Ballads of the Broken: Pt. 2

Other-Imposed Brokenness

In the heartfelt words of Psalms 34:17-18, we find a profound truth: "The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." This scripture beautifully sets the stage for our exploration of brokenness and redemption.

Similarly, in Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus extends a comforting invitation: "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." These verses remind us of the rest and peace that await us in Jesus.

Welcome to the Soul of Music! Week Two
Music, often described as what feelings sound like, has a unique way of touching our souls. This was particularly true for me during my sabbatical, as I found solace in the songs of Jelly Roll, especially his 2021 album "Ballads of the Broken." Knowing the backstory of the singer adds a layer of depth and authenticity to his music.

The Soul Behind the Song
The documentary "Jelly Roll: Save Me" paints a vivid picture of this gritty breakout artist's redemption story. His unfiltered honesty and deep dive into his troubled past and present struggles with anxiety are moving. His journey from a broken past, including being a drug dealer and struggling with alcohol and narcotics, to choosing a path of grace through music is inspiring. Jelly Roll once said, "I’m the one dude that’s just singing songs of the broken. This community has allowed me to speak on our behalf - on behalf of the depressed, the stressed, the anxious, and the addicted. I’m just documenting what I see and what I know. I have been a drug addict. I’ve been a loser. I’ve been a stealer."

Jelly Roll's music is a fusion of country, rock, rap, soul, and gospel, often referencing God or faith. His songs sometimes conclude with scriptures, and his tattoo of a cross under his right eye is a testament to his faith. His father, a faithful member of a Methodist church, influenced him significantly. Jelly Roll's involvement in men's bible study, serving as a church usher, and participating in homeless ministry speaks volumes about his faith journey.

Jelly Roll's songs, with titles like "Son of a Sinner," "Backslide," "Even Angels Cry," and "Save Me," reflect his journey through brokenness to healing in Jesus. His music resonates with those facing real-life struggles and seeking faith amidst chaos.

The Soul of Music Test is when listening to music like Jelly Roll's, it's essential to ask: What does this music make you feel? What truth lies in the lyrics? How can God use these songs to speak into a dark and lost world? These questions help us understand the soul of the song and its impact on our lives.

Spiritual Truth
Jelly Roll's song "Save Me" poignantly addresses the reality of brokenness, a universal human experience. The lyrics, "Somebody save me, me from myself. I've spent so long living in Hell," speak to the inward brokenness we often inflict upon ourselves, a result of our human spiritual condition marred by sin.

Two weeks of Brokenness: self-imposed and inherited from others. 
This week we are considering Inherited Brokenness: Other-Imposed Brokenness. We can transmit our brokenness to others, and in turn, others' brokenness can affect us. However, the most profound truth is that God desires to fix our brokenness. This is evident in the lyrics of "Save Me," where the struggle with hopelessness and the search for relief in harmful ways are depicted.

In Hebrews 4:14-16, we find a comforting assurance: "So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." These verses remind us that God understands our brokenness and invites us to seek His mercy and grace.

We are faced with choices in our brokenness: to be restored, to be healed, and to embrace God's wholeness. Jelly Roll's choice to turn his life around and focus on building a positive future is an inspiring example of this. We are encouraged to bring our brokenness to God, trusting Him to mend us in ways we never expected. This process might be challenging and time-consuming, but it leads to transformation and healing.

Healing Together
In conclusion, let us embrace our brokenness and that of others with love, grace, and mercy. Let us respond as Christ would, bringing our brokenness to God and allowing Him to transform it. In doing so, we not only change our lives but also stop the transmission of brokenness to others. Remember, brokenness transformed is no longer brokenness transmitted.

As we reflect on these truths, let's hold onto the promise that in our brokenness, we are not forgotten or forsaken. God is always ready to turn our pain into purpose, our struggles into strength. He is a God of mercy and grace, eager to mend the broken and uplift the downtrodden.

So, let us bring our broken pieces to Him. Let's trust in His power to make us whole again. In the words of Jelly Roll, "I spent a lot of years destroying. I want to spend a lot of future years building." Let this be our mantra too, as we journey from brokenness to healing, from despair to hope, guided by the unwavering love and grace of God.

May this message of redemption and hope resonate with you, as it has with me, and may it inspire us all to seek and find the peace and rest that only God can provide.

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