In the Bible we read about a “wounded spirit” and also about a “broken spirit.” In some ways the meaning of these two terms is similar. Both terms indicate distress. It is possible even that one person may have a wounded spirit in response to the same situation that results in a broken spirit for another person ….
But the two terms stand in contrast. First let’s consider how they are used in Scripture ….
“The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14). The same Hebrew word is translated broken in (Proverbs 17:22), where we read, “a broken spirit drieth the bones.” The Hebrew word literally means “stricken.” In both verses the NIV says “a crushed spirit” ….
A wounded spirit is one that is hurting, but one in which the hurt has festered into unbearable attitudes and responses, often without choice. A person with a wounded spirit lives in a form of inner misery that focuses regularly on their injuries. Wounded spirits exist in anxiety, fear, and blame, and constant negativity and drama are close companions. Rarely can these humble themselves. Many negative characteristics come from wounded spirits to the point that they are so miserable, that others around them for any length of time become miserable. Is it any wonder the bible says, “a wounded spirit who can bear?”
In contrast to this is the broken spirit. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Psalm 51:17).
The Hebrew word translated broken is a strong word. It means “wrecked, shattered, even crippled or maimed.” The Lord delights in the person with a broken spirit.
In (Psalm 51), a few of the characteristics associated with such brokenness include such as an acknowledgment of wrong. A person with a broken spirit does not make excuses or blame others. They take full responsibility for their wrongdoing and are often very conscious of hurting another’s feelings.
And there’s contrition. A broken spirit produces genuine sorrow. And let us not forget humility. Self-will has been shattered. There is no attempt to lift oneself up. The person with a broken spirit seeks after God as they have faced their own poverty and sin. They realize they have no righteousness of their own to promote, but rather, seek to know God more intimately with their whole heart…
Broken people are teachable. They are done with seeking their own answers to life and are ready to turn to the Lord for help. They don’t want their problem explained or justified; instead, simply want help to change and recover. The person who is broken is spirit does not demand, but asks. The focus is not on getting all that they deserve because they know they have been spared from what they really deserve. They are often more grateful than complainers as they have tasted mercy. Much as a wounded spirit makes a person difficult to live with, a broken spirit makes a person a joy to be around. They have a tenderness in manner, a gratitude for what others do, a humility about themself, and a gentleness in relating to others who have faults ….
God heals the broken-hearted. He declares that He will “dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15).
Many experiences in our lives may cause us to be broken; from trauma, PTSD from abuse, poverty, homelessness, addictions. The list is endless. But we have One who restores and can move us through brokenness to wholeness, though not without more sorrow at the growing and healing phases. However, when we experience brokenness and the blessings that follow, we wonder why we resisted such joy and freedom for so long ….
We may read in (Daniel 4:34-37) about brokenness, and we are presented with a man by the name of King Nebuchadnezzar. This man was a powerful, prideful man until he was broken by the Lord. When God brought him down, he repented before the Lord and God blessed him. The thing that lacked in Nebuchadnezzar’s life is also sadly lacking in the lives of many today. That thing is a spirit of brokenness before the Lord. Now when I refer to brokenness, I am not talking about people running around in sack cloth and ashes. Neither am I referring to those who climb stone stairs on their knees to try and impress God. I am referring to a state of the heart that dwells in humility before the Lord. It is a heart that see itself just as it is and, it also sees the Lord as He is. It is simply a state of openness and honesty before the Lord. It is being in a position where the Lord can use you for His glory. For the Christian, it is being moldable and teachable by yielding to the Lord. For the lost sinner, it is being in a place where you see your own need and are willing to turn to the Lord to get that need met …
Some may ask, “What is so important about being broken before the Lord?” The importance lies in the fact that God uses that which is broken in a greater way than that which is rigid and unyielding to His will. Notice: God uses for His glory those people and things which are the most perfectly broken. They are the sacrifices in which He delights ….
* It was through the breaking down of Jacob’s natural strength at Peniel that he was brought to the place where God could clothe him with spiritual power.
* It was the breaking of the surface of the rock at Horeb by the striking of Moses’ rod that let the cool water flow out to the thirsty people of Israel.
* It was when the 300 elect soldiers under Gideon broke their pitchers (a type of breaking themselves) that the hidden light shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries.
* It was when the poor widow broke the seal of the little pot of oil and poured it forth that God multiplied it to pay all her debts and to supply a means of her support.
* It was when Jesus took the five loaves and broke them that the bread was multiplied– sufficient to feed 5000 men.
* It was when Mary broke her beautiful alabaster box of ointment that the pent-up perfume filled the house.
* It was when Jesus allowed His precious body to be broken by the thorns, the nails, and a spear, redemption poured forth like a crystal stream from which sinners could drink and live ….
Yes, the Lord blesses broken things! This message is about the steps God used to bring Nebuchadnezzar to that place of brokenness before Him. Steps that He will use in your life if you will bow humbly before Him. This morning, I challenge you to search your heart throughly, and see if there are hidden areas that need to be dealt with this today. Whether you are saved, or lost, this message is for you and can literally change your life this morning, if you will heed its message and respond to the call of God.
When you wake up in the morning, be you groggy or cheerful, I pray that you would tell your Father that you are His, that this is His day, and ask for the willingness to be broken away from your own desires so that you may all the more closely cling to and live out God’s will. Lay your life before the Lord, commit every thought, word and deed to Him, for in Christ Jesus … the only thing that counts is “faith which worketh by love.” (Galatians 5:6).
As it is written in Isaiah, only the Lord can restore and make beautiful those broken places within us, and it comes through the humbling of ourselves, which is often not without pain in and of itself. But He will give you beauty for your ashes, and just like the phoenix rising from the ashes of the fire; your spirit can be renewed day by day as you allow yourself to be molded through the remorse and sorrow of your brokenness ….
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Let us pray ~
O Lord my God, I come to You bereft in spirit with a heart that has been wounded and broken. My mind has been in battle and I know only You know Lord exactly the pain that is in my heart and the sadness and grief that I am going through. I come to You, my God, seeking Your blessed peace in my heart.
Heal my hurting heart and bind up the lacerations that have penetrated so deeply into my soul, for You alone are my hope. You alone are my strength and I have nothing and no one but You Lord that may heal and restore these broken places. Bind up my fragmented heart I pray as You have promised, as it says in Your Word that You came to heal the broken hearted and to free those that were entrapped in the emotional turmoil of their lives. Lord that is my position now and I trust in You alone. I give You my fragmented heart and pray for Your blessed peace, Your perfect peace, and Your gracious peace that passes all human comprehension. Take me as I am Lord and fill me anew with your love and grace for only through You can I be renewed in spirit, and only in You can I rest in safety. Forgive my disobedience in trying to heal myself and please extend Your grace and mercy unto me.
Thank You my Lord. It is in Jesus precious name I pray, Amen ….