-Bethani Thomas, Opinions Editor
Kintsukuroi, meaning “golden joinery” or “to repair with gold,” is an ancient art in Japan in which broken pottery is rejoined or fixed using a silver or gold lacquer. The rare paste fills the cracks of the once destroyed bowl or vase, not only making it whole again, but producing an almost entirely new creation. For kintsukuroi to be successful, the artist must have a finished work that is actually more appealing than before it fell to pieces, communicating an understanding that it is more beautiful for having been broken. Also, realizing that the filling in the cracks is made of gold or silver, we see that it is a more valuable piece because of this process of restoration.
So here is where you think I am going to write a deep article about the Lord breaking us and the beauty that ensues from this process and how glad I am that my cracks are filled with the valuable blood of Christ, etc.—but I’m not. You can google kintsukuroi and read about that on someone’s ilovejesus.wordpress.blogspot.whatever. What I’m going to tell you is that in my experience brokenness is nothing like that. Brokenness is never partial.
Christ bled profusely for us, from his head, from his side, and even from his pores (Luke 22:44). Do you think that He meant for this precious life-giving blood to simply fill in our small cracks? I look at the picture of the restored pottery and see two percent usage of the gold, and then still about 98 percent of the old pottery still existing. If someone were to call that bowl a valuable piece because it contains gold, I would agree. But if someone were to say it was made of gold, it would be a lie.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone that is in Christ is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.” But the most crucial part in my opinion is the very beginning of the next verse. It reads, “All this is from God…”
This is something that so many Christians daily struggle with. We think that righteousness is something we can muster up within ourselves and get good at and show to the World. We think that our faith is something we find in Christ but then it becomes our ever-tiring responsibility to grow it and nourish it. We rely on the gold-filled cracks to be our identity in Christ and see ourselves much like the piece of pottery that really is not a new creation, but still contains big shards of its former self.
First, that is not Biblical brokenness in salvation. Throughout the Scripture we read that our good deeds do not amount to anything without Christ. In our human nature the righteousness we produce is like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). If we do not have Christ in and through us and are not relying on him, not only will our plans constantly fall through and our life be foggy and unclear (Proverbs 3), but we will be compared to, “whitewashed tombs,” clean and spotless on the outside, but dead and ugly on the inside (Matthew 23:27).
Second, that is not how God sees us. In his eyes, we are complete new creations. The valuable, precious blood of his son, Jesus Christ, has literally bathed us clean of our sinful selves. We are non-existent in Christ. If we have experienced salvation, all He sees is the blood of Christ, or to match my ongoing metaphor, the gold. And this is how he values us.
I constantly find myself reaching for righteousness instead of godliness. I find myself trying to be the right Christian I suppose I should be, but not even listening to the Holy Spirit, or acknowledging God’s words in his Book of Life.
Brokenness is never partial and is never completed. But I pray, that as a piece of pottery, my life would be nothing but cracks. I pray that God would break me so much and continue to fill in those cracks with his life, that I would look nothing like Bethani, but that the new creation would be all that the world sees.