Bent Is Still Broken: The Gospel In Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason”

Why Pink is Worth Listening To
Can I confess that I really like Pink’s music?  I know, I know.  She’s postmodern to the core… but that’s why I like her.  She’s always saying something meaningful and you can literally hear her aching for the peace of the Gospel.  Her music consistently declares the brokenness that results from the Fall and the shallowness of sin… and yet she doesn’t know where to turn for something better and more lasting.

If you haven’t heard Pink’s newest release, “Just Give Me a Reason” (featuring Nate Ruess, from the band FUN), it’s definitely worth looking up on YouTube.  Be warned, Pink doesn’t necessarily abide by “Modest is Hottest” philosophy, but it’s actually one of her cleanest videos I’ve seen.  If you’d rather not watch the video, find the song online (or look it up on YouTube, click play, then minimize the screen while reading the lyrics).

The song really is an amazing message about how difficult relationships are.  Again, Pink resists the fairy-tale romance that seems to saturate our culture and offers a strong dose of reality.  Relationships are difficult and painful.  Pink clearly acknowledges our brokenness and how that complicates love and relationships:

Just give me a reason

Just a little bit’s enough

Just a second we’re not broken just bent

And we can learn to love again

It’s in the stars

It’s been written in the scars on our hearts

That we’re not broken just bent

And we can learn to love again

This song is currently on the top of the iTunes charts, and I think it’ll stay there for a while.  It’s a great song musically, it’s filled with a deeply emotional and universal cry that resonates within all of us.  We know we’re broken.  We know relationships are hard and are often painful, yet we also know that they’re good and worth the effort.

Bent is Still Broken
Love is messy because we’re bent and our hearts are scarred.  What she isn’t acknowledging, however, is that bent is still broken.  Have you ever tried to “unbend” something only to find that it’s still broken and won’t work?  That’s how we are, no matter how much we try to straighter ourselves, we just can’t fix our brokenness or cover it up.

Theologically, we understand the biblical doctrines of Original Sin and Total Depravity fill out what this brokenness means.  We are “dead in our sins,” and yet that doesn’t mean we don’t yearn for God.  As we look around and listen carefully we can hear people crying out for the Gospel.  They don’t comprehend it, it seems like foolishness to them, and they won’t believe it apart from the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, but they are crying out for life in the midst of their brokenness.  In this sense, a corpse can cry out for life, although it’s looking for life in all the wrong places.

When we say we are “broken” or “dead in our sins,” that doesn’t mean we literally don’t work and that we don’t cry out for freedom and wholeness.  Instead, it’s an acknowledgement that we aren’t right, and we can’t fix ourselves.  Our brokenness also means that we can’t even recognize false saviors from the true Savior without the Holy Spirit’s illumination.

Learning to Love Again
Pink’s music time and time again leads me to the Gospel.  She reminds me of my heart apart from the amazing grace which has been poured out through Jesus Christ.  She reminds me of the hurt and brokenness of people I care about.

Encourage students to hear this song and remember that bent is still broken.  Relationships are hard because not only is the person we’re trying to love broken, we’re broken too!  We get hurt, and we hurt others too.

Pink wants to learn how to love again.  I do too.  “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)

We are broken, but there is One who is not broken, and he gave himself on the cross in order to restore us.  Christ has done what was necessary to straighten us out and heal our scarred and wounded hearts.  In this life, we continue to be bent, although God is making us straighter.  He’s not finished with us yet – we won’t be complete until we’re in God’s very presence, where we will be presented holy and blameless before the throne (Col. 1:21-22).

We can learn to love again, but we need to confess that we are bent and broken.  Most people know this, even if they won’t admit it as clearly as Pink does.  But confessing this isn’t enough, we need to confess that Christ is Lord, that he rose from the dead in victory over sin and death in order to destroy the work of the devil (Rom. 10:9; 1 John 3:8).  This alone brings hope and peace for the broken like you and me.  May God graciously open hearts and minds to your students (and to Pink, too!) to this amazing message of Good News.

Mike McGarry is the Director of Youth Pastor Theologian, has served as a Youth Pastor for 18 years in Massachusetts, and has two youth group aged kids at home. He earned his D.Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has published three books – most recently, “Discover: Questioning Your Way to Faith.” Mike is committed to training youth workers to think biblically about what youth ministry is and to training them to teach theologically with confidence. You can connect with him on social media @youththeologian.

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