What To Do When We’re Broken
It is only human to become despondent when we have failed in keeping to our moral, ethical and spiritual standards, succumbing, instead, to temptation. Our Orthodox Faith teaches that we must be compassionate towards others, loving, quick to forgive, exemplar in our Christian living, and always demonstrating to the world that we belong to Christ. Yet we also know we fail, most of the time, in living up to the standards of the Gospels, appearing no different than the pagans.
We look to the example of the saints, and wonder why we seem so far removed from their Christ-like example of living the Gospels. Over and over, we sink in the muck and mire of sin, becoming broken, downtrodden, and sick. In our brokenness we betray the Gospels, our own standards of behavior, and the expectations of others. We know the truth of the words, “There is none good but One, that is, God (Matthew 19:17),” because we fail, over and over, in our own seeming inability to live as we believe.
We know we have been called to holiness by Christ, and that He gives us the strength, courage, and even the ability, to live our lives out in holiness. Yet, try as we might, we find ourselves utterly failing to live the Gospels, failing in our witness before others, and letting down our friends and family, with behavior that is anything but an example of Gospel living. We are broken, bordering on despair.
Nevertheless, even as we struggle with our sins, we must remember that we were specifically created by God for participation in His Divinity. We have been called by Him, and have become a Royal people, specifically created to participate and share fully in the life of God. The key to this life in God is to be found in repentance. Even in our brokenness, we must not give in to despondency, for our Saviour is quick to forgive. When we have found ourselves falling short of the glory of God, we must turn toward this very God in repentance, knowing that He is quick to forgive.
When we are broken, despair is the enemy, and should be seen as an emotion that has come from the Evil One. Hope and forgiveness are the gifts that come from God. During those times when we have failed in our Christian vocation, we must embrace the hope that comes with a repentant heart, and see, in our brokenness, the reminder that we are to always keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge that we have a God Who is quick to forgive. Despair is the enemy of our salvation, because in despair, the Evil One would have us believe there is no hope, and therefore no salvation. In our brokenness we must turn our gaze towards our Co-Suffering Saviour, the One Who lifts us up, out of our brokenness, making us whole, and granting us forgiveness and life.
Love in Christ,
Photo: Life Giving Spring Women’s Monastery, as seen from the side of the mountain above. I’m now back in San Francisco with my friend Father Photios Dumont. We plan to visit Holy Virgin “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Orthodox Cathedral, to venerate the holy relics of Saint John the Wonderworker, and will be flying back to Seattle later today. Thank you for your holy prayers.
About the author
Fr. Tryphon is the Abbot of the Monastery of the All-Merciful Saviour, which was established in 1986 by Archimandrite Dimitry (Egoroff) of blessed memory. The Monastery is under the omophore of His Eminence Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.