By Pastor Jonathan Kollmann
2 Corinthians 12:9
“but he (God) said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’”
I don’t know about you but I tend to not boast too often about my weaknesses. In our culture we tend to mask our weaknesses. We can even walk into this church on a Sunday morning, in pain feeling weak in our faith, “sin sick” because of shortcomings and a sense that we are far from God.
A certain older woman was trying to impress the guests at a party. “My family’s ancestry is very old,” she boasted. “It dates back to the days of Alexander the Great.” Then, turning to a young lady standing quietly at her side, she asked condescendingly: “And how old is your family, my dear?”
The younger woman smiled and quietly came back, “Well, I can’t really say. All of our family records were lost in the Flood.”
What is it about human nature that makes us want to boast? We all do it. We all get together and somebody tells a story and pretty soon we all start playing that little game of one-up-man-ship. We may not do it very often but we all succumb to boasting from time to time. So, let’s look at what the Apostle Paul says about boasting from 2 Corinthians chapter 12, “On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”
That is so counter to what we see and hear from society isn’t it? We’re told we have to be strong, “suck it up,” don’t cry, and self-reliant! Yet Paul promotes a completely different message. This is counter culture message. It goes against everything we’ve been taught. Everything that Hollywood and Fifth Avenue have been feeding us for years. Paul says God isn’t interested in our strength or our self-reliant ways. God is only interested in our weakness. Paul says: “We are made perfect in our weakness. For whenever we are weak then we are strong.”
Do you know the church thrived when people confessed their short comings? In fact, when people “get real” in community it helped people become authentic and true to who they are in God’s eyes. Because I have heard it said, “We all have junk in the trunk!” I enjoy Crossroads Church’s ministry to Cincinnati. On their website they give a detailed description of seven hills people die on. Meaning, they believe there are biblical truths that guide their life of ministry as a community of faith. The first is AUTHENICITY. Here is what it states, “We believe we can’t be what God has called us to be if we play games with each other. Whether it’s what happens on stage, within our smaller communities, in serving teams or in our homes, we need to be able to share our faults and weaknesses and not fake it. That’s authenticity, just being real.”
What if we shared our struggles with each other? Not just prayer requests when we are sick or having surgery. But really shared our hurt, pain, doubt and even SIN with one another? I wonder what would happen? I believe people who are in pain would find that we are real and authentic. He also would have complete empathy and compassionate love. What do you think? I would like to hear!