Consider the Chickens, O Wounded!

A friend of mine recently began sharing with me some of the frustrations of raising chickens. She began talking about pecking order and the precautions that need to be taken to protect those birds lowest in pecking order. I couldn’t help but see the allegorical social similarities between chickens and kids in junior high. For those of you, like me, who were of the “lowest pecking order” amongst our peers in school, you will soon see that we need not stretch the imaginations far to see the lessons to be learned by observing a chicken coop.

Here is an excerpt from the website

Pecking at each other is normal chicken behavior. It’s probably the most used form of communication amongst a flock. Sometimes when a chicken is molting, it will have bald spots. Normal pecking will often result in a wound. The chickens doing the pecking don’t necessarily aim for the bald spot, it just happens.

But when chickens draw blood, they go a little berserk. For some reason, blood sends everyone into a frenzy, and they further attack the already-wounded animal. The more blood there is, the more they attack; and most often, this will end in death for the wounded animal.

Sometimes, I will have a chicken that just gets picked upon constantly. She’s most likely towards the bottom of the pecking order. If she has wounds, I’ll be more likely to remove her from the flock and put her in our chicken infirmary until her wounds are completely healed. If she is molting, I’ll keep her until she is fully feathered again.

We touched on this last week, but it bears repeating; when a chicken has been removed from the flock, it will lose its place in the pecking order and be treated as a newcomer. Newcomers are treated terribly by the existing flock and must prove themselves if they are to be anywhere but the bottom of the pecking order.

For this reason, it’s important that you always introduce, or reintroduce, chickens to an existing flock in groups of 2 or more so that they get a break from the harassment until the new pecking order is established. It is also important that newbies are in top condition with no bald spots or wounds before being brought back to the coop.

At Agape First Ministries, we talk a lot about how the Church has both wittingly and unwittingly mishandled, hurt, damaged, and in some cases even downright rejected or driven off, same-sex attracted individuals and those coming out of the LGBTQ lifestyle. People who are searching for community—safety, love, acceptance—family.

I wonder if there is something to be learned here? By removing these individuals from the flock (the larger church body/megachurch lobbies and gatherings), bringing them into a soul infirmary (one-on-one personal discipleship and relationship building), and then introducing them back into the Church coop with “2 or more” gathered around them (think in terms of Aaron and Hur, holding Moses’ arms up throughout the battle).

In God’s economy, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. If this isn’t a verse about pecking order, I don’t know what is! This verse shows us that when Jesus walks into the Christian Coop (aka the Church), He searches out those lowest in the pecking order, He gently picks them up, and holds them in His arms—safe from the frenzy of clucking and pecking—heals their wounds and sets them back on their feet. He is also there to watch over that fledgling, newly healed bird, ensuring that they move up the pecking order from last to first.

I have seen Him do this in my own life. How beautiful that He has baked this process into observable creation—in a chicken coop, of all places! Solomon once said, “Consider the ant, O sluggard!” To which I say, “Consider the chickens, O wounded!” And to the Church I say, WHO are you in this scenario? The loving farmer, tending to His much-loved bruised little birdie…or one of the chickens with the smell of some wounded bird’s blood filling your nostrils?

Truth be told, I believe we have all been on both sides of the beak. The good news is, there is hope and healing for all of us. 

Beautifully Broken

Kintsugi (which translates to English as, “golden joinery”) is a Japanese art form which employs lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum to repair broken or cracked pottery.

This is likely a foreign concept to our modern Walmart worldview of, “meh, just buy a new one!” But kintsugi is so much more than some ancient superglue secret—it is a deeply philosophical psychology of self-identity.

According to the “Traditional Kyoto” website, kintsugi is a philosophy which, “…treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”  In other words, in the same way that great, great-great grandma Sarah’s butter dish is worthy of repair because it holds the memories of four-to-five generations of family history; likewise, our heart, once fractured, split, or cracked, hold a history, a bevy of memories, a voice, a past, a story, and most of all, it holds value.

I remember about a decade ago, driving alone in my car blasting a Pantera song on my car stereo, hitting repeat over and over again, singing with the clanging, clashing, discordant heavy metal tune with all the passion of a Scottish regiment warrior marching into battle. The song, ugly as it was, had become my anthem.

Look at me now
I’m broken!
Inherit my life
I’m broken!

Over and over again, I vocal fried those words from the depths of a hollow pit where I sat in silence with a soul long covered with cobwebs, preferring the darkness to the exposure of light…because where light was…there were people; and where people were, there was PAIN.

I cringe now looking back on that season in my life because I was playing right into the Adversary’s hand. God was telling me through His Word that I was knit together in my mother’s womb, and that while I was there, being fearfully and wonderfully made, HE was there with me! Those 9 months of gestation, I was in the very heart of where I strive every single day in a prayer closet to find myself again—in His presence. Safe. Surrounded by love and perfect shalom.

But the Adversary wants us to forget all that. He doesn’t want us to know who we are. He wants us to believe we are rotten, ugly, worthless, unlovable, unforgivable. So, he stirs up our mind and our heart and our emotions until we are whipped up in a frenzy, screaming, “I’m broken!” on the top of our lungs—thinking in some distorted way that some heavy metal singer has more insight into our hearts than our own Creator.

That’s where kintsugi comes in. This golden joinery isn’t just some smelly tube of super glue—but the filling in of the cracks with something precious—something of value. Lots of kintsugi pottery is done with 24K gold, making in many cases, the cracks the most valuable part of the pottery.

I used to look in the mirror and all I could see were the scars. The scars represented pain, trauma, surgeries, being bullied, rejection, heartache, shame. If only these scars weren’t on my face! I spent decades in that mindset, until I learned about kintsugi. As I was listening to it being explained, and photos of golden cracked pottery were being shown, the Holy Spirit flashed a picture in my mind. It was a picture of my face, with a 24K gold scar running across my forehead and down my reconstructed nose. That was the first time I saw my face through His eyes. I saw the design. The intentionality. And the beauty of my scars.

But the scars on my face were only half the battle. My heart was pretty battle scarred too. That’s the long part of the journey—digging to the deepest dregs of our despair and handing the crumbling pieces over to Jesus. When I began my healing process, I remember not wanting to unlock the soul cellar and show Jesus all the smelly, rat-infested, moldy memories of my hurt and pain. I was ashamed of these memories, but Jesus wasn’t. Remember, this is the guy who touched dead bodies and lepers, and He didn’t get sick, they got well!

As I handed each sorrow over to him, one by one, instead of plugging His nose or sending it flying into a trash bag, I saw in my mind, Jesus gently taking each hurt and placing it in a curio cabinet. After everything was displayed in the cabinet, through the Light of His love, the once ugly memories took on a certain look of beauty—as does anything once viewed through the lenses of His glory rather than our pain. Then, He took a key and locked the cabinet and put the key in His pocket. The memories were now treasures, and they were no longer mine, but His; and they were safe from being manhandled or further broken by those who did not know their value.

Jesus also reminded me that day that He has some scars too—on His head on and on His side. And after His resurrection, one of the first things He did was appear to His disciples to proudly show off those scars. Those scars bore a testimony. Thomas didn’t believe Jesus had risen. But he believed the scars. Do you see that? Thomas didn’t believe JESUS, but he believed the scars! So also do our scars bear testimony of what we have been through, and WHO got us through it.

Have YOU been broken, cracked, or shattered? Jesus wants ALL of you—and He wants THOSE parts of you too. He wants to fill those cracks with pure gold. He wants to make your brokenness part of your story. Part of your value. Part of your joy. The Adversary is telling you that you are broken; but your Savior is telling you that you are beautifully broken.


“God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas; but for scars.”
― Elbert Hubbard