Broken Picture Frames

I like broken people, the ones whose frames are scratched, dented and their corners don’t match up well.  I like people who have discolored pictures, broken glass, torn canvases. Somehow troubles, pain, turmoil, and suffering tends to create genuineness.

There’s something about pain and trouble that acts like a cleansing fire burning out the impurities of life. Those who emerge from hard times are tempered, refined, and often, real.  It’s not that anyone wants a broken frame or cracked glass, but life breaks and shatters us anyway. 

With a broken frame, we see life, and others, in a different light.  Some respond to life’s troubles by becoming calculated, bitter and angry.  Others, however, develop a deep-seated kindness, mercy and gentleness.  

Picture perfect people though measure themselves with an external measuring stick.  They exude financial success, attractiveness, health, happiness, whatever it is, all in a host of card trick illusions.  Some measure themselves by acting as if they have the perfect marriage, kids, career, house, so much so that their dog doesn’t even have to go to the bathroom.

They want to be respected members of the “community” and encyclopedia pictures of confidence and togetherness.  Yet if you look beyond the frame and study the picture behind the non-glare, museum quality glass, you’ll see a picture full of flaws, dents and imperfections hidden in open sight.

Human nature needs life plastic surgery.  We want to show outward charisma and inward magnetism, but it’s just a sham.  The heart needs liposuction so sinfulness, pretentiousness and arrogance are sucked away.  Botox is needed to silence judging lips and relax haughty eyes.  The mind needs probiotics to flush out selfishness, pride and conceited attitudes.

I used to work with a Rehab counselor who always said, “96% of all people are dysfunctional and need treatment”.

The other way seems right though.  If 96% are dysfunctional, then dysfunctional must be the norm.  The norm is to be imperfect, make mistakes and have broken pieces.  Maybe the 4% who aren’t dysfunctional are delusional, if they even exist?

It’s not normal to live life-like a politician who acts confident, polished and has an answer for everything.  No one is a complete, picture perfect package.  It’s not genuine. It’s not real.

Sometimes life is dirty.   Life has gorges, washouts, valleys and floods.  We have rough edges, weaknesses and struggles. We blow it, make mistakes and generally mess things up.

It’s normal to be a broken person. To deny it is to live a lie.

Some of the most dangerous people believe and act as if their frame is pure gold and their picture deserves to be on display in an art museum.

Broken Picture Frames -- Read It!

…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6

God loves broken pictures.  Broken glass, cracked frames, torn canvas, faded color — it’s a beautiful thing in God’s art museum!  The more broken our black glass, the more His light can shine through.

It’s hard to put forth my real picture.  It’s broken. It’s discolored, scratched, damaged.  It’s easier to just put on a phony face for the world to see and act like a child dressing up in costumes for a make-believe world.

God sees beauty in people with broken frames. God sees worth in those living in shards of broken glass.  God sees value, redeeming value, in the midst of our flaws, struggles, and mistakes of the past.

When brushing the hair of the person in the mirror every morning, see what God sees, not more, not less, but what God sees.  Maybe then pride and woeful selfishness can shrivel away, while our broken, shattered lives can be mended into divine opportunities.

Human nature makes it feels like a curse.  It’s true. It’s not “natural” to humble ourselves.

But it is a blessing to look in the mirror closely enough to honestly see my broken, imperfect picture.  At least then the broken frame, shattered glass, and torn canvas can live honestly before God and man.

Besides, I really need that grace.

16 thoughts on “Broken Picture Frames”

  1. Hi Jeff. You stated, “With a broken frame, we see life, and others, in a different light.” And at the end you indicated that you needed grace. Brother, don’t we all! I’ve learned that the people I don’t usually like are the people that I don’t actually know, not always, but darn close. It’s only when we begin to comprehend the totality of our own shortcomings that we begin to understand how we’re all alike and our own inability to be Holy like God is and of course, our need for a Savior, because quite frankly, we just can’t do it, no matter how hard we try. It’s not that I don’t understand God’s morality and agree with it’s purity, it’s my own inability to achieve it that stops me dead. We need to forgive to be forgiven, we need to show mercy to receive mercy, we need to practice justice to receive justice. I am so thankful that our Heavenly Father sent us His Son and that Jesus followed through with His Father’s will. So simple but such a stumbling block to so many. Excellent post and forgive me for rambling. Hugs brother.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your comment that pain and trouble act like a cleansing fire made me think of 1 Peter 4:1-2: “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (ESV). So just like you say there is a sense in which one of suffering’s effects is to cause us to cease sinning, and therefore, that suffering purifies us. Thanks for the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jeff, Yes, we are all broken people. We are all born sinners. We are all weak in and of ourselves. And, to pretend that we aren’t is fake. You are so correct! But, because of God’s grace, we can be mended. We can be made whole. We can be healed and put back together. And, we can walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us, all glory to God!

    But, it doesn’t mean we are perfect people, though. For, we are all still in process until the day Jesus takes us home. We still bleed. We still get hurt. We still have days when we don’t know where to go or what to do or how to handle this situation or that one. We don’t always communicate perfectly. We get confused sometimes. We don’t always perfectly trust God in every circumstance. And, sometimes we have to be nudged and reminded of God’s promises to us, too, etc.

    But, I find a danger at work here, too. I find that many people use “I’m not perfect” as an excuse for continued willful habitual sin. I find that “broken” can be a badge to wear to show we are normal and that we “fit in” with everyone else so that no one can accuse us of being hyper religious or of being self-righteous. So, we must be careful that we don’t fall into that trap, too. For, that is not real, either.

    Being real is being honest as to where we are and who we are. Being real, too, is living up to what we say we believe, not in absolute perfection, but by God’s grace following our Lord in surrender to his will and walking in obedience to his ways. And, it is admitting when we are wrong and when we have failed, but I don’t believe it is real to keep admitting the same failures over and over again and to not do what needs to be done to no longer walk in those failures habitually.

    So, yes, by nature we are a broken people. Even in Christ we are still clay being molded by the Potter’s hands, and that work will not be complete until the day Jesus takes us home. But, being real is being totally honest with God and with others and it is not making excuses for why some people are still bound in their sinful practices when Jesus Christ died on that cross to set them free from their addiction to sin.

    So, just saying here that we can be made whole, not perfect yet, but we can be healed and be being healed on a daily basis no matter how broken our lives have been or still are. My life is a living testimony of God taking a very broken life and bringing his healing and his grace into that life and bringing beauty out of ashes, all glory to God! Sue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, Sue! Loved your thoughts here, and agree completely! Your third paragraph is right too. Some people chalk up a life of mistakes, sin, consequences of bad choices, etc. and say, well that’s just the way I am, but true brokenness frees us to heal and become tools in the hand of the Master. Thanks so much for your insightful comments, Sue!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jeff, it seems that whenever I get done responding to one of your posts I feel like I have just written a book or that I have just poured my heart out with great passion and much detail.

        I think what you write just brings that out in me. 🙂 It inspires me! And, it is because these are subjects I feel deeply about. So, I guess that is a compliment to you that your writing draws that out of me. 🙂

        Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful response, as always. All glory to God! And, I appreciate your additional insight here, too. Good stuff! I agree!

        Liked by 1 person

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