For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
I do not like the idea of brokenness, in fact, I try all day every day to be the opposite of broken–in my parenting, in my marriage, in my friendships, even in my walk with God. Being broken means my messy parts in all of these areas are exposed, which means I might have to admit I have messy parts. And I don’t like to do that.
The irony is that in my trying to be a “good Christian/mom/wife/friend” I am actually pushing God away. Of course he wants me to strive after righteousness, but when I become prideful or self-sufficient in my pursuit of Godliness or the other roles in my life, I fall completely short of His delight in me. Look at the scripture above. He does not delight in my material sacrifice–pleasing him with good deeds, striving for perfection, or looking good in my life. He actually delights in my brokenness and a contrite heart (realizing my need for atonement). When I stop ignoring or hiding my messy parts–the fight I just had with my husband, the impatient way I snapped at my child, the gossip that slipped from my tongue, the bag of chocolate Hershey eggs that I just frantically consumed, I truly feel the pain of my brokenness.
And I experience the desperate need for a Savior.
It is the place where pride and brokenness meet that God can work His great grace and love in our lives. There is not room for both, and a broken heart for God must push into that space with greater force.
Sometimes the reality of our sin is overwhelming and impossible to ignore. We feel crushed and almost hopelessly distant from the love of a good God.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18
Yet, these God-breathed words can wash over us during this time. He is so near in our complete weakness, because we have no pride to consume all the air we need him to breathe into us.
If we want to experience a deep relationship with God, where we feel his presence, his love and his mercy, then we can rejoice in our brokenness, for it draws Him near to us. How wonderful to be messy.