Jesus Makes Our Brokenness Beautiful

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This weekend, I learned about a little thing called Kintsugi (“golden repair”). You could call it the Japanese art of making broken things beautiful.

In Kintsugi, artists take the pieces of dishware that have broken (pots, cups, plates, etc.) and put them back together again with lacquer. It’s kind of like that thing people do with puzzles — fitting the pieces together and then putting a protective coat over them to seal them together. Onlkintsugggiy in Kintsugi, this sealing is done with lacquer mixed with golden powder.

What results from piecing together broken pots and plates with gold are pots and plates that are not only more valuable, but more beautiful than they were before. Every break is covered, every surface glittering with golden veins. You can see the places where the dish was vulnerable, but instead of seeing brokenness, you see wholeness, completion.

I’ve come to find that in my own life, Jesus Christ’s Atonement is that golden lacquer. When I am broken and weak, the Savior holds my pieces in His hands and He puts them back together, one by one. He is the only person who not only chooses to look past my cracks and forgive them, but who can fix them. His Atonement is the gold that lines and covers my brokenness and restores me.

I am not perfect. There are days when I get home and I ache, because all I see are those breaks in myself. For most of my life, I have struggled with the fear that no one will ever fully love or accept my pieces. It is crippling and lonely.

To me, the Savior is a striking exception to that fear. My struggles matter to Him, my heartaches concern Him, and my broken pieces, which to me seem so unbearable at times, are the very things He set out to fix and understand when He suffered in agony in Gethsemane, alone and broken Himself. My love for Christ is so overwhelming that when I think about Him, I am often humbled to tears.

The Savior validates me. He refines me. He makes me whole. His Atonement is the priceless lacquer that fills my breaks and makes that possible. All of us are broken dishes, but Jesus Christ doesn’t reject or dispose of us. He tenderly holds us in His hands and when we let Him, He repurposes us. Completely.

May we always remember that that is how much He loves us. May we love Him just as much.

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2 comments

  1. Quoting you, Ari: “For most of my life, I have struggled with the fear that no one will ever fully love or accept my pieces. It is crippling and lonely.”

    Sometimes people are slow of mind and unaware.

    Myself for example

    A few months ago. I was in a large retail establishment…browsing after locating what I came for. And an attractive lady who is walking by me smiles, and then a sales slip flutters to the floor from her hand…but she doesn’t indicate that she has noticed.

    Thinking it might still be of use to her, I call to her…”Miss?”…as I crouch down and pick up the sales slip.

    “I believe you dropped this.”

    “THANK-YOU!” she says with enthusiasm. Then she laughs…and kind of looks up at me from under her eyelashes. “You know…” she begins. “THAT would be a perfect ploy!.A clever way for a girl to meet a guy she was interested in!”

    Smiling, I reply: “I suppose that would be! You have a great day!”

    She kind of loses her smile as I walk away.

    I didn’t drive that day, so while walking home…the thought occurs to me: “OH! She may have been…flirting?”

    Aside from the just plain denseness that I displayed, there are those guys who are quickly dismissive…for whatever the reason.

    What kind of car you like…who you are voting for…if you are outspoken or not outspoken enough…what color is your hair? Your eyes? If your Dad’s hair is thinning will their sons go bald? Are you tall enough? Or short enough? Stats run through their heads and they make a decision…based on not very well thought out assumptions…shortcuts if you will (lots of girls to consider and their planner has them married and pregnant by such and such a time).

    It’s not out of line to assume that YOU are smarter than most of them, but there is no shame in learning from one’s eternal companion. It should be expected.

    Never forget that YOU are treasured daughter of God and an elect lady.

    The first requirement should be for a guy to be aware of that.

    There can be a lot of frustration and pain while waiting.

    People can be intentionally (and unintentionally) hurtful.

    Males and females.

    A couple of things I have been re-reading today (and I have had opportunity to use them elsewhere):

    “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”

    Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1917–2008), “Come What May, and Love It,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 28.

    “Faith to Forgive Grievous Harms: Accepting the Atonement as Restitution.” by James R. Rasband – who was dean of the BYU Law School when this devotional address was given on 23 October 2012.

    “Forgiveness requires us to consider the other side of the Atonement—a side that we don’t think about as often but that is equally critical. That side is the Atonement’s power to satisfy our demands of justice against others, to fulfill our rights to restitution and being made whole. We often don’t quite see how the Atonement satisfies our own demands for justice. Yet it does so. It heals us not only from the guilt we suffer when we sin, but it also heals us from the sins and hurts of others.

    It is critical to understand that forgiving others is not just a practical virtue. It is a profound act of faith in the Atonement and the promise that the Savior’s sacrifice repays not just our debts to others but also the debts of others to us.

    In our live-and-let-live society, we may believe that being forgiving is just etiquette and good manners. It is not. We may think that forgiveness requires us to let mercy rob justice. It does not. Forgiveness does not require us to give up our right to restitution. It simply requires that we look to a different source. The non-judgmental worldly phrases “don’t worry about it” and “it’s no big deal” are not illustrations of the doctrine of forgiveness. On the contrary, when a person sins against us, it can be a very big deal.10The point is that the Atonement is very big compensation that can take care of very big harms. Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimizing the sin; it means maximizing our faith in the Atonement.

    My greatest concern is that if we wrongly believe forgiveness requires us to minimize the harms we suffer, this mistaken belief will be a barrier to developing a forgiving heart. It is okay to recognize how grave a sin is and to demand our right to justice—if our recognition triggers gratitude for the Atonement. Indeed, the greater the sin against us—the greater the harm we suffer—the more we should value the Atonement.”

    VERY apropos for today I thought.

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