Resolved to Embrace Weakness by David Dunham

Gods-Power-In-Weakness-2-Corinthians-12 I am resolved to be more human in 2015. I am increasingly becoming more aware of the ways in which many people attempt to deny their humanity. We all experience our humanness in a diversity of ways, but common to all of us is the experience of weakness. We are prone to hate this feature of our existence, to suppress it, or dress it up. There is no escaping, however, this fundamental reality of our human existence in a broken world. As we enter upon that most famous seasons might I suggest that we remember this reality? The best New Year’s Resolutions you can make in 2015 is to embrace weakness. Resolutions tend to focus on self-improvement. We aim towards becoming better people through a greater commitment to physical, emotional, and relational health. There’s much to admire and appreciate about these goals. It is right to seek to be more disciplined, to eat healthy, and to laugh more. There’s nothing wrong with a desire to travel, to read those great American novels, or to write one. All such aspirations can be commended. Yet no amount of actualizing our greatest personal visions will bring us into a perfect life. Our world is broken and we, as part of this world, experience that brokenness both internally and externally. Perfection will never arrive in this life. Sorrow, suffering, disappointment, and failure are common to all men. As we enter the new year, we might as well accept this feature of existence. Embracing weakness should not be equated with despair and hopelessness. The obvious benefit of the New Year’s Resolution is its optimism. Such resolutions aim to motivate us to hope for a better year, a better life, a better us. Embracing weakness hardly compares in appeal. Such thoughts, however, derive from our preconceived notions of humanness. The common cultural perspective on the human experience has a real disdain for weakness. We expect the ever progressing person to become all that he or she hopes to become; the end goal of such becoming is nothing less than our perfect self. We avoid weakness because we think it cannot contribute to this goal. But weakness should not be so despised. Researcher Brené Brown has helpfully written about the important role that vulnerability plays in our lives. In Daring Greatly she writes about embracing weaknesses because they leads us to healing, to community, and more. “Vulnerability,” she says, “sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” There’s a reason it is never weakness to admit our weaknesses, because in so doing we are in a place to truly experience growth and community. “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance,” says Brown. We are freed in admitting our imperfection. Those reticent to embrace weakness will continue to put on a front. They will continue to fear real exposure and as a result will always keep genuine relationships at a distance. Embracing weaknesses allows us to walk into relationships without shame, without the fear of being found out. Brown adds, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” Brown has tapped into an important spiritual point here: we are strongest when we admit our weakness. This is exactly how the Apostle Paul speaks. He writes to the Corinthians, saying:

For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

Embracing weakness points us to strength because it makes room for Christ to work in and through us. We are not strong. We are human. Christ is strong! As we embrace weakness we acknowledge our need of him. We acknowledge our need of His community, His family – the church. Strength comes from weakness; the gospel itself testifies to this reality. The gospel is, after all, the strength of God in the weakness of the cross. Embrace weakness, friends, and find ourselves directed towards the strength that God provides. 2015 can be a better year for all of us. We can be genuinely more human this year than we were last year. That’s a good thing. Yes, our humanness is broken. It’s frail, feeble, and even sinful. Yet it is only as true humans that we can come to Christ. It is only as true humans that we can find real strength, for Jesus came to seek and to save those who are weak. It’s not the strong who need Jesus, but the weak. Embrace weakness; make it your New Year’s resolution.

David Dunham is an associate pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Roseville, Michigan. He is a graduate of Ohio University (BA) and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv).

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  1. […] instead of about the glory of God, you being to lose your joy and harm your people. Pastors must embrace their weaknesses and so allow the glory of God to shine through their ministry. The truth is the effectiveness of a […]

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