Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:4-5, KJV
Satan is not original. He likes to keep throwing the same lines and lies at us to discourage us. As the Scripture says, we are not ignorant of his “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11).
“You’re damaged goods.”
I heard this stated about me before the end of my first marriage and versions of it afterwards. It is designed to shame and shutdown. The message behind this message is that having experienced a loss or brokenness equals disqualification for ministry. Further, the message is one of devaluing the individual as we generally devalue “damaged goods.”
It is a “less than” message often accompanied with some passive-aggressive version of “The Southern Curse”–i.e. “…God bless his soul.” And it is a subtle way of dismissing someone’s voice attributing anything they say to being insane–more or less–from their hurtful experience.
This is a lie.
A crushing experience of great suffering does not make a person less valuable or worthy of God’s love.
So, calling someone “damaged goods” exposes a false gospel understanding in the one handing out the label.
Jesus suffered greatly and was despised even. Is He”damaged goods?” He experienced the suffering that comes from bearing injustices and sins perpetrated against Him.
God revels in using “damaged goods” to transform the world and actualize His Gospel mission. These are the people who can identify with Christ in ways others cannot. Plus, these are the people who grasp the reality of living in a world scarred by sin.
Satan wants faithful spouses–and other victims of awful sin–to believe being “damaged goods” is somehow a disqualifier. It is not in God’s Kingdom. In fact, it is the opposite.
Anyone who approaches Christ thinking he or she “has it together” or is not “damaged” cannot know God for he or she walks in pride. They are known from afar by God (see Psalm 138:6). Jesus even made the point that He did not come for such individuals but for those who were “sick” (e.g. Mark 2:17).
We are all “damaged goods” for we all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and all live in a world broken by Adam’s original sin (e.g. Romans 5:12). Some of us experience greater suffering due to sin than others. And some of us experience the sort of unjust suffering that Jesus experienced while walking this earth.
The fact of our brokenness does not make us any less valuable in God’s eyes. He knew it all before choosing to die for us on the Cross.
The fact of our brokenness does not make us any less useful to God in advancing His Kingdom. In fact, we may be more useful following such experiences. Joseph was used to lead the mightiest nation in the world after being an inmate. Job became a byword for unjust suffering and hope after his awful losses. And Rahab, a former prostitute, became a grandmother to the son of God!
The fact of our brokenness does not mean our voices are dismissed by God. In fact, these are the sort of people God holds close (see Psalm 34:18). If anyone, we ought to listen to those who are known to be close to God and not those who are known–i.e. the proud–to God from afar (see Psalm 138:6).
Am I “damaged goods?” Sure. But I am in good company.