My husband and I are currently watching a TV series called The Man In The High Castle. It’s a show (based on a book) that imagines a world where the Allied powers were defeated in WWII by Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan.
In a recent episode, one of the main characters (who grew up in the “Pacific States of America”, owned by Imperial Japan) references the Japanese art of Kintsugi; the art of fixing broken things (like ceramic cups, plates, etc) and highlighting the cracks with gold instead of disguising them.
(Image Credit: Haragayato – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)
There is also a philosophy attributed to this art form, one that sees damage and brokenness as part of a person’s story (as opposed to being something that should be concealed).
It stood out to me because, as Christians, I believe we should feel the same way about the broken world that we live in. We can either choose to conceal the things that happen to us or we can adopt the “Kintsugi” philosophy and see that God uses our brokenness, paints it with gold, and presents us as a new thing for His glory.
So, how can this philosophy serve to help us as Christians?
- We can understand that we are ALL broken and flawed. Romans 3:10 says that there is no one who is righteous. Not even one. The truth is that you will never find a “perfect” soul on this planet, simply because it does not exist. We all need God. We are all broken.
- We can either throw away the broken cup or chose to collect the pieces and put it back together. It reminds me of something I read on Facebook once. An old couple who had been married for 50+ years was asked how they lasted so long. They replied “when a lightbulb goes out, you don’t throw away the house. You change the bulb“. You could “throw away the broken cup” (read “denounce the church” or “leave the faith”) OR you could collect the pieces and chose to fix the cup. There is no use in a broken cup; it holds no water. However, if you choose to put the pieces back together, it becomes useful again (and arguably, stronger than before).
- We can choose to highlight our brokenness instead of hide it. Paul makes reference to this in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when he says “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” His power is made perfect in weakness. Being open about our brokenness allows others to not only see that they are not alone in their struggles and trials, but also highlights His glory and power.
Anyone who knows my personal story knows my “cup” has been broken more times than other cups, sometimes beyond the point of recognition, but God has been showing me lately that I’m not meant to hide my “cracks”. Rather, He allowed certain things in my life to shape me and mold me closer to the image of His son. Because of that, I can use the very things that deeply hurt me to bring Him glory.
As I said earlier, the truth is that we are all broken. We’ve all been through things in our lives that we’d rather not talk about. Some of us haven’t suffered a traumatic event, but some have. Some of us don’t struggle with addiction, but some of us do. The church isn’t meant to hide its flaws and conceal them; it’s meant to shine the glory of God DESPITE them.
His grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness. Therefore, I will BOAST gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Boast in your weakness. Don’t conceal your flaws and failures. Paint the with gold and let His glory shine through them.