I find myself many times in my life with what I feel is a broken spirit. Most times when I feel this way it causes me sadness, discouragement, and self-examination. The broken spirit is something that happens to everyone. Sometimes it is because there is healthy dose of pride being exerted. However, there are those times when the people we know, don't know, or even love break our spirits. Intentionally or unintentionally we feel a punch in the gut from life and loved ones, not because we need humility, but because they feel the need to share their displeasure with us. There are those times we can even justify the desire and action of breaking another person's spirit, simply because we don't agree with their actions or we feel the responsibility to judge. I find this verse above fascinating, because there is a breaking of pride and the author is self-inflicting the backseat of life so that God can be the driver. If I swell up with pride may I be one who can offer a broken spirit to the Lord and a contrite heart, because He cannot reject this posture.
My heart breaks though when I witness either myself or someone I know force a broken spirit and contrite heart on another. Jesus who was perfect and God in the flesh did not desire to break the Spirit of the people, but rather chose a unique path to love someone into repentance. Think about some of the stories we know about Jesus. What if they were different.
And so Jesus instructed the adulterous woman to beg for mercy until he put down his rock.
Zacchaeus you are the scum of the earth and you should feel the burden of guilt until you start giving away money
Well...if you hadn't had so much sin and thought more about God you wouldn't have been an invalid for 38 years. Get up and cry out that God will save your wretched soul and then you can walk.
Who touched me? No really, who touched me? I don't just give my power to anyone. Why do you think you're bleeding? Fix your heart and then maybe God will fix your illness.
It would be most difficult to love this type of Jesus. And we would quickly see that this is not the heart of God. Calling down people so that they will look up is an appalling method of evangelism. One of my mentors, Randy Harris, says "What you win people with, is what you win people to."
If we want to win people to a Jesus that matters and that will change their lives, then we have to be careful about how we share His story. Jesus has a story that loves others and wins them to God because of who God is, not because of how awful Humans behave. When I was in college the main reason I didn't pledge a social club (fraternity) is because the common ingredient among them was that they "broke you down, in order to build you up." And they justified this move with scripture and the practice of Christianity. We must be careful not to bring that into our walk with God and others. Life is hard enough and the people we come in contact with don't need another reason to hate Christians or feel horrible about who they have become in this life.
If we will just be people who extend a loving savior to the world I guarantee that the Love that God has for them will break their spirit and give them a repentant heart. We won't have to call them names, list their sins, quiz them on their ethics, or make them give promises we would never keep ourselves. All we will have to do is show them who Jesus really is and they themselves will take on humility and live a life of Psalm 51.