This post was born out of a discussion I recently had with some friends. We were discussing the fact that “sin” is a very Christian word and that it is hard to explain it to people on the streets. Have you ever thought of that? How do you explain sin in a post-modern context? People have so many associations to the word itself that sometimes just the mention of it can make them cringe and sneer in disdain.
When I was thinking about this one morning, the word brokenness came to my mind. I believe that it is common ground for every human being that has ever lived. When we look at the world, we see so many beautiful things, the nature, beautiful skies, mountains, oceans, we see love, kindness and goodness. Yet when the TV is turned on, and the news of rape, murder, wars and hatred fill our screens, we quickly understand that something is not as it should be, something is broken.
Now, if we are humble and honest with ourselves, when we look into our own hearts, we are presented with the same picture. We see beauty, love, kindness, goodness, yet we also brokenness, since we do the bad things which we know we shouldn’t do, and many times find ourselves incapable of doing the good we know we should do. Something is broken.
The word broken is interesting because it means that something is not fulfilling it’s original purpose. If a car is broken, it is not able to take you where you should go. Well then, does not our sense of brokenness indicate an original purpose in which we are not living? This sense of meaning would not arise if we were purely the random product of matter and energy. Yet the quest for meaning is haunting, and a universal human experience. There must be a higher purpose. The original purpose is connection and relationship with our Creator. It is the brokenness of that relationship that brings brokenness to this world, and ultimately brokenness to our own hearts.
I have found that most people I speak with in the streets are willing to recognize this brokenness inside. To recognize that a broken relationship with the Creator requires a greater step, but at least we have managed to explain “sin” in a good way!