Her Rejection Forced My Forgiveness / Spiritual Meditations

As we approach the end of 2020, many of us will formulate new year resolutions.  An overabundance of these will relate to our physical improvement.  Although our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, let’s also take a serious look at improving our inner Being as well. 

The following experience, as related by my friend Timothy W. Ehrlich in his book The Long Road to Eternity, shows us how important it is to God that we forgive others and the joy it will give us to do so.

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. (Acts 2:2-3)

I flew back to New York practically not needing a plane: the vows we exchanged on the Peak went through my head again and again. I felt that we were truly married in the eyes of God, if not in the laws of man. I was so head over heels in love with Anna; she was so incredibly beautiful, so intelligent, and so talented. I was amazed that her talents as a banker were getting us both over to Hong Kong, to live in a huge apartment paid for by her bank. I began working extra hours as a bartender in addition to being the bouncer, so I could save up some extra money for the move.

Bartenders got a lot of quarters in tips in those days, and I saved the quarters I got from tips to use in the Schooner’s payphone (this being the era before cell phones when almost every business had a coin operated payphone). It cost $12 for an initial few minutes to call Hong Kong, and a dollar or two every minute after that. I accumulated enough quarters to speak with her every few days. 

One morning in August I called Anna at 10 a.m. my time, 10 p.m. her time; twelve dollars in quarters into the pay phone. There was no answer when I knew she should be home. The same thing happened the next morning when I called. Finally, the third day I reached her. Somehow, I knew what she was going to tell me, but it was still a shock to hear it: “I have decided I don’t want to be married to you.” I was stunned. I managed to ask why. She said, “I don’t want to be married to anybody right now, the opportunity here is too big and the job is too demanding, and I don’t want to be married.” I asked, “Is that it? Are we done? You are breaking up with me for good?” She said, “We can still be friends, I’m sorry if I hurt you but I need to do what is best for me.” She said she would be staying in Hong Kong for at least the next three years.

I literally felt like she had died. The breakup was as sudden and terrible as a fatal car crash, but even a little worse, in that she had chosen it. This was a rejection with no second chances; her declaration that she was staying in Hong Kong for the next three years meant that realistically I would probably never see her again. We had been together two years, but in two minutes I had gone from a head-over-heels in love guy about to get married, to a head-over-heels in love guy, whose love had been rejected and whose lover was 12,000 miles away and never coming back.

I said goodbye to Anna believing it was the last time I would ever speak with her and went upstairs to my room in the attic of the Schooner, to lay down on my bed. It was the lowest moment of my entire life. I was in the greatest emotional pain I have ever experienced. It was all at the same time a sudden and unexpected death of a two-year relationship, a rejection of my love, and a cancellation of my plans for a fantastic future life in Hong Kong. I was a mess; tons of negative emotions swept over me. The one constant emotion was pain; I felt like I was in a world of pain that I could not escape; everywhere I looked all I could see was more darkness and pain. I began to pray to ask God to help me with my pain.

Getting the Heart Right With God

In several instances when I was in emotional pain, God had pretty quickly answered my prayers,  but not this time. For an hour I lay on my bed praying for relief from the pain of my broken heart, but after an hour I felt no better. I was surprised; usually I can count on feeling better after an hour of prayer, but I was absolutely no better off.  I prayed, “God, I have been praying for an hour and I feel no better. I don’t understand why you haven’t answered me, never-the-less, I trust in you.” Instantly, I could hear these words from the Lord’s Prayer echo in my head; 

“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…’ for if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your father in heaven forgive you for yours.” 

This was not God speaking but it was God calling to my attention the thing that was blocking out His Holy Spirit from giving me the help I needed. For years I had been neglecting forgiving others.

Hearing the words of the Lord’s prayer and Jesus’ explanation at the end of the prayer in the  context of my current situation, made me realize my hypocrisy; here I was asking God for help, yet I had not obeyed one of the central teachings of Jesus – a teaching that I repeated in the Lord’s prayer almost every day for last five years: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In that moment I suddenly realized that there were many people, at least a dozen I had not forgiven, and against whom I was currently holding a grudge or otherwise was still angry at. In my mind I began to see the face after face of the people I had not forgiven. So, I set about forgiving each one.

One at a time I pictured the face of every person I was holding a grudge against. I was either deeply hurt by that person, or still very angry at that them and had not forgiven them.

I started with Anna and there were many things I was angry with or hurt by or both. Picturing Anna I thought about all the reasons why I was still angry at her. I thought of everything I thought she had done to me that I thought was wrong, and then I gave my hurt and my anger up to God by actually saying the words in my head, “God I am really angry at Anna for…., so I am letting go of that anger and giving it to you. Please take this burden from me.” Then I would think of the next thing I was angry about or hurt by that she had done, and I repeated that formula until I had forgiven her for every single thing I was hurt, sad or angry about. Then I thanked God and moved to the next person.

It was not as easy to forgive Anna as I just made it sound. Before moving on from one hurt to the next, I first would pause and try to feel in my heart if I had truly forgiven her for whatever it was and if I had truly let go of it, or if I still felt anger or hurt when I thought of it. Most of the time on my first try the forgiveness I was saying in my mind didn’t make it down into my heart. Did you know you can forgive someone with sincere effort but not have your forgiveness of that person make the trip between your mind (where you have decided to forgive the person) and your heart where the pain is?

I was not going to settle for that; some of the things I was so hurt by or angry about that I would have to go back and repeat the whole process three or four times until I could truly feel in my heart that I had forgiven her and truly had let go of it.

After I had truly forgiven Anna completely, I repeated that same process for every person I could think of that I was still angry at or hurt by. God helped me bring them to mind. I would say, I forgive you John or Jane or whatever that person’s name was. Then I would see how I was feeling in my heart. If I could feel in my heart that I had truly forgiven the person I would smile and go on to the next person. If I did not feel full forgiveness for that person in my heart I would start at the beginning with that person and go frame by frame picturing in my mind the event or events I was angry about or hurt by and forgiving and giving it up to God until I could feel peace in my heart towards that person.

Anna was the hardest to forgive, after forgiving her the others were easier; but it still took a long time because there were so many people I had not forgiven. The next up was the guy who pushed a chair into me in Sunday school and broke one of my front teeth when I was 12. I forgave him. Next was the across-the-street neighbor from my childhood home who I detested for regularly punishing his two children, my friends Lori and Skipper, with his thick leather belt; I forgave him. There were a few people in the Marine Corps I thought of with anger, so I forgave each of them.  I was surprised at how many people I was carrying bad feelings in my heart towards.

It took about an hour but finally I had dredged up every bit of buried anger and resentment I was holding onto against every person I could think of until I had forgiven every person attached to each of those memories.

I lay there on the bed feeling drained but so much lighter, realizing how heavy unresolved anger and hurt are when you carry them around!   I said, “Wow, I did it! I forgave them all!” I set down a huge burden I had been carrying in some cases for over a dozen years. The pain of losing Anna was still there, but I had forgiven her entirely. Even though I was still heartbroken, I felt I had really accomplished something very good and memorable:

Finishing all that forgiveness, my heart was right with God, and I didn’t know it but that was what God was waiting for. I said to God in prayer, “Well Father, I have forgiven everyone, but I still feel such pain.” Immediately I heard the wind begin to blow above the roof. The noise of the blowing wind increased getting louder and louder until it was roaring.

The Holy Spirit Descends

I was lying on my bed on my back looking up at the ceiling. The ceiling in my attic room was the underside of the roof and looked pretty flimsy compared to the volume of wind so, I was deeply afraid that the roof was going to blow off.  Suddenly, in an instant the wind completely died, and the room became silent.  At that same moment, a golden, glowing, translucent, shimmering substance started coming down through the roof across the whole ceiling.

It came into the room kind of like a flat cloud descending slowly across the whole attic at once. As the edge of the golden substance was slowly coming down towards me, I could see the roof beams and nails through it. Feeling no fear, I was amazed as the edge of the beautiful golden, shimmering substance moving steadily downwards passed over me as it moved down to the floor; and then the whole attic was filled with it, ceiling to floor and wall to wall, but I could still see through it.

As the front edge passed over me, I was filled with complete joy and peace. I realized – this is the Holy Spirit! I could feel it passing through me and staying in me. Then I was shocked and amazed as I realized I wasn’t in pain. I thought, “Where is the pain?!!” Just seconds before I had been in the worst emotional pain of my life, I felt like the whole world was pain and darkness and my heart was broken. Now I realized there was still a little pain, but it had shrunken to what felt like the size of a golf ball. It was amazing that the pain now seemed tiny compared to the amazing joy!

As soon as I realized that my pain was all but gone, the golden shimmering substance started to rise back up from the floor. I did not want it to leave, but at the same speed it came down into the room it now went back up passing my bed, then above me and slowly rose right up through the ceiling and was gone. The wind immediately began to blow loudly again for a few seconds, then it faded way and there was silence again. I found myself grinning from ear to ear.

I lay there staring at the ceiling for quite a few minutes enjoying the wonderful feelings sweeping over me: relief from the pain of loss, lightness from all the forgiveness, and joy from what I had just experienced: hearing, seeing and being immersed in the Holy Spirit. 

I sat up at the foot of my bed grinning and looked out the little attic window facing towards the ferry dock. I remember thinking, “Now what should I do?” What do you do at a moment like that? I was kind of in shock, I felt overpowering happiness, I could not stop smiling; I was trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I had just experienced the Holy Spirit coming to me to wipe away my pain. People go into shock from being suddenly wounded or injured so I suppose it is not surprising to go into shock from being suddenly healed.

I got up still in shock, went outside and walked over the ferry dock next-door to try and find someone to talk to. I was so happy and hoped to find a Christian person to share what just happened to me with but there was no one. Never-the-less, for three whole days afterwards I could not stop smiling.

I have had many wonderful spiritual and secular experiences in my life, but this was the best; that moment has given me strength for the rest of my life. It was years later before learning enough to realize that God had given me my own personal Pentecost: I heard the loud wind then something that kind of looked like tongues of flame descended, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Though emotionally destroyed when Anna broke up with me, I now know what a good thing it was. It took years to fully realize what an unhealthy place I was in at that time both spiritually and emotionally. Before she broke up with me, I was unbalanced spiritually in that I loved Anna more than I loved God. I know now that it is a form of idolatry to love a person more that you love God, but at the time it was great fun to feel that much love for someone – it was intoxicating.

When you love a person more than you love God it creates an emotional problem as well. A human being is not God; therefore, neither is any person (other than Jesus) worthy of worship. If you love a person more than you love God what you are doing is loving the creation more than the creator, and that is suspending reason and logic to such a degree as to make you emotionally unbalanced. I was so attached to Anna emotionally that when she distanced herself from me, my emotional attachment pulled and dragged me over and I fell flat on my face.

God’s number one commandment by volume in the Bible is not as you might think it would be: to love God, or to obey God. The most commonly given commandment is – the first of the ten commandments:

“I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me.(Exodus 20:2-3)

So, God used Anna breaking up with me, the worst pain I ever experienced, to help me rebalance myself spiritually and emotionally, and at the same time giving me the best spiritual experience of my life. That day I put God in the place in my heart where He should have been, and He has remained first in my heart ever since. To this day I thank God every day for giving me my own Pentecost experience, hearing and seeing and feeling the Holy Spirit.


The culmination of Tim and Anna’s relationship will be revealed in a future post.

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man sees himself in mirror as king

Pride-the Good, the Bad & the Ugly/Spiritual Meditations

What do you take pride in? Is it your home, car or job? Or maybe your children or the organization you are a member of. Whatever it is, it is heavily influenced by society’s norms and values. Pride is the satisfaction, pleasure, or vindication that arises from having our self-image confirmed. And it is interesting that we have little control over it; if we perceive an insult to our self-image we automatically lift our chin and look down our nose.

As scholars have noted, we humans have had a somewhat tricky relationship with pride for hundreds of years.  It has been perceived both as vice and virtue.  And if pride is acceptable, how much is all right?

A relatively recent body of psychological research has been able to provide more clarity on this curious emotion. Researchers have published a study in which they analyzed both published and unpublished studies on pride, and they found compelling support in the scientific literature for two separate notions: authentic pride and hubristic pride (excessive pride or self-confidence). 

One study suggested that “authentic” pride is linked to beneficial approaches to leadership, while “hubristic” pride is connected to harmful leadership styles.

Bad Pride

Many religious traditions look upon pride, hubris, and vanity as self-idolatry. In the Christian tradition, pride is one of the seven deadly sins and is only referred to in the Bible as an undesirable trait..

Seven Deadly Sins are:

  • Pride
  • Greed
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Sloth

Pride is a sin hated by God because, along with greed, it supports all the other sins, blinds us to truth and reason, and severs our soul from God’s grace. Think about it. When you are proud of yourself you are feeling pretty good about your abilities….do you really need God?

Hubris has come to denote an inflated sense of one’s status, abilities, or accomplishments, especially when accompanied by self-righteousness, haughtiness, or arrogance. Because it is out of touch with the truth, hubris promotes injustice, conflict, enmity, and a belief in social inequality.

Hubristic pride is also related to hostility, withdrawal, nervousness, and mild depression.  People who are prone to false pride lack self-esteem, and their arrogance is their way of convincing themselves and others that they too are worthy of respect and admiration. Even if their posturing is hollow, it can do the trick—at least temporarily.  

In addiction work, pride makes itself known when one proclaims, “I can do this on my own,” “I don’t need help,” or “I don’t need God.” 

Good Pride and Dignity

To understand what is good about pride, I think we need to tone down the arrogant and conceit aspects of it and focus on the word ‘dignity’.

Researchers found the good side of pride is linked with qualities such as being friendly, responsible, broad-minded, understanding, forward-looking, and personable. It’s also connected to being inspired by reaching goals and advantageous results, feeling upbeat emotions, believing in our ability to take on challenges, and viewing accomplishments as a reflection of our exertion and capacity.  A feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by others.

This seems like a healthy aspect of pride.  But if value is tied to our accomplishments or self-image, it’s built on shaky ground.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling satisfaction when we achieve some goal. But if we allow these things to define who we are, we set ourselves up for future disappointment. Achievements are ephemeral and can become a trap. If too much of our attention goes toward accomplishing bigger and better things to feel good, then we become addicted to external sources of gratification.

In contrast, dignity can live inside us regardless of our successes and failures. We don’t have to prove anything to anybody, or even to ourselves. If an enterprise fails, this doesn’t mean that we’re a failure. If an attempt to communicate our feelings to our partner falls flat, we might feel sad, but we can feel good knowing we did our best. We can experience the dignity of having reached out to connect or to repair an injury to the relationship. We can experience the dignity of living with integrity, regardless of the outcome.

As the light of our dignity shines more brightly, we realize that we don’t have to be perfect. Showing vulnerability and humility invites people toward us. We become approachable rather than intimidating. We don’t see ourselves as better or worse than anyone else. We recognize that we’re all a part of the human condition; we all have strengths and weaknesses.

It is freeing to hold ourselves with the dignity that comes from simply being human. We don’t need to achieve “greatness” to have worth and value. We’re great just as we are. We might be inclined to pursue excellence because it feels meaningful, enlivening, and expansive, but not because it defines who we are as a person.

When pride is substituted for our human dignity, it disconnects us from God. Affirming our dignity and allowing others their dignity, we become more available to honor ourselves and connect with others as equals. Pride is a burden we don’t need. Living with dignity allows us to move more freely through life

Conclusion

On the one hand, pride is the most blinding and unforgiveable of sins, but, when redefined as dignity, it is a vector of virtue.

A more genuine and stable self-worth is based upon validating, affirming, and valuing ourselves as we are. Self-worth is a function of living with dignity, which exists apart from any accomplishments.

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Relevant Scripture

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Who is it you have ridiculed and blasphemed? Against whom have you raised your voice and lifted your eyes in pride? Against the Holy One of Israel! (2 Kings 19:22)

In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Psalm 10:4)

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. (Proverbs 13:10)

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)

Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed. (1 Samuel 2:3)

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

References

Why Pride Is Nothing to Be Proud Of | Psychology Today by John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT

The Value of Authentic Pride | Psychology Today  by Holly Parker, PH.D

Pride: Vice or Virtue? | Psychology Today  by Neel Burton MD

beach breakwater blue sky clouds

God’s Voice Told Me to Help / Spiritual Meditations

Have you ever heard God’s voice?  I don’t mean through scripture or as an urging by the Holy Spirit, but God’s actual audible voice.  Not many have, but probably more than you would guess.  The following is an account from one of my pastors, Rev. Dr. Timothy W Ehrlich, which he has included in his book The Long Road to Eternity available on Amazon.  This took place when Tim was a young man, and it relates the first time God spoke to him. 

Every day in my daily prayer I thank God for speaking into my life nine times. I say “into my life” instead of speaking “to me,” because twice God spoke to others on my behalf, and, seven times God spoke directly to me. God has never spoken to me in long conversations like He had with Jeremiah and others; in every instance God was economical with His words. Eight of the times He spoke only a single sentence; and once He spoke two short sentences. God always used the fewest number of words to communicate His message and each time it was at an important moment in my life or that of someone else. This account is about the first time that God spoke to me in words I could hear.

As a theologian it is surprising to me that this time and three of the other times, I heard God speak, His words were not in answer to a prayer request but rather they were given unsolicited! When I say they were unsolicited I don’t mean that God’s communications were unwelcome, far from it, I wish God would speak to me even more though being spoken to by God is also a weight to carry. On this occasion I was not asking for a word or anything from God.

While in the Marines, on a day of liberty; I got off the ship and rented a small motorcycle at the end of the dock and rode around San Juan for hours. I love to ride motorcycles and wanted to take in as much of the city as I could. I traveled around on busy streets and quiet back neighborhood streets and was enjoying the beautiful weather and the interesting scenery. In the late afternoon I was heading back to the ship on a two-lane road that ran parallel to the beach.

As I was thinking about God, I suddenly heard a deep, booming male voice speaking to me. It commanded, “Go to the beach!” Instantly I knew this was God and this was an urgent demand.  Turning the motorcycle into the first street, I drove towards the beach. I spotted a women’s clothing store on the left a short distance from the beach, so I jumped off the bike, and ran into one of their changing stalls and quickly put on my bathing suit. I ran out of the shop smiling an apology to the shop clerks and ran toward the ocean.

In front of me and a little to my left was a long breakwater made of huge concrete blocks that were shaped like the metal jacks I played with as a boy. The breakwater was fifteen or twenty feet wide and extended from the beach straight out into the ocean about 200 feet. There was a strong fast-moving ocean current that was sweeping along parallel to the beach from right to left.  When it hit the concrete breakwater, it turned to flow out away from the shore.

Looking around, I noticed two girls being carried along in the fast-moving current. I could see from their faces that they were scared. As I watched, one of the girls wrapped her arms around the other. My Red Cross lifesaving class taught me that this is a classic drowning scenario; one person panics and grabs the other to keep his or her head above water. But the other person can’t stay afloat with someone wrapped around them.  So they both drown. I knew I only had seconds to act before they both slipped below the surface and were carried away by the current.

There were three Marines, unfamiliar to me, sitting on the sand to the right side of the breakwater. Fortunately, one of the marines had his Marine Corps issued field air mattress, used by the infantry for the many times we were required to sleep on the ground. I ran up to them, grabbed the mattress saying, “Somebody needs this!”  I then ran into the surf, jumped on, and paddled out to the girls. Sliding off, I pushed the mattress into them. They let go of each other and climbed on, draping themselves over it. I hung on to the end of the mattress and let the current carry us out, knowing that it was too strong to swim against and that as soon as we reached the end of the breakwater it would let go of us.  Once we were passed the end, I pulled the mattress and them down the other side and back to the beach.

After many thanks for saving them, the young ladies went their separate way and I walked the mattress back to other Marines. After drying off in the sun, I got back on the motorcycle so it  could be returned on time.

[In the post entitled “Your Inner Being Could Save Your Life. Are You Listening?” you, the reader, will find more current-day examples of God’s spoken directions that saved someone.]

Conclusion

Two things are significant theologically about this experience:

First is that when God chose to speak into my life here (and at other times), it was like a family member who knows they are welcome to come into your home without knocking: although it was a forceful command His voice was familiar and comfortable.

Secondly God demonstrated His foreknowledge; He knew these girls were going to drown and directed my path to beach without a second to spare, on behalf of one or both of those two girls who He obviously wanted saved.

I thank God every day for speaking to me that day and for allowing me to save those girls. I could have no way of knowing then that God would speak to me directly six more times.

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security direction sign

Why Did God Make Me _______? / Spiritual Meditations

“Why did God make me ugly/ gay/ black/ short/ stupid/ fat?”

These are some of the most asked questions on the internet. I can add to this list: “Why did God make me handicapped/ sickly?” What comes to your mind? They sound more like complaints than a question of God’s purpose.

I don’t know whether God tweaks our genetics to make us who we are or if He created the genetic code and waits for the  developments.  But either way He loves who you are and has a mission for your life, should you choose to accept it.

Our Insecurities Bring Us Closer to God

Everyone has self-doubt about who they are physically, emotionally or mentally.  Insecurities can come and go or be something we live with all our lives.  They could develop out of a traumatic experience or imagined threat. They are often a response to ridicule from peers or strangers.  Or we could just be wired to worry about our lack of perfection as impossible as it is to achieve.  The moment when we are at the end of our rope, that’s when God finds us. That’s when that relationship is revealed. You can link to an account of a young man who made a bargain with God to save his sister.

God Cares for His People

God draws us, He calls to us. He longs for us to come to Him so He can heal us. Yes, physical miracles are possible (as can be seen in this account), but more often God heals our spirit.  Often, we are unable to hear His call because we’re so busy with other things – our lives, our families, our work, our own problems and unhappiness. Sometimes we must be broken before we realize that our deepest need is to be reconciled to God.  When we surrender to Christ we can be restored and transformed.

When we recognize our need for God, we’re able to take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on God and Jesus Christ. When we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what Jesus did for us, our insecurities begin to melt away. Only when we admit our need and ask God into our life, can God begin to make us whole. When we confess that we are broken God can make us into what He wants us to be. Once we let go of self and place God at the center of our lives, everything else falls into place (Matthew 6:33).

God Wants You to Use Your Experience

Survivors of horrific or heart-breaking events are usually quite resilient. We’ve experienced the worst and came out the other side as a stronger person. We can face things that scare others.

The broken and cracked are the ones that people can relate to.  We are the ones who see our need for God.  We are the ones who see no reason to boast but rely on God’s grace.  We are uniquely positioned to channel God’s love to those we best understand because of the common bond of our particular and unfortunate experience.

I believe the experiences you face in life are not just for you. They happen so that you in turn can help someone else. How can you help another overcome something you never had to deal with? This is what Jesus did for us.  If you have been broken or cracked, God wants to use that. Remember what it felt like and remember how God brought you through it. Take that and go help someone else who needs your insight.  You empathize with their pain and don’t want to see it continue.  You can see through their defensive behaviors and love the soul beneath.  You can help them interrupt their self-destructive patterns.

So instead of being defensive about the special attributes that we believe are deficiencies, let’s accept their benefits and use them.  We all have a niche and are someone that God can use for His glory. God uses flawed people to show us that He can equip anyone to do His work. And He does.

The Brokenness that May Not Heal

There is another group of broken people, although they don’t think of themselves that way; Those who are arrogant, lack empathy, are self-absorbed and self-righteous. It is often necessary for a traumatic experience to bring them to their knees before God so that He can speak to their soul.  Healing, according to Jesus, is for those who are broken and admit it.

Conclusion

At some point in our lives, most of us have been hurt, broken, troubled, crushed, bruised and in need of help and the comfort of God.  Trauma, heartache, and pain can hold us back if we let them, but they can also make us stronger. The experiences that create damaged people can also create kind and appreciative people. With God’s help we can look beyond ourselves.  Our brokenness enhances our empathy and we have a great capacity to share love and kindest.

So why did God make me _____?  He may not have tweaked your genetics to make you who you are, but if you seek Him (how to seek Him), He will certainly heal your spirit and use you for the betterment of those in need.  Broken people become trophies of God’s grace and the best conduits for His love.

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Relevant Scripture

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33).

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Save me, O God,
    for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
    where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
    the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
    my throat is parched.

My eyes fail,
    looking for my God.
Those who hate me without reason
    outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
    those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore
    what I did not steal.

You, God, know my folly;
    my guilt is not hidden from you

13 But I pray to you, Lord,
    in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
    answer me with your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the mire,
    do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
    from the deep waters.
15 Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
    or the depths swallow me up
    or the pit close its mouth over me.

16 Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love;
    in your great mercy turn to me.
17 Do not hide your face from your servant;
    answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
18 Come near and rescue me;
    deliver me because of my foes.

19 You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed;
    all my enemies are before you.
20 Scorn has broken my heart
    and has left me helpless;

I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
    for comforters, but I found none.
21 They put gall in my food
    and gave me vinegar for my thirst   (Psalm 69)

I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit (Isaiah 57:15).

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
And as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account. (Isa. 53:3 referring to Jesus)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matt 6:33)

References

God Uses The Weak – 4 Reasons God Uses Broken People by Diane Shirlaw-Ferreira

3 Ways God Uses Broken People for His Glory  by Diane Shirlaw-Ferreira

Why the Most Broken People Are Usually the Kindest by Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

What does the Bible Say About Brokenness? | GotQuestions.org