“Damaged goods”, “shop soiled”, “incomplete item” – these are all phrases that speak negatively of things, suggesting that most will now pass them by and their value has been reduced. Sadly, “damaged goods” and other such phrases might even be used pejoratively and selectively by a few to describe certain types of people. Are they of lesser value and to be passed by?
Many might refuse to buy anything that isn’t perfect. However, there are some who perhaps relish the challenge of taking a slightly damaged item and making it whole again, seeing its potential despite the surface appearance. Yes, this demands more work, but the end result brings satisfaction.
How do we view those on the edges of society, whether they be racial minorities, “disabled” people, the homeless, poor or others? Do we think that only they are damaged or that they are to be passed by? The truth is that all of us are in some way “damaged”. We are not perfect. The question is, can we see the potential, the latent beauty in each other as well as the scars and wounds? Are we aware of our own brokenness?
The damaged peacock butterfly above still retains much of its beauty. It can still fly, but it must do so on broken wings. Some of us might learn ways of hiding our scars, others wear them clearly visible, perhaps with no choice but for others to see our weaknesses. Sometimes we receive new wounds, new weaknesses that mean we must once again learn to fly, this time with even weaker wings than before.
God doesn’t pass any of us by, no matter how “damaged” we might be. None are left on the shelf, too far beyond repair. God in His love relishes the challenge of rebuilding us, making us whole and bringing out that latent potential and inner beauty. Our broken wings will one day be restored so that we can truly fly as we were meant to.
Yet, God does not just expect to be left to do the healing work all on His own. We can be channels of healing for others, bringing them off the shelf to God rather than waiting for Him to go to them. We can choose to believe that these damaged souls can still fly, albeit on broken wings for the time being. We can choose to stop and see their beauty and potential. Nobody should be passed over. After all, God has chosen to take care of us and we are no less damaged and in need of repair than anyone else.
© Joe Lenton, September 2013