“No Broken Too Broken”
Published 11:06 am Monday, September 11, 2023
Not all broken things are devalued by their brokenness. The substratum of the Christian faith is God’s ability to mend brokenness. It is normal in our culture to discard items that have become shattered. Vacuums, cleaners, crock pots, cordless drills, cell phones are all tossed in the garbage when they break. Often, it can be cheaper to purchase a new item rather than pay to repair the item (if you can actually find someone who could fix it). To a certain degree then, we have a disposition to trash broken things. Sometimes our attitude to dispose broken things can be superimposed upon that which is too significant to disregard.
This past Sunday Jimmy Macphee shared his personal testimony during the main worship service at our church. Let me give you a brief summary of his story. At 20 years of age, Jimmy committed armed robbery during which he shot two men, killing one. He was sentenced to die by electrocution. For 3 plus years, Jimmy sat on death row until his sentence was changed to life in prison. Over the next couple decades, Jimmy lived a life of criminal activity even while incarcerated. Fighting, selling drugs and running a loan shark hustle were all part of his incarcerated life. Due to his level of violence, Jimmy was placed in solitary confinement where he was told he would serve the remainder of his sentence. He was broken in so many ways that at this point Jimmy’s life seemed worthless.
Jimmy had, rightly so, been placed in prison for the heinous crimes he had committed. By his actions in the penal system, it appeared Jimmy’s life was broken beyond repair. On the one hand Jimmy had been thrown away. The shattered, fragmented existence of this man seemed to be beyond any help or hope. On the other hand, it was while in solitary confinement that God reached down and began to repair the brokenness in Jimmy’s life. Humanity had thrown Jimmy away, but God saw the value and significance in this man’s life and began to work to repair him.
After receiving salvation, Jimmy threw himself into learning. Specifically, Jimmy read the Bible to learn more about God. He still sat in solitary confinement for 5 years before being allowed back in the prison yard. But this time there was something different about him. Jimmy now worked to help others through a variety of methods. He became a tutor to help other inmates receive their GED, he taught math, helped inmates write papers and shined the light of Jesus while still behind bars.
In 2020, Jimmy was granted parol and is now a free man. Since his release, he has started his own ministry, gotten married, faithfully works a job and shares his story wherever he gets the opportunity. Today, this man, who was broken and whose life seemed worthless, is now a productive citizen of society and an ambassador of Christ who is having an eternal impact in the hearts and lives of other people. His brokenness serves as a testimony that there is no broken person too broken for God.
Psalms chapter 147 verses 2 and 3 say, “The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathered the outcast of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God specializes in turning that which was broken into beauty. What we have to do is not view people in the same light we view things. While we might discard an item because it is broken, we should never cast aside someone because their life is riddled with brokenness. People, regardless of how ‘broken’ they are, have intrinsic value to God. After all, Jesus came for the broken and outcast.
Tasha Layton sings the song ‘Never.’ The lyrics have the phrase, “there is not a broken too broken for You.” Jimmy’s testimony is a perfect example of this truth. Maybe today, there is someone you have ‘tossed away’ because they are broken and their life is fragmented and shattered. I am here to encourage you; don’t give up on them! God hasn’t and neither should you. Instead, pray for them, speak God’s Word over their life and have faith that their broken situation is not too broken for God. With God, all things are possible!