We’re All Broken in Some Way
Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. Matthew 15:19
In the painful consequences of my addiction, I needed to know where my recurrent self-destructive behavior came from. One extreme view told me that I simply made sinful choices. All I needed to do was to turn to God and he would take away my evil desires. The other extreme insisted that I had a disease and that I wasn’t responsible for my behavior.
I found neither view to be helpful. I knew I made bad (sinful) choices, but it seemed that something was broken in me in a way that it wasn’t in others. On the other hand, I couldn’t accept that I bore no responsibility for my actions.
In today’s passage, Jesus explains the source of my destructive behavior. Simply, it comes from within me. Since Adam and Eve, we all have broken bodies and fallen natures. Paul calls it our flesh nature and here, Jesus refers to it as the heart. This is that thing inside us which hungers for the self-destructive.
It’s different for all of us. Some of us struggle with drugs. Others struggle with money, lust, or food. Whatever our thing is, we all desire some unhealthy behavior. With addiction, modern science would call this a disease. Whatever we call it, we must understand that we’re all broken in some way. We may not be responsible for our flawed nature, but Jesus taught that we’re responsible for the behavior that flows out of that nature.
What is the solution to my brokenness? In my disaster, that was the real question. I needed to know how to stop. I once thought that God magically and completely removed my flesh nature, but I’ve since realized that this will happen only when my body is dead. As long as I’m in this world, unhealthy food will be appetizing, and drugs will feel good.
What Jesus does for me, is to give me the freedom to follow him, the only adequate solution to my life’s greatest needs. He forgave me, restoring me to the father. Now it is my job to daily do whatever it takes to abandon the old nature so that I may follow God. In doing so, he fills me with joy, peace and life, making me hunger more for the new life than I do for the old one. This is the only fix for my brokenness.