5 Reasons Broken People Are the Most Beautiful

In the 1940s, in downtown Oklahoma City, a fully grown tree stood in the back yard at a residential house. Eventually, the house was demolished, and the land became a parking lot. But the tree remained, a strong American elm that stood in the center of all that asphalt for years as the wind poured through its branches. That parking lot was right across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building where, on a spring day in 1995, a 4,000-pound bomb went off. The building was torn apart, as was the American elm. Many of its branches were blasted off and the ones that remained were blackened. In the months that followed, all that was left of the tree were two large trunks forming a “Y” with a couple of pathetic twigs sticking out of the top. But over the years, it grew, larger, fuller, and more beautiful than it ever was before. Today, it’s called the Survivor Tree, and it’s my favorite tree in the world. Whenever I’m in downtown Oklahoma City, I always drive passed it to marvel at its beauty.

Sometimes, it’s the broken things that turn out to be the most beautiful, especially when they’re restored. In my experience, that seems to be the case with broken people. It’s the people who have endured something truly heartbreaking—the ones who have suffered, been tested, or know shame—who tend to possess an attractiveness that is quiet and understated but also radiant. So if your kids or you have or are currently experiencing pain, be encouraged. It may be a valuable part of their or your formation. Here are 5 reasons broken people are the most beautiful.

1. They know remorse and forgiveness.

People whose behavior led to their brokenness tend to be in touch with their depravity. They know their moral shortcomings and have been forced to face their shame. This is especially true if it was a public failure. The guilt and embarrassment often run deep. The greater our understanding of our own shortcomings, the sweeter the experience of forgiveness. And when we feel forgiven, we become much quicker to offer forgiveness to others. We are less likely to hold on to the bitterness that makes us abrasive and callous.

The greater our understanding of our own shortcomings, the sweeter the experience of forgiveness.

2. They’re authentic.

Broken people are under no illusion or pretense to appear to be anything other than what they are. Many years ago, a friend of mine had committed a crime and had the ugliness of his actions displayed in a courtroom. Having the worst things about me tried in a courtroom would be my worst nightmare. Years later, I asked him if we could talk about it. He said, “Yes. I’ll tell you anything you want to know.” He answered every question with honesty, freedom, and authenticity.

3. They’re humble.

People who are broken don’t have an ego or an inflated view of themselves. They have been confronted with the truth about themselves. When we see the folly of our ways, we can no longer think of ourselves as better than others. That’s when humility grows in us. It causes us to think about others more than ourselves. Not that we think others are better than we are, but we think about their needs and challenges. Our attention moves off ourselves and onto others.

4. They’re gentle.

People who have experienced brokenness know pain. Pain without healing can turn into bitterness. But those who have been wounded and experienced healing become gentle. We all are hurt in one way or another, so there is an attractiveness to someone who is gentle; Someone who understands that pain and displays a tenderness that makes wounded people feel safe. Maybe that’s why 1 Peter 3:4 says, “Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Gentle people treat others with the highest amount of dignity and respect. Often, that gentleness is formed through brokenness and healing.

5. They’re full of grace.

Sometimes, losing everything on earth—positions, wealth, relationships, possessions, our ego, or self-righteousness—is exactly what we need to experience God in a real way. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God is able to regenerate the brokenhearted. That’s grace. When He rejuvenates us, we’re filled with that grace and it pours out to other brokenhearted people.

Sound off: What are some other reasons broken people are the most beautiful?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think makes a person beautiful?”