Characteristics of a broken person

This is part two of two about what brokenness is, and what it is to be a broken person. Here I want to focus on what I believe are the true characteristics of a truly, broken person.

I’ve been blessed to meet a few broken people in the definition of brokenness that I described here. They are beautiful and life-giving to be around! I wish there were more like them, and I know, see, and recognize that there is a growing hunger in the world for what these wonderful people exhibit in their walk with God.

Broken people are humble. They understand that true humility is just agreeing with God. Nothing more. Nothing less. When God says about a broken person that he or she is perfect, pure, holy, and righteous at the center of who this person  is  – no matter what they do/say/think/feel or don’t do/say/think/feel, they humbly agree with it. They understand that superior pride is saying that I’m more than God says I am, and that inferior pride is saying that I’m less than what God says I am.

Broken people are teachable. They understand that God can speak through, challenge through, and bless through anybody of whatever age, gender, educational level or race. They understand that being teachable also means that you’re willing to admit when you are wrong, and they freely do that resting in God’s unconditional acceptance of them.

Broken people don’t control other people. They understand that control is an illusion that insecure people cling to. They embrace the freedom to make choices and live their own lives, and they extend this freedom to other people to make their choices, whether good or bad, without needing to control them.

Broken people are forgivers. They understand that they have been fully forgiven for Christ for all sins and short-comings past, present, and future, and they know that true freedom is hindered if I choose to not forgive other people, myself, or even God (!).

Broken people embrace themselves in their brokenness. They are aware of their sins, faults, and weaknesses. And while not using any of their weaknesses as excuses for making poor choices, they are free to embrace and accept themselves, even when they screw up, because they know that God does the same. They understand that God loves us in light of our weaknesses, not in spite of them. And they understand that Henri Nouwen was right when he wrote: “Self-rejection is the single greatest enemy of spiritual life, because it contradicts the voice that calls us the Beloved

Broken people know that they can’t do anything of real, eternal value in their own strength. They don’t say the absurd sentence “I need to work on that in me”, because they understand that life as a Christian is never about them trying to fix themselves or others. They understand that only as they rest in Christ, and allow him to do his work in them and through them, will their lives have lasting, life-giving impact.

Broken people are in the process of being healed. They understand that they can’t fix the wounds that they have own their souls. They cry out to God to reveal the wounds and idols (Psalm 139:23-24), and for him to heal the wounds (Psalm 23:3) and bring down the idols in their lives, and set them free to live lives of abundance.

Broken people are open and honest. They understand that they are free to live, make mistakes, and be the people that God wants them to be. They see no need to hide who they really are and even the mistakes they make when they try to meet their own needs in their own strength. They are open and honest with people and know that their security as people is not based on what other people think of them.

Broken people are truth-seekers. They know that Jesus is all Truth. And they know that if there is an area in their lives where they are not experiencing full freedom, it is because they still haven’t encountered the Truth in that area of their lives. They have seen and testify to Jesus being the Truth that sets people free (John 8:32)

Broken people are Kingdom-oriented. They understand that they are first and foremost citizens of God’s kingdom that’s breaking forth here on planet earth. They understand that what truly matters is getting to know God more and getting to know who I am in him, and then all other things shall be added as God pleases (Matthew 6:33)

Broken people have laid down their rights in front of God. They understand that we don’t have rights to family, friends, great places to live, health, wonderful stuff, mind-blowing vacations, etc. Because they have laid down these felt rights, and live in the reality that God is the giver of all good gifts, they are excited, surprised and thankful when great things and experiences come their way, but they also accept and embrace the fact that life doesn’t always turn out the way they hope.

Broken people are free to love. They love and accept people where they are, but with their lifestyle of love, acceptance, worth, and a sense of security they draw other people to the only One who is love, God (1. John 4:8).

Broken people don’t have to know everything. In a day and age obsessed with knowing everything that’s going on, always having a plan, and being in control, broken people rely on the fact that they don’t need to know everything. They rest in their Father, trusting that he always knows, and if he chooses to, he’ll let them know what they need to know. They live in the assurance that it’s okay to cry out and admit: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2. Chronicles 20:12)

Broken people rest. They know and have experienced that believers are just called to ‘hang loose’ in Christ as grapes on a vine (John 15). They rest in who they are in Christ, and they bring a fragrance of rest to all the stressed people around them. They have experienced that when you rest in who you are in Christ, you can experience both love (Ephesians 3:19), and peace (Philippians 4:7) that surpass understanding, even when circumstances are crazy, and you feel like your boat is about to go under (Mark 4:35-41)

These were just a few of the characteristics of the precious people that God is truly making a difference through, the truly broken people. I pray that God will take me further on this road of brokenness, that I may display all of these characteristics more and more fully.

Blessings, Torben

19 Responses to “Characteristics of a broken person”

  1. August 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    About a year and a half ago I read The Rest of The Gospel and it has produced in me the God size change that I needed in my life. I appreciate your thoughts on the exchanged life and I am really enjoying your blog. Keep up the good work.

    At some point, would you mind if I share some of your “Broken” characteristics on my blog? julimay.wordpress.com I will give you credit of course. It just really spoke to me and I have come out of a long “broken” season.

    Look forward to reading more from you.
    Juli May

  2. August 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Dear Juli May!

    Thank you so much for your comments and your encouragement! You are welcome to quote me on your blog site, no problem.

    I am delighted to hear that God used The Rest Of The Gospel to speak real, life-changing truths into your life! This book written by a simple Baptist minister is being used mightily by God in more and more countries around the world to give more and more of his children a real understanding and experience of who they really are in Christ!

    And please keep up the good blogging work you’ve started! It’s exciting to read!

    Blessings, Torben – I can see that you live in Kennesaw, and if there are any ways we as Grace Ministries International here in Marietta can serve you or your church, we would be more than happy to do that as well!

    • August 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Thank you Torben.

      I appreciate your encouragement. My friend Barbara Moon commented on your blog earlier. I have had the privilege to sit under her and learn a bunch! Her training through GMI is still spilling over into many lives. She is the one that encouraged me to read Dan’s book.

      I will definitely keep your ministry in mind. I am currently attending Freedom Church in Acworth and they are growing quickly. Will pass along your information to JR. Lee, the Pastor.


  3. 4 doublebroken
    May 21, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Today I realized and even spoke aloud that I am in need of some serious soul searching!!! I was listening to Delilah on the radio and she mentioned how broken people make mistakes….I am that broken person. 😦 I googled (i am a broken person) and your blog popped up. I cried through reading the whole thing and just have to say even though I am writing through tears now that it was beautiful and inspirational.

    Thank you.

  4. May 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Hey Doublebroken!

    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad to see that you experienced something of God through reading this blog entry. I just added a couple of more important characteristics to the list.

    Blessings, Torben

  5. 6 Brenda L Baird
    May 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you Torben!

  6. 7 Jess Wilson
    May 26, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Thank you for this.
    I don’t have the energy to say any more than that.

  7. May 27, 2011 at 3:08 am

    @Brenda and Jess: You’re very welcome! I’m glad these words can be a blessing in your lives!

    Blessings, Torben

  8. 9 Kingdom
    August 15, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    this is truly the how to be beautiful in the sight of God. God cannot despise those that are broken. Thank you, and God bless you.

  9. August 18, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    @Kingdom: I’m glad you were encouraged by these words. God bless you too!

  10. 11 adam
    March 2, 2012 at 5:34 am

    If you were broken why would you be happy about it? I dont see how your beliefs could do anything for people who have given up even should some one take your words in what happens when they feel “god” let them down that would just leave them in a worse place. preaching hasnt helped anyone who is truly broken it just makes them angry, it would only work if you were giving suggestions not telling people god is what you need; give them something they can actually use when they need it preaching; is just something people do so that when the broken are gone they can say they did what they could when really it means nothing its just a couping mechanism for the people who cant admit they dont want to change there own lives to help people with real problems.

  11. March 4, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Adam: thank you for your comment. I’m not sure you quite understand what I mean when I talk about a broken person. What do you believe characterizes a “broken person”? Thanks for your input!

  12. 13 Mai Lee
    March 14, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Hi Torben,

    I came across your blog and it’s just great. Thank you for sharing. I’m a young teen and can very much relate to everything you have said and use what you shared to change my life. Thank you again 🙂

    Mai Lee

  13. May 25, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I really love this ! it spoke into my heart and soul and so blessed me.. thanks i needed it Go bless u xx

  14. 15 Seeker
    January 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    brokeness: resting in His grace and nothing else…I am loved so much by God. If you can’t quite understand this, then ask God to help you understand…buckle up : )

  15. 16 Mike P
    July 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    I’ve recently been broken and God’s been helping me rebuild myself.

    I’ve been broken before, I was like a five story building that came crashing down. Afterwards, I was too quick to rebuild. I built something much bigger and stronger thinking that I’ve redeemed myself. I felt a premonition that the next building would also collapse but I couldn’t figure out why and eventually forgot. The reason was that I still had a poor foundation. I didn’t find my self worth in God and instead found it in what I could accomplish. It was easy to get confused because by working hard, I reached various goals which felt good for a while. I needed to work harder and accomplish the next goal or else see myself as a failure. I finally accept now that I’m only saved by God’s grace.

    Thank you for posting this.

    Mike P

  16. 17 janel
    December 5, 2013 at 4:15 am

    Hi Torben,

    Thank you for this post. It is so timely for me as I’m going through a period of brokenness now…greatly appreciate it. Thanks once again.

    Warmest Regards,

  17. March 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Walk In Brokenness and commented:
    Part II…good stuff!

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