I was recently talking to a friend about being vulnerable. Or, rather, not being vulnerable. It’s no secret that I’m not good at it. I hide my past, my pain, my failures, my shame, and my fears. I hide them until I can make them pretty and polished enough to post on this blog. Until they’re no longer ugly and sensitive, but scarred over and complete with a bow, ready to be presented to anyone who will pay attention.
I was given a challenge by my friend – Next time I write in my journal, share it. With no edits, just raw and vulnerable truth.
No, I’m not sharing it here. I think there’s a limit to what I should post online. But, I will say this: there was something freeing about sharing with another human the vulnerabilities of my every day thoughts, without censoring myself at all.
They aren’t exciting journal entries. Really, it sounds something like this: “I’m sorry, God, that I’m not good at talking to you or listening to you and I often operate out of fear and not love.” Honestly, it wasn’t even one of my deeper, more vulnerable entries, but it was still one I hadn’t prepared to share.
I don’t share until it’s safe. Until I can make my failures look like successes.
But I am a failure. In every aspect of life, I crash and burn. I fail. I sin. I break. Who doesn’t? It’s the nature of humans, and yet we are constantly trying to erase this truth, trying to pretend that it doesn’t apply to us.
I don’t know how to be a success. Even in my success, I become a failure, because I’ll get too proud of myself and begin thinking too highly of who I am. You know the thought, (I hope) “Wow, I’m so much better than who I was two years ago. What that pastor just said no longer applies to me.” When, in reality, I’m still just as sinful and broken as I was two or three years ago. I’m still in desperate need of the Savior and His faithful mercy and redemption.
Why are we constantly trying to seem perfect, put together, and righteous? Yes, to be like Jesus is our goal, but we can never accomplish this goal. That’s why we need the sacrifice of Jesus so desperately. When we think we don’t need God it’s because we think we can be God. And I don’t know about you, but life would be infinitely more of a disaster if I had even a teaspoon of the amount of power the Lord has.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
To be like Jesus, that’s the goal? What does this truly look like? He was perfect, but He also allowed Himself to be broken. To be put to death.
Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The Lord literally weakened Himself, let Himself be wounded, so we may be saved. He was still perfect and holy and righteous, that’s what made His sacrifice so life-giving, but He did not try to make himself equal God. He stripped himself of His equality and became like us, broken creatures in desperate need of His sacrificial love.
Jesus saved us, healed us, and redeemed us through His wounds. Through His death.
Why would we ever want to be like the men and women in the bible? Take a look at the “Hall of Faith.” Abraham, Jacob, Solomon, David, even Paul. How often are we told to trust like Abraham, be persistent like Jacob, wise like Solomon, lead like David, and live and teach like Paul? While yes, they all did amazing things for the Lord and are great examples, what is the real truth of who they were?
Broken, sinful men. Abraham laughed at God (Genesis 17:17; 18:10-12) and lied about his wife being his sister (Genesis 20:12-13). Jacob tricked his father, Isaac, and stole his brother, Essau’s, birth right (Genesis 27). Solomon had hundreds of wives, brought false gods into the temples, and built up armies and slaves (1 Kings). David lusted after and took Bathsheba (arguably against her will) and had her husband killed in battle to cover up his sin (2 Samual 11). And Paul, who wrote most of the new testament, including the two things I quoted above, persecuted and killed hundreds of Christians (Act 8:3, among other verses).
Each one of these men did things we can learn from and followed God, but they also did horribly sinful things. They were broken and wounded. The only man in the bible, and in history, who wasn’t sinful was Jesus Himself.
We heal best through our wounds. We connect with other broken humans by sharing in our brokenness, in our need for the Savior.
We make whole through brokenness. Jesus gives us life through His death.
We defend through vulnerability.
God will consistently use your weakness far more than he will use your strengths. He’s more concerned with your failures than your victories.
Be a failure. Live in the knowledge of your brokenness. Let that be your testimony.
Because that’s what makes the sacrifice of the Lord so beautiful.