In western culture today, the broken is often discarded. Whereas in days gone by, items were made to last and would be repaired as necessary, today broken items are more often thrown away to make way for the shiny, the new, the pristine.
Sadly, people can often be treated in the same way- exalted to a position of hero worship, until they make a mistake, until an imperfection is revealed, or until someone new and exciting comes along to take their place, then quickly swept aside.
But where culture may sweep the brokenness into the rubbish heap, Kintsugi says that broken things still have value.
It would be quicker to discard a broken piece of pottery and make a new one than to perform a time-consuming repair, but this is what Kintsugi does. In a throw-away culture, Kintsugi stands for repair and restoration, and the time devoted to that speaks of the inherent value of the object, regardless of its broken state.
I think Kintsugi is how God sees things.
Each one of us has inherent value. We are made in his image, individually created and formed in our mother’s womb, designed with a plan and a purpose.
Yet each of us is broken. Whether by our own sin, others’ sin against us, or simply the impact of living in a fallen world, we all encounter tragedy, heartache and pain. We all have times when our brokenness is only too evident: that hurt we struggle to lay down, the fear and anxiety we wrestle with each day, the pain and grief we carry over a broken relationship or the loss of a loved one.
Sometimes these can cause us to doubt our value. When tragedy strikes, we can wonder if God loves me, why does he allow this pain? When we mess up, our mistakes can make us feel worthless and stupid.
But no matter how life breaks us, our value to God is unchanged. You only have to have a cursory knowledge of the Bible to see that God uses broken people.
Joseph- abused by his brothers.
Moses- the murderer.
Rahab- the prostitute.
Gideon- weak and fearful.
David- overlooked and undervalued by his family.
Zacchaeus- a thief and a cheat.
Paul- a persecutor of Christians.
Yet each of them was valuable to God, despite their brokenness. God didn’t abandon them but he remained committed to them, and had a plan for restoration.
No matter how broken you feel today, be assured of your value to God. He will never throw you away or abandon you. You are loved, you are valued, and you are greatly treasured by him exactly as you are.
What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31 NLT)