“Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.” (Isaiah 61:4)When people come to the Lord, they often come as broken, damaged, people. They may look whole on the outside, but inside, there is brokenness, dysfunction, and open wounds. While the level of brokenness may vary, no one is perfect before they come to the Lord. Before coming to the Lord, our lives are shaped by many factors, and not all for the better. We can experience brokenness from participating in our own personal sins. We can also experience damage from the effects of the sins of those close to us. For example, many people have received deep hurts and wounds as a result of growing up with an alcoholic parent. Sometimes, the devastation in our lives is the direct result of generations of sin and their resulting curses. Many people today live with the results of generational curses passed down from their ancestors. We are all broken and we are all in need of repair.
Jesus tells a story of a man that “was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.” (Luke 10:30) Many passed by the dieing man without rendering aid. Some did not want to get involved while others were too busy to offer help, but one, a Samaritan saw the man and had pity on him. “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” (Luke 10:33-34) Not only did the Samaritan provide for the wounded man’s immediate need, but he also gave provision for his long term care. “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’” (Luke 10:35)
Individually, Jesus wants us to be like that good Samaritan. He wants us to bind up and heal the wounds of the hurting people around us. Corporately, we are to be like the inn. Jesus wants His church to be a place where He can bring the broken and the hurting that they may be cared for and healed. For some people, their healing is a process that may take many years. For some, their healing will only be complete when they finally stand before Jesus. A pastor friend of mine once said that, when we come to Jesus, our lives are like a mixed up jigsaw puzzle, and many of the key pieces are missing. As His church, we are the ones whom Jesus has called to help people to rebuild their lives, to help them make sense out of the jigsaw that is their life, to help them move from brokenness to wholeness. Such a church will not be “neat” but it will be full of joy. We are the re-builders of the ruins, the restorers of that that was devastated, the repairer of the cities and the desolations of many generations. This is both a privilege, an honor, and a duty.