Call – Opelika-Auburn News
Broken people should not be
thrown away like broken toys
People whose lives
have been shattered should not be discarded like broken toys or furniture.
Brokenness can become a springboard to usefulness and even sometimes to
greatness. Broken people can be restored.
Take, for example, the biblical giant
named Moses. When he was 40 Moses killed an Egyptian for abusing a Hebrew.
Thinking no one had witnessed the killing, Moses hid the dead man’s body. But
someone had seen Moses kill the man. His crime was exposed. Moses became a
wanted man and, filled with fear and guilt, he fled to another town.
Now a murderer and a fugitive Moses’
life was shattered. He was a broken man without a job or
resources. In today’s society such a person would be hard pressed to find
employment. Few people would help him recover. We would say his life was over,
that his brokenness was his own doing.
But as the Bible tells us, that was
not the end of the story for Moses. Someone gave him a chance and he got up out
of the ash heap of defeat to become a leader of his people.
This is why the Bible is such a great
book. It gives hope to broken people. From Genesis to Revelation there are stories
of people whose lives were shattered. But God does not give up on them. If the
Bible shows us anything, it shows us that God helps broken people to start over.
We might not have chosen some of the people God picked for
service. Take Isaac for example. Have you ever wondered why God identifies
himself to Moses as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Why Isaac? What did he do in order to deserve God’s favor? Evidently he did
very little. And was he not a failure as a father? Check it out.
When Isaac was born he made Sarah and Abraham laugh. So
what? When his wife Rebecca could have no children, he prayed for her to
conceive and God answered his prayer. He reopened the wells his father Abraham
had dug. He became wealthy. Isaac built an altar at
Much more can be said about the negative side of Isaac’s
life. As the twin boys grew up Isaac loved Esau more than he loved Jacob. He
said nothing as Rebecca made Jacob her favorite son. As the head of his family,
he could have insisted that his affection, and that of Rebecca, be equally
divided between their two sons. So he actually assisted the intense rivalry
between Esau and Jacob to grow into hatred.
was a coward and a liar in the same way his father Abraham had been. Like
father, like son. Out of fear for his life he passed off Rebecca as his sister.
This behavior did not distinguish Isaac as a role model.
Isaac became blind in his old age, he allowed Jacob and Rebecca to trick him
into giving Esau’s blessing to his deceitful brother Jacob. It is difficult to
feel sorry for the old man when Esau weeps out loud,
having found out that his cunning brother had cheated him out of his father’s
blessing. No doubt Isaac was weeping as well. What a sad scene: two men broken
by deceit and suffering the consequences of their foolish behavior.
phrase “sibling rivalry” originated in Bible stories. Brothers have always
struggled with each other. Cain and Abel were the first. Then come Esau and
Jacob, and later Joseph and his brothers. Esau and Jacob started fighting
before they were born!
proved himself to be very foolish by selling his birthright for a bowl of camp
stew. Jacob proved worthy of his name (Jacob means “heel-grabber”) by “grabbing”
his brother’s birthright instead of graciously sharing supper with his hungry
then, are the people God chose to make the world aware of his love. A motley
bunch they were – every family dysfunctional – yet God refused to give up on
them. God saw in them what they could become – people useful for good work. He
kept working with Jacob until the conniver had a new name (
can we explain the way God favors certain people? The answer is that God does
what he wants to do. He does not check with us nor does he owe us an
explanation. He is God. The Apostle Paul offers a good answer. Paul says God
does not choose people who are wise and strong. Instead he chooses the weak and
foolish to do his work.
unsettling thing about Isaac, Esau, and Jacob is that we are very much like
them today. We too are conniving, selfish, and self-seeking. Our families are
also dysfunctional. But God is willing to help us, as he helped Moses, to
overcome our brokenness and live useful lives. Thank goodness for a God who does
not throw broken people away but gives them hope and a chance to recover. We
all need to be more like God. + + +