Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
The other day as I went to retrieve a custard dish from the cabinet, it slipped from my grip, fell to the countertop, and shattered. Now it was not a big dish–just a little 10 ounce custard cup. Yet when it hit the granite, it shattered; pieces were everywhere. Everywhere. I didn’t realize how many pieces could come from such a tiny little dish!
Of course I immediately got a broom, swept up the pieces I saw on the floor and the counter and then threw them in the trash. Once I was satisfied I had cleaned up the mess, I got a new dish and moved on with my original plans.
What I did not realize at the time, however, was I had not actually disposed of all the pieces. Even though I had cleaned up what I initially saw and moved on with a new dish, the broken pieces of the old dish still lingered. Between the camouflaging character of the countertop and the size of the little pieces still in existence, I kept discovering pieces I missed the first time. For days afterwards I kept discovering those tiny shards of glass. I found one behind the coffee pot. I found one under a loaf of bread. I found one hidden beneath the cabinet corner. And as luck would have it, I stepped on an extremely tiny shard of glass I had somehow missed on the floor.
One little dish…yet so many pieces.
And this image is what God spoke to me the other day. At one point in my life, I was shattered. One person….many pieces. Everything I thought I knew, every confidence I had, everything I trusted in–was really just shattered pieces. Everywhere.
I was broken.
I was the shattered dish.
Yet then I met Jesus. I met my Healer. Jesus did not just save me from eternity in Hell; Jesus took my brokenness and made me whole. He made me new. He removed my sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He removed my filthy rags and clothed me in righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Isaiah 61:10). When I accepted the free gift of salvation, the old me was crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). The old me passed away; the new had come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
When I met Jesus, the old, shattered me was done away with, and the new me was born. Nevertheless, even though Jesus made me a new creation, there were still shattered pieces of the old me that needed to be cleaned up. For years I would look at those broken pieces and think those pieces were still me, that I was still broken and shattered. I’d tiptoe around them, try to ignore them, and feel like a failure at the sight of them. Countless times I would feel the sting of stepping on one of those broken pieces of the old me.
Yet God has been walking me through an amazing journey over this past year. Throughout this journey, He’s been picking up the pieces of a shattered life. At first He picked up the big ones. There was great relief in throwing those away, so much relief I actually thought all the pieces were gone. But those were just the big pieces. If you’ve ever dropped a dish, however, you’ll know that it is the tiny slivers you can’t see that are the most damaging.
So what God has reminded me is those broken pieces are not me. They are not you either. Instead of holding onto them, mourning them, and continually reminding ourselves of them, we need to allow God to take those pieces, shine His light upon them, and then throw them away. For God doesn’t want to clean up just some of the brokenness; he wants to clean up all of it.
Now it used to bother me when I’d find a shattered piece, as if I had failed somehow. Yet it is just the opposite. Being able to see the broken pieces is evidence God is continuing to reveal them. And if God shines His light on them, then God will heal them. I’m not broken…just picking up the pieces of the old me. And you are not broken either. You are a new creation. The old has passed; the new has come. But God still must pick up some of the old pieces before someone–including you or me–gets hurt.
So in this I encourage you today, my friend. Did you step on a broken piece of the old you today? Did you see a piece you didn’t realize still existed? Do not be discouraged. Rather, be encouraged! Finding an old piece doesn’t make you broken again; it just proves God is still picking up the pieces of the old you you haven’t noticed yet. God has shown you so you He can get rid of it! Don’t pick it up and coddle it as if it were still a part of you. Don’t run away from it afraid it will somehow hurt you again. Once God has shed His light on it, all you need to do is allow Him to sweep it up and throw it away. And it will be gone. Gone forever. Washed clean by the blood of the lamb. For “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).