critics and to make your accusers drop their stones is to admit guilt and seek forgiveness. Do not try to deflect condemnation—“I did it out of provocation”; “I was under duress” or “the Devil made me do it”. Come on take responsibility for your actions. You will never be able to restore your life if you persistently cast the blame away from you. Take into consideration that when we fail to acknowledge mistakes of the past, we are likely to repeat them in the future.
FOR ALL HAVE SINNED
As your victims counter attack with hostility, you must be impervious to their resentment and focus on putting the broken pieces of your life together. Hold your head up high and say to yourself; so what if I used to be a Womanizer, Rebel, a Homosexual, a Thief, or a Home Wrecker. Didn’t Jesus come to save sinners? Once you are headed in the right direction and Jesus is pleased with your effort, don’t let anyone discourage you.
To some people you are flawed and nothing can change that fact but don’t fall for it. The bible says once you are in Christ, you are a brand new creation. Whether your critics like it or not, in God’s sight you are brand new—flawless. Just do your best to turn your life around and never return to your old evil ways again. If God who is perfect does not condemn you anymore, why should defective man continue to condemn you? Romans 3: 23, - For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
At times, life throws unforeseen circumstances at us causing us to compromise our values. One good example is the Liberian Civil War. During the war, people were traumatically stressed and at their lowest. Some individuals were under severe demonic influence and did wicked things. It was indeed a horrible time in our history. Yet, as painful as it was, we should try and forgive because most people were temporarily insane. They would have never done such appalling things during normal times.
On the other hand, people do immoral things because of lack of knowledge—no spiritual guidance, no mentor or role model. Destructive environment plays a role as well. Surrounded by crime and negative people, the effort to maintain a life of decency may be as difficult as it is for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle. Then in some cases, it is just a person’s own weakness and recklessness. Whatever the case is, the fact remains that we all have sinned. The good news is that there is hope through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
YOUR PAST IS HISTORY
After confessing your sins to God, do not dwell on your past. It is history. You do not have a record anymore. Your slate has been wiped clean. As far as God is concerned, your past does not matter. You have been cleansed with the blood of Jesus Christ. Your past is of no significance; what matters now is your future. What will you make of your future? As long as you are alive, you have a chance to make it right. Will you agree with your critics that you are an evil and worthless piece of junk or will you prove them wrong?
It is reasonable to have a sense of guilt for your shortcomings but don’t let it tear you up. Do not let it hinder your effort to turn your life around. You see, God does not have a problem with you anymore. When God forgives our sins, he throws them as far as the east is from the west. Never to be remembered again. Now why should corrupt man remember and continuously judge you? Just focus on putting the broken pieces back together. Whether they fit perfectly in man’s eyes is of no significance, in God’s sight you are just fine.
CAST THE FIRST STONE
To all of the accusers of the brethren with stones in your hands—just waiting to stone your brother:
Whether that man was a homosexual in the past and decides to go straight, don’t continue to condemn him. He sinned against God and not you.
Whether that woman was promiscuous, had five children and is not sure who their fathers are, you have no right to turn her past into a permanent headline for gossip.
Whether that woman was a serial husband snatcher and now wants to settle down, don’t stand in her way. Don’t discourage any man from marrying her.
Whether that man was a rebel and was responsible for countless atrocities, like everyone else, he deserves another chance. Remember Saul who was later called Paul in the bible. Well, he wasn’t always a Saint you know. He persecuted and killed Christians but yet he was called to be a bond servant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was a mighty man of God.
Don’t go about digging up dirt on people and exposing them—bringing up the past and so forth. Once that person has truly repented and is making an effort to turn his life around, don’t stand in the way. You are operating just like an agent of Satan—an enemy of progress to God’s plan for that person.
Hey, listen! The person you are condemning is picking up the broken pieces of his life but what about you? Is all well with you? Are there skeletons in your closet? Is there a fifty pound log in your eye while you are trying to remove the speck from your brother’s eye? John 8:7 –“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” You are not perfect and no one is; so give the person a break.
As humans we all know that it is not easy to forgive; especially when it comes to forgiving your worst enemy. Sometimes it takes years to get over an offence that someone did. Nevertheless, Jesus wants us to forgive each other. When Jesus was dying on the cross in excruciating pain, he did not wait for his pain to cease or for his wounds to heal before forgiving his enemies. Right there, in the midst of pain and suffering, he cried out to his father, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” How many of us could do what Jesus did? Yet when we ask God to give us the same strength to forgive our brother, he will graciously grant us that request. We could never forgive a very wicked person in our own strength.
TO THE PERSON WHO IS PICKING UP THE BROKEN PIECES--BRAVO!
To that person who has truly repented and is trying to put his life back together, I say to you, Bravo! Kudos to you! Keep on picking up the broken pieces no matter how far they have scattered, the damages they may have caused and how difficult it may seem. Put them back together regardless of the hostility you encounter. As an old Liberian adage goes, “If you mind the noise in the market, you will not buy your fish.” Maintain your focus. You are accountable to God alone. Try your best and God will empower you. The things that you did in the past just try not to do them anymore. God will see that you mean business and will make your righteousness shine forth as the noon day sun.
Think about this:
In the nineties, Jeffery Dammer killed young boys, mutilated their bodies, ate some and kept the rest in barrels. Consequently, he was arrested, convicted and went to prison; but guess what? While in prison, he repented and gave his life to Christ—he picked up the broken pieces of his life. Later he was killed in prison by another prisoner. Today, whether you like it or not, Jeffery Dammer is in heaven hanging with the Saints. This is to show you that no matter what unspeakable evil you have done, once you are truly sorry for your sins, God will forgive you. So, will you sit by and see Jeffery Dammer who committed one of the most horrendous crimes go to heaven while you go to Hell for a lesser sin? If you know what is good for you, forget people, confess your sins and put the broken pieces of your life back together.
You can’t put the pieces back together all by yourself. Asking forgiveness from your victims (who are not willing to forgive) is helpful but can’t really put the pieces back together. Not even Crazy glue can hold the broken pieces of your life together. Only the blood of Jesus can. “What shall wash away my sins; nothing but the blood of Jesus. “What shall make me whole again; nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Why not let Jesus restore your life today?
Arway Sayeh-Swepson 2007
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