You may not have heard of it, but I promise it’s a real word. It is used to describe the Japanese process of restoring broken ceramic pieces. Started around 500 years ago, the process is when a busted ceramic piece like a pitcher, bowl or plate is painstakingly pieced back together. However, instead of keeping the broken seams unseen, they are made to stand out by being traced over in gold. The result is a finished piece with flaws, fragments and imperfections boldly highlighted. It’s beautiful in a very Jesus sort of way.
In our world, broken things lose their value. When your iPhone screen is cracked, it’s time to upgrade. Broken things are less valuable, less desirable and easily thrown away. Flaws, breaks, cracks, defects and imperfections make things less valuable.
Sadly, heartbreakingly, the world treats people this way too.
But in the wonderful, flipped over, upside-down kingdom of Jesus, the reverse is true.
Imperfect becomes important. The discarded treated as the dearest. People, flaws and all, mightily reveal the power of God to work through all sorts of brokenness. Flaws, breaks, cracks, defects and imperfections are not obstacles, but rather opportunities to reveal God’s mighty love.
Paul put it this way: “But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
There’s a natural tendency, especially at church, to hide our brokenness. Motivated by shame, fear, or pride, we both hide from God and live in denial toward others. We fear letting our imperfections, failures, stumbles and struggles show.
The truth is, our cracks don’t make us worthless. With Jesus, they add to our value. Authentically revealing our brokenness can be the most powerful way we can show God’s power and also bless others. He makes our mess into a message, and our tests into a testimony!
Normally broken things are worth much less.
Not so with the Kintsugi pottery. The shattered ceramic piece is actually far more beautiful and more valuable than before it was broken.
And not so with Kingdom people. God can and will redeem your brokenness and make it into something far more beautiful and valuable as well.