Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).
April 7, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns which currently sits at #16 at 20theCountdownMagazine.
We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.
Today’s song is not a song of worship; rather, it is a plea for forgiveness sung from a husband to his wife. It doesn’t come to a resolution, and it isn’t a specific “please forgive me”; rather, it’s more of a “can we both just accept that we are broken and in need of forgiveness?” I think this is a good song to include on the Album, just not sure it is complete enough to get significant airplay. Today’s post will be less focused on this song, and more focused on the Marriage Relationship as described in God’s Word.
VEVO Official Lyric Video
Lyrics (via KLOVE)
Broken Together by Casting Crowns
What do you think about when you look at me
I know we’re not the fairytale you dreamed we’d be
You wore the veil, you walked the aisle, you took my hand
And we dove into a mystery
How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night
It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds
Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together
How it must have been so lonely by my side
We were building kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind
I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align
And we won’t give up the fight
Publishing: © 2013 Sony/ATV Tree Publishing (BMI) All rights on behalf of Sony/ATV Tree Publishing administered by Sony/ATV. / My Refuge Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com) / Songs of Universal, Inc. (BMI) / G650 Music (BMI). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Writer(s): Mark Hall, Bernie Herms
The first verse seems to be an apology for not living up to a hyper-romanticized view of what a marriage is “supposed to be”. Our culture suffers greatly from this problem of hyper-romantic view of intimate relationships, though it has largely abandoned all standards for sex and marriage. While the Church at large predominantly holds onto Biblical Marriage (many are slipping), many within the church maintain a hyper-spiritualized, hyper-romanticized notion of marriage that simply isn’t Biblical. We’ve taken the worldly notions of “soul mates” and “destiny” and “prince charming” and baptized them in churchisms. Rather than keeping the covenant of Marriage as a foreshadow of Christ’s relationship with the Church, we’ve created “sanctified fantasies” of marriage being God’s perfect gift created for our personal fulfillment and contentment.
The song has a misstatement that I’d like to address first to get it out of the way. Marriage isn’t eternal, or “forever” in the Western sense. Sure, the Hebraic understanding of time allows for “everlasting” to be limited by covenant or “an age” or truly ‘eternal’, but in our cultural context when we hear “forever” we are thinking of “infinity”. Jesus clearly taught that in the resurrection there will be no marriage or being given in marriage (Matthew 22:29-31 ESV). Marriage in this life is a foreshadowing of the eternal relationship between Christ and His Church in the Resurrection. With that established, let us focus in on the 2 references to God in this song between a husband and a wife.
Only God Can Change Our Minds
Before we jump into scripture, I’d like to make one thing clear: a good marriage isn’t a thing that God hands you as an answer to your prayers. Marriage is a covenant relationship between 2 sinners before God. Nowhere has God promised to change your spouse so that your marriage will be better for you. Both the Husband and the Wife need to be submitted to God by Grace through Faith for His Glory and Honor. When the Apostle Paul teaches on marriage and households there are always instructions for both and they are both to be submitted to God. I think the best example can be found in his letters to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 5:22-33 (ESV) | Wives and Husbands
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Egalitarians miss the point of this passage entirely. Now then, let us look at how to best approach the line “Only God can change our minds”. This isn’t something that we can find in any of the marriage texts, so we need to approach this concept within the context of being part of the Body of Christ. I think the best place to look is Romans 12, but let us begin in Romans 11:25.
Romans 11:25-36 (ESV)
25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience,31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Romans 12 (ESV)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Such a wonderful passage. Now, the context here isn’t specific to marriage. In fact, it’s far more hostile an environment. Paul is addressing Christians who are maligned and persecuted by the Jews. But these principles apply directly to Christians dealing with spouses, even in contentious or broken marriages. In many ways marriage is the proving grounds for understanding life in the Church. There is a reason and a purpose for Paul’s inclusion of a man’s marriage and conduct in his family life in the list of qualities of an Elder or Deacon in the Church. You cannot faithfully pastor a congregation if you’ve neglected your spouse or your family. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. For those of you in that covenant relationship, that is your first ministry in Christ. Please note that I’m not saying you have to be a perfect husband before you can be a leader in the Church. In all things bear the fruit of repentance, for we are all sinners. But failure to lead, pastor, shepherd your family is a disqualifies you for Church leadership… step down, focus on your family, and allow God to restore your marriage, your family, and then your position within His church for His Glory.
I’m praying God will help our broken hearts align
This is such an important prayer for married couples. The two shall become one flesh. This is where God designed sex to unify a man and a woman. Within a marriage where each spouse seeks to outdo each other in showing honor, the complementary design of man and woman are such that they compel each other to become one, to align. Sin in our hearts and flesh lead to death of our mortal bodies as well as our relationships. As sinners, we are to continually die to ourselves and present ourselves to God as living sacrifices. We are also defer to our spouses and resist the temptation to seek our own passions and desires directly. It’s the opposite of quid-pro-quo, we don’t demand service on credit; rather, we seek to meet the needs of our spouse before our own, knowing that in so doing we will be made whole and one flesh. The Apostle Peter also had some encouragement in these matters.
1 Peter 3:1-9 (ESV) | Wives and Husbands
1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.
7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
Verses 8 and 9 are a return to the body of Christ as a whole, but are worth including here as they still apply to husbands and wives. The whole of the New Testament is focused on the redeemed growing in the knowledge and fullness of Christ. Therefore, the only way that we can ask God to align us with our spouses is by submitting to Him and allowing the Spirit of God to keep us and grow us in Christ Jesus.
The problem with the song is that it remains sort of stuck in the Law. The singer is caught up in the “we’ve done it wrong” moment. We’ve looked at a lot of what the Scripture has to say regarding the covenant of Marriage, and that covenant is indeed Law. But do not walk away from this topic thinking that observance of the Law (even of marriage) will grant you the Love and restoration in your marriage you so desire. Love and restoration flow from Christ Jesus and can then be expressed outwardly in love.
1 John 4:7-19 (ESV) | God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
Amen. In Christ Jesus,