Brokenness and Human Worth

In the eighth volume of the Black Butler manga, we encounter a tale where Ciel and Sebastian try to stop a maniac who has been kidnapping children, starving them, and using their bodies as a means of making artificial limbs for others. There were numerous children in cages being used as tools no longer as people. The pure evil on display was horrific and while stopped by Ciel and Sebastian, as Ciel left the mansion of the murderers, he called upon Sebastian to use his demonic powers to destroy it. The children were still trapped inside.

Later, Sebastian asks Ciel why he was willing to let those children die. Ciel said, “I have seen children like that before, many of them. Once they get to be that way there is no bringing them back. And in that case, they are better off dead.” Ciel is saying they are broken, too far gone, and not worthy of saving. Is he right? The short answer is clearly, no.

These children were in a state of brokenness. They were abused, kept in cages like wild animals, and eventually would be led to the slaughter. The Lord can and does come to us in our brokenness (Psalm 34:18). Christ called out those who were in states of brokenness in the Beatitudes as being blessed by the Lord (Matthew 5:2-6). They may not feel it in their current state, but the Lord can save them from their current state. As Christ said in John 16:33, He has overcome the world even in our suffering. At GotQuestions.org they wrote extensively on brokenness from a Biblical perspective, but an apt quote from the article which fits in with our discussion of Black Butler is as follows:

To us, broken things are despised as worthless, but God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory. Broken things and broken people are the result of sin. Yet God sent his Son, who was without sin, to be broken so that we might be healed. On the night before He died, Jesus broke the bread and said, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” He went all the way to Calvary to die so that we can live. His death has made it possible for broken, sinful humanity to be reconciled to God and be healed. Without the broken body of Jesus, we could not be made whole. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Only when we surrender to Christ can we be restored and transformed. Such surrender requires a brokenness on our part (Luke 9:23). Romans 6:1-14 describes how believers become dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.

We are all broken, every one of us. But in Christ, we are all remade, reborn, and repaired. Christ could save these people. Christ could save these children, the weakest among us, from the evil which tormented their souls. We see examples of broken people being used by the Lord for powerful works. We see Paul, who helped murder early Christians and persecute the church being used to spread the Gospel among the Gentiles and wrote 13 letters which comprise our current Bible. We see Moses who murdered an Egyptian in cold blood and hid the body, later being used to free the Israelites from bondage and into the promised land. We see David’s brokenness as he willingly commits adultery and murders the woman’s husband, being used to preserve God’s people and continue to serve as one of their greatest Kings. We see Job’s brokenness and his faithfulness on display throughout the pages of the book of Job.

We see it outside the Bible too. We see Augustine of Hippo, who was a Manichaean who lived a hedonistic lifestyle before coming to Christ and being saved from himself. We see Chuck Colson, who’s evil in government was massive come to know Christ in prison and was completely changed. You see it in the story of Oshea Israel, who was saved by grace after murdering a boy at 16 – the reflection of Christ coming from the forgiveness of that boy’s mother was a powerful force in his life. We see if in Kelly Putty who was saved by Christ and came to forgive those who raped her. You see it when Katja Rosenberg (who may not be a Christian) is willing to walk into a prison and meet her rapist face to face in order to forgive them. Christ can repair our brokenness if we let Him. He can and will save us from ourselves, and from what the world tries to do to us.

But beyond the fact that these children were broken, they should not have been killed. These children are image bearers of God created by an almighty God who loves them (Psalm 139:13-16). While the wages of sin is death, it is not Ciel’s responsibility to enact that on these children. The Lord calls us specifically to not murder (Exodus 20:13). Ciel took their life using Sebastian as the tool to do so. He murdered them. How is this loving to his neighbor? How is taking the lives of these children loving to their plight? How is it loving to their families who now have lost their children again – first in kidnapping, now in death. Ciel’s moves were calculated, harsh, and unfeeling. He did not care, he felt they were better off dead. They were not; we are not better off dead, despite what the world tries to tell us.

Moses got to the point where he could take it no more, the burden of leading the Israelites was too much – he wanted God to kill him. God said no, and God made a way to help him out (Numbers 11:11-17). Elijah asked God to kill him saying he was weak and ineffective. God said no, strengthened him physically, and provided him with support (1 Kings 19:1-18). Paul thought personally he did not need his life anymore, but realized the Lord could use him more powerfully alive (Philippians 1:23-25). God gave them a way out, He saved them, and He reminded them they were not better off dead – despite what they thought.

God never would want Ciel to murder children who have been abused. He would have wanted compassion. He would have wanted to save them. He would have been able to heal them of their brokenness through the amazing power of Jesus Christ. He does it every day and He can do it for you.

About the Author

Matthew Newman
Matthew Newman is an environmental engineer (Professionally licensed in Maryland). He’s also a husband, beard aficionado, Dad of four beautiful children, blogger, and all around geeky guy from Baltimore County. When he’s not chasing his kids or working, he’s probably asleep.

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