THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

A pastor friend was told that the marriage was over unless he did something soon. He listened, got help, and their marriage is stronger than ever. His vulnerability by going public in an article helped struggling couples.

Leif Hetlund said at a conference that he was addicted to opium for years because of back pain. Leaders who show vulnerability tell us normal folk we don’t need to hide. He leveled the playing field.

Dan spoke about joy to our young adults. He wanted joy not conditioned by circumstances but said he wasn’t there. That helped others acknowledge their lack. Vulnerability releases grace.

My son wrote his siblings confessing that he fell short in being a grace-oriented elder brother. His younger brother, with whom he had experienced some tension, wrote two weeks later exposing his failures. Parents hope for such honesty among children. What a gift to give to a family—or a spouse!

Vulnerability releases vulnerability, that heals relationships and upgrades love. “When we walk in the light…we have fellowship with one another” (I John 1:7).

I asked my children to share with me where I had failed them as a father. They didn’t wait ten seconds. I reacted inside but managed to keep quiet. More hard responses came (ouch!) that led to healing.

Vulnerable: L. vulnerare, to wound, from vulnus, a wound. 1. That which can be wounded. 2. open to criticism or attack.

Beverly told Jerry he was putting in too many hours and not spending enough time with the children. Jerry had just heard a sermon about humbling ones self, but instead fired back: “I work hard to provide for the family. Why are you so critical?” Beverly closed down and kept her misery inside.

Craig risked telling his boss about the working conditions, the short lunch, and the absence of breaks, saying change could improve employee satisfaction. He was sure Martin would appreciate the recommendation. Instead, he cut Craig’s hours and told him he was a whiner. A different response would have increased his bottom line.

Kerry appreciates his wife and lets her know often. When he told her recently that he wondered if she maybe talked on the phone just a little too much, she blew—and got on the phone to tell her mom about her mean husband. Defensiveness destroys relationships.

The captain told the coach that maybe they were losing games because of tension between players. The coach fought back a trigger defense and asked for more information. A meeting with the team aired some differences and improved their record dramatically.

Vulnerability goes low, accepts criticism, acknowledges weakness, overcomes pride, encourages people to be themselves. Pharisees can’t do it because they are hiding. So are many leaders, bosses and spouses. Not Paul: “I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling” (I Cor.2:3). Vulnerability is not cheap psychology; it is central to the gospel of God!

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor.12:9,10). When people are vulnerabile, God turns weakness into strength. Not a bad exchange.

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