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Healing the Brokenhearted

…He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted….— Luke 4:18

By Rick Renner

Although Christmastime was a joyous time for our family, Christmas Day itself reminded me about the pain of broken families. My grandfather had been married four times; two of my grandmothers had been married twice; a great-grandmother had been married five times; an uncle had been married three times; and the list seemed to go on and on. I had six grandmothers and three grandfathers — some natural, others added by divorce and remarriage.

I always felt this brokenness at Christmastime because Dad and Mom faithfully took us to visit every single faction of our multiple family branches. We’d spend a little time with one set of grandparents, then the next, then go on to the next, and then we’d start on visiting our various grandmothers. In a certain way, Christmas Day felt a bit like geriatric ministry as we spent most of the afternoon trying to see and honor all the old people in our family who had been married various times.

Those Christmas afternoon “tours” each year were difficult for our family in that they brought up painful memories for those old enough to remember. This particular childhood memory of Christmastime always makes me pray for people who are from broken homes and are confronted with this brokenness during the holidays. It’s just a fact that holidays are not always easy to celebrate for people who have fragmented families.

However, I have a scripture I want to share with you — one that I believe will encourage you during this holiday season if you are confronted by painful memories or brokenness. In Luke 4:18, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted….”

I want to particularly look at the word “brokenhearted” in this verse. It is from the Greek word tethrasamenous, the perfect passive participle of thrauo, and it depicts a person who has been shattered or fractured by life. It is the picture of those whose lives have been continually split up and fragmented. It well describes the situation that I saw in my family when I was growing up. If you are from a divided family, this word could describe you and the shattered emotions you may deal with as an aftermath of the broken relationships you’ve experienced.

But Jesus said that He came to “heal” the brokenhearted! The word “heal” is the Greek word aphiesi, which means to set free or to loosen from the detrimental effects of a shattered life. In the King James Version, it is translated to “heal,” but the Greek speaks of a release from the destructive effects of brokenness. In other words, although there is every reason to experience and feel brokenness, the anointing that is on Jesus is more than enough to release you from its adverse effects. Even though you were once broken by life, the anointing of the Holy Spirit has the power to restore and release you from this captivity that has held you in emotional bondage.

I can say that although our family was filled with the brokenness of failed relationships, God’s powerful presence was enough to restore those failed covenants. There was no hate that I can remember, and people who were once at odds with each other were congenial toward each other as we fellowshipped during the holiday season. It was a true miracle of God’s grace. It didn’t fix the relationships and put them back in their original order, but the grace of God made them peaceable.

If you have been through the experience of failed relationships and broken families, I want to tell you that the anointing of Jesus is sufficient to release you from the pain of that experience. It may not happen overnight, but with the grace of God working in you — and you cooperating with His grace — He can restore what the enemy meant for destruction. Today I encourage you to throw open your arms and receive the grace of God that empowers and restores. It’s yours for the taking — and if you are in a difficult family relationship, you need it!


Rick Renner is a prolific author and a highly respected Bible teacher and leader in the international Christian community. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the bestsellers Dressed To Kill and Sparkling Gems From the Greek.

In 1992, Rick and his family moved to what is now the former Soviet Union. Two years later, he and his wife Denise founded the Riga Good News Church in Latvia before moving on to Moscow in 2000 to found the Moscow Good News Church. In 2007, the Renners also launched the Kyiv Good News Church in the capital of Ukraine. Today, Rick serves as Bishop for this group of churches.

In addition, Rick and Denise pioneered a Bible school, and a ministerial association that serves thousands of Russian-speaking pastors throughout the former USSR as well as parts of the Middle East.

Rick also founded Media Mir, the first Christian television network established in the former USSR. Its broadcast capabilities via terrestrial stations in Russia, Ukraine, Mongolia, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova, and as well by satellite means millions of people are reached with these messages. It has since expanded into book publishing and managing social media accounts. Website: Renner.org

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