Is It Possible to Be Too Broken to Be Redeemed?

While many of us have found redemption through Jesus, there are thousands of people in the world who think their life is too messed up for them to be loved and redeemed by God. As a pastor, I meet people like this nearly every week.

One person who stands out in my mind is a guy named Ryan. Ryan was twenty-something and homeless. He spent his life trying to measure up to other people’s standards but never felt that he came close to succeeding.

Eventually, Ryan fell into the habit of numbing his feelings with drugs like crystal meth and heroin. His drug use finally led to a heart attack and Ryan died. The paramedics showed up, revived Ryan, and rushed him to the hospital.

Too Broken To Be Redeemed?

It may be because I’m in Las Vegas, but as a pastor, I hear certain comments pretty often. They often go something like this, “I have gone too far. My life is too messed up. I have been too sinful. God would never want me. God couldn’t change me, or save me.”

Sometimes the comment is posed as a question: “I have a friend who…” then I hear details of the friend’s life, often including addiction, sexual sin, crime, and jail. Then, “Is my friend too sinful for God? Is he too broken to be redeemed?”

I understand the question and even the emotions behind it, but the problem is, it suggests a lack of Bible knowledge. I don’t say that to judge but to encourage.

The truth we find in the Bible is amazing, liberating, and ends those concerns and questions. No one is too sinful to be loved by God. No one is too broken to be redeemed.

It’s About God’s Will

The issue isn’t the amount of sin in a person; it’s the amount of grace God can give a person. The question isn’t about how broken a person is; it’s about how mighty God is.

I don’t know how God could make this more evident in the Bible. It didn’t matter where people were from, what they had done, or who they use to be; God redeemed many broken people for the good of HIS will.

Here are some examples of people that were redeemed by God’s love and forgiveness.

  • David, an adulterer, who had his mistress’ husband killed to cover up what he had done.
  • Mary, a prostitute.
  • Zacchaeus, a Jewish man who sided with the Roman government and collected taxes to fund the Roman army, so they could go and kill more faithful Jews.
  • Peter, who denied even knowing Jesus.
  • Paul, who had persecuted and helped murder Christians.

In fact, it seemed Paul could never get over the fact that God could redeem someone like him, yet he wanted everyone to understand that God can redeem anyone.

A Scandalous Truth

Paul called himself the “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). In fact, he wrote, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).

What happened with Paul is scandalous. He persecuted Jesus’ followers yet found redemption through Jesus’ love. Scandalous, but true, and just like God.

And you, your friend, your kid …you are not too broken, too sinful, or too messy to be redeemed by God.

God Can Redeem Anyone

Ryan, who I mentioned earlier, survived his overdose-induced heart attack and went to rehab. While in rehab, he began to consider the idea of God and learned he needed to give his life over to God’s will. Soon after he began attending the church where I’m a pastor. He showed up every Sunday, and at our recovery ministry every Tuesday.

Ryan got baptized one year to the day after his overdose. He was dead but is now alive and living a new life. God promises, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Not only did Ryan begin a new life in Christ, but he met a lady in our church, and they started dating. Not long after that, Ryan asked to meet with me because he wanted advice on how to date in a way that honors God.

Just a few months ago, I performed their wedding ceremony and a few days ago, Ryan called me to tell me his wife is pregnant. God delivered on his promise of giving Ryan a new life.

Better Than New

You’ve heard the phrase, “Under promise. Over-deliver.” I think that’s what God does. He promises to make us new, but what he does is so much more than that.

In Japan, kintsugi is the art of restoring broken things. An artist takes broken pottery and puts it back together using gold. Instead of hiding the flaws, the artist highlights them.

In the hands of a master artist, this practice not only repairs the pottery, but also makes it more valuable, and more beautiful. We might think of restoration as making something as good as new, but God’s love makes something old BETTER than new.

A Beautiful Mess

God is a master artist. He created you and knew what you were like, and the way you should be.

But God is mighty and creative enough to be able to come into your broken life and, not just put you back together, but take your flaws and make something more valuable and beautiful out of your life. He can make you better than new.

That’s what’s happened with Ryan. He is volunteering in a recovery ministry and helping addicts find hope in Jesus. Ryan isn’t hiding his past or his flaws. In a sense, he’s highlighting them.

By doing so, he’s pointing people to the Artist who came in and restored his broken life. In doing so, his life is more valuable and beautiful than it would have been without his messy past.

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