Friday, June 7, 2013

Being Vulnerable

This post is part of Junes Synchroblog about ordinary courage.
Other participating bloggers will be listed at the end of this blog.

To understand what courage and vulnerability mean I strongly recommend that you watch Brene Browns Tedtalk here.

The dictionary meaning of vulnerable is, in one word, 'unprotected'.
But Christians are never unprotected.

Ps 125:2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds his people...

John 17:15 My prayer is not that you may take them out of this world but that you may protect them from the evil one.

Ps 37:28 The Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They are protected forever.

So, as Christians, the word vulnerable takes on a more positive meaning. It means to be open, honest, the 'real deal', not afraid to tell it like it is, genuine and authentic.
It's the opposite of 'fake'.

Prov 12:17 says 'A truthful witness gives honest testimony.'

So why does secular society so often see the church as not genuine, unloving and having a hidden agenda.

There are three reasons that come to mind.

1. We're not Wholehearted.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other... 
Rev 3:15

Jesus wants our whole heart so that we can be wholehearted.
Half heartedness turns people off. Wholeheartedness turns people on because it demonstrates passion and passion draws people in.
It's like when you haven't seen your best friend for a year and when you do you give them a massive bear hug. They know they're loved. That's what wholeheartedness does. It shows people they're loved.

By this all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35 

2. We perceive that God loves us less when we make mistakes.

Perfect love casts out all fear. 1John 4:18

We often fall back to living under the secular definition of being 'unprotected'. We fear making mistakes and in doing so we never make anything. Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations.
We can only do that effectively through knowing we're protected and knowing who we are in Christ and, as a result, we cast off fear and replace it with authenticity.

3. We fear being authentic because we don't want the 'world' to see our 'worldliness'.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness 1John 1:9

We fear that if people see the real us they will be turned off christianity. In reality the opposite is true. When people see our genuiness it creates connection. Without genuiness we end up pretending to be something we're not.
It happens within the church as well. We want to look good to those in our church communities. But we're afraid that if they find out you're a Harry Potter fan or you've read 'Fifty shades of grey' they'll think less of you.
But the opposite should be true, especially within the church. Genuiness and openness creates connection.
And, used correctly, that connection can be used to bring correction when necessary.
Without authenticity in our church communities sin can creep in and destroy relationships.
There have been many church leaders who have publicly 'fallen' because there wasn't an authentic connection within the members of that community.
The fear of being vulnerable can be used to hide sin in our lives.

In her Tedtalk Brene Brown states 'Vulnerability is the birthplace of love'.
Love is the core of Christianity. God is love. It's the core of His being.
To show His love to this world we have to be real.

If we are not the 'real deal', how will the world know that God is?

Here's the list of other participating bloggers this month.

This Is Courage by Jen Bradbury
Being Vulnerable by Phil Lancaster
Moving Forward Takes Courage by Paul W. Meier
How to Become a Flasher by Glenn Hager
Ordinary Courage by Elaine Hansen
Courage, Hope, Generosity by Carol Kuniholm
The Courage to Fail by Wendy McCaig
The Greatest Act of Courage by Jeremy Myers
Sharing One’s Heart by K. W. Leslie
All I See Is Rocks by Tim Nichols
What is Ordinary Courage? by Jennifer Stahl
Loving Courageously by Doreen A. Mannion
Heart Cry: The Courage to Confess by Elizabeth Chapin
It’s What We Teach by Margaret Boelman


Carol Kuniholm said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post. I find myself wondering about the roots of my own, and others', self-protectiveness, and am intrigued by your thoughts on that. I think you're right on all three - but I also wonder if wounds we carry from the past might be part of our difficulty being vulnerable. In any case, much to think about here!

Jeremy Myers said...

Great post. I love the reminder that God will not love us less when we make mistakes. I wish more people could hear this amazing message and see the God of love revealed in Jesus Christ!