Dr. Brene’ Brown studied the essence of human relations from the perspective of a social worker. She discovered, much to her chagrin, that at the heart of relationships in vulnerability. Her research taught her that relationally successful people, labeled “wholehearted” people, have the common trait of being vulnerable to others in their relationship.
The world we live in teaches us that vulnerability is something to be avoided. We are taught to protect ourselves, don’t take risks, and avoid looking weak. These lessons are learned from infancy, and we learn them well. We avoid the sense of vulnerability like it’s the plague.
The problem is that deep relationships depend upon two people making themselves vulnerable to each other. This could explain much. Why don’t marriages last? It could be that our relationships are stunted because of our culturally learned unwillingness to allow ourselves to be sufficiently vulnerable with one another.
Further, this vulnerability issue is a problem for us Christians. Jesus calls us to voluntarily take on the posture of vulnerability.
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV)
Denying ourselves, carrying crosses, and losing our lives are images replete with a sense of vulnerability. Thereby, they are things, acculturated as we are, to be avoided.
Christ’s command to lose our lives is a command that He was willing to follow Himself. Jesus could have come as a king commanding thousands of troops. Jesus could have demanded the worship of the world. Instead, Jesus showed us the way. He showed us about vulnerability. Jesus laid down his life.
Jesus commands us to love one another. C.S. Lewis writes, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” Jesus commands us to be vulnerable in our relationships with people.
Please join me in striving to live according to Christ’s command to live counter culturally, to live vulnerably.