My guess is that many of you are very familiar with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Matthew (chapter 5) describes Jesus’ teaching to a large crowd from a perch on a mountainside. This sermon, also referred to as “The Beatitudes” begins with the famous line, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” My interest in learning more about being “poor in spirit” was sparked as I read the book, “The Beauty of Broken,” by Elisa Morgan. What does being “poor in spirit” really mean? How does that apply to me, my relationships, my work, even my world view? As I have consulted commentaries, read different versions of this verse and have had discussions on the topic, I have realized that the term “poor in spirit” can mean many different things to a variety of people. Check out the differences found in a sampling of several versions of Matthew 5:3:
King James Version/NIV/NASB (and several others):
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
New Living Translation:
“God blesses those that are poor and realize their need for him, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs”
Contemporary English Version:
“God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!”
“You’re blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.”
I have to admit that I actually laughed out loud when I read The Message’s version–“You are blessed when you are at the end of your rope.” How many of us have described our frustration with life, with relationships, with dealing with our struggles or irrational thoughts as being “at the end of my rope”? And, when we are at the end of our rope, have “hit bottom” or are “broken,” what is our instinct? To blame? To run? To deny? To harm ourself or others? I can tell you one thing (from both personal and professional experience) that we do NOT do: Embrace the hurt. Embrace being at the end of our rope. Embrace our brokenness.
It actually sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? To embrace the very feelings and situations that have taken us to a place of fear and despondency? And yet, this is the message that God has sent to us–that He is right there in the messiness of our brokenness. He “gets” that none of us is perfect and that we can really mess up our lives and relationships. And despite all of our faults, and our bad choices and our toxic thoughts, He loves us. He understands us. He holds us tenderly. He grieves with us. AND in the middle of the muck, his unconditional, unfailing love helps us to gather up the pieces of our brokenness and rebuild our lives.
Would you agree that we learn and grow the most from the difficult times in our lives? If we can be patient, and learn to see how God will show up when we have lost hope, we will experience blessings beyond what we thought possible. Elisa Morgan states that when we realize we are broken, we are essentially bankrupt. And when we are bankrupt (at the end of our rope!) we are dependent. It is in that state of dependence that we are done with ourselves and open to God. Morgan adds, “Broken is right where God wants us–and right where he can powerfully reassemble us.”
It is in the middle of the brokenness that engaging in the process of therapy can help you navigate through life’s difficulties and experience healing. As Christian counselors, all of us at Cornerstone will partner with you in this process to help cultivate the kind of life and relationships that God intends you to have.
If you are interested in learning more and discussing brokenness, you are invited to Cornerstone’s new book club, “The Next Chapter.” The group will meet periodically–every six to eight weeks or so–to discuss books that promote spiritual and emotional growth. The first book we will be discussing is the one mentioned above, Elisa Morgan’s “The Beauty of Broken.” Come join us!
“The Next Chapter” Book Club
Saturday, February 1, 2014
9 am to 11 am
Dakota Ridge Church
11455 W Belleview Ave, Littleton, CO 80127
For more information, call or text me (Trudi) @ 303-619-6607. Hope to see you there!