by Sam Kim
The Bible clearly teaches us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness and not our strength. Paul posits in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Ironically, this seems to go against not only our natural inclination, but that of our churches as well. What is usually honored in Christian spirituality is continuity apart from polarity, an obsessive form of meticulousness that leaves little room for ambiguity.
However, not only is this unbiblical, but it is also far removed from reality. Life is full of opacity and messiness. It is naive to believe you can divorce one from the other.
The good news of the gospel is the fact that Jesus came for those who are sick, sinful, and broken, not those who are healthy, moral, or whole. The latter creates a culture of isolation, deception, and manipulation, but the former emancipates us from the Christian game of perception and liberates us to live in authentic community, truth, and sincere love.
The late Henri Nouwen once posited:
As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their right place.
We’ve got to remember that the church is called to be an ER for the sick, and not a fashion show for the moral elite.
I deeply believe we can all contribute in some way to make this a reality again, for a world desperately in need of grace.
First, let’s work to confess our struggles to one another rather than trying to hide them.
This is not only biblical, but also foundational in creating a culture of grace. Yes, it will hurt our pride, but that is exactly why we should do it. It will bring light into the darkness and, with it, healing and restoration into our lives and others. Some call this revival or transformation; others call it something else. Whatever the etymology, it is a God thing and that is always good.
Second, let’s work to make Jesus the one and only hero of the Church.
There is a subtle, yet pervasive narrative influencing the Church today, and it is directly responsible for grace continually falling by the wayside. This narrative is perpetuated by most of us photo-shopping our brokenness so we don’t look too bad. As the selfie generation, we’ve become experts at editing our sins. We don’t realize that when we euphemize our sins, we greatly diminish the glory of the cross and the one who once hung there.
This is precisely why the Apostle Paul says that “he boasts all the more gladly about his weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on him.”
Beggars can’t be choosers, but it would seem we have too many of us who are pretending to be rich when we’re clearly poor and broke. When we boldly boast in our weaknesses, we eliminate any ambiguity to who the actual hero is in our story. #Jesus
Yes, this is easier said than done, but the truth is humility never once felt good to me or anyone else. Humility is in fact poisonous to our pride and lust for control, but it is also the very place where God’s grace begins to take its stride.
Perhaps this is a tough pill to swallow, but revival at the cost of our pride seems like a spectacular win/win for the Church, the Kingdom of God, and the world.
- How difficult is it for you to sincerely communicate (confess) your humanity (struggles) to others?
- How do you think the degree of your vulnerability impacts your gospel communication and representation in leading more to Jesus?
Sam Kim (@drsammykim) is founder of 180 Church NYC, a community joining God to restore the beauty in all things. He teaches and writes about culture, preaching, and evangelism in various contexts. He is husband to Lydia, dad to Nathan and Josh, and best-friends with his dog, Brownie. Learn more at samdkim.com