Boast of Weakness

For a number of weeks now, maybe even a good month or so, I have been spending sometime reflecting on the Bible verse

but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

The reason being why I have been praying on it also is because there is something in watching another person boast that sets me in a path of fury like none other. Don’t other people care about how they hurt others? It has taken some time but I think I have pinpointed reasons why this verse bothers me and quite honestly I think this journey will help us all.

Boast all you want about the riches of the world as long as it is not boasting of sin.

Seeing someone boast of weakness first off has myself noticing and likely you noticing the ways that we may be weak or pass judgements on other people’s weakness. Both of which if not framed correctly bring out the worst in trying to look on the bright side. Think acceptance of others mixed with a burned out empathy and eventually maybe an indifference to sin, cause that would be easier. Others seem to have joy in being able to say “me too”. There is even a whole movement around it. Yet, who wants to be the me too, like everyone else? I want my actions to be better than that weakness and overcome it as a stumbling block with God’s help and grace. After all, we are called to be a unique saint.

Boasting in weakness sounds like an oxymoron. I think it is because usually in weakness we (or I) would use it as a shaming stumbling block. Often times when people talk of their weakness and are joyful about it, it seems like they are celebrating sin. That is why I have an issue with the Bible verse because I do not think we generally make the destination between sin and weakness. I think with sin we are to have some level of guilt not boastfulness.

Berne Brown has one of the best informational video’s I have seen on shame. The following video is the one I used to help in my reflection. Berne Brown shame shields explains how we usually deal with weakness.

First off shame is feed by secrecy, silence and judgement. Shame given those things will grow more shame. By saying things like “Don’t bring it up again.” Or “Don’t believe…” will likely feed shame. How is that type of response suppose to be helpful? To anyone?

I think it should be noted that there is a scale of shame. On one end there is extreme shame. Thinking that I am something bad. Think of this as internal name calling. The next on the scale is guilt. I did something bad. You mull over how terrible this bad thing is. Next on the scale is humiliation. This is thinking I do not deserve this. I am the victim here. Last on the scale is just embarrassment. That is where you know you are not alone. You just don’t like the situation you find yourself in. At this point, it can even be funny, eventually. Maybe even boastful of Christ’s strength within the weakness.

That framework of shame is interesting as it relates to the times we go to confession. The worst confessions tend to have the strongest belief of shame to them. Those are the confessions when we walk out feeling still yet un-helped, un-graced, still stuck in belief of our own awfulness. Despite intellectually knowing that we are loved by God it may not feel that way. I know people who are stuck in shame constantly when they come up against a weakness and that is not a good place to be.

  • In the video Berne Brown stated that we generally do three things to shield us from shame.
  • 1. Ignore and secret keep. Disappearing from the scene. Deciding to avoid situations. Never talking about it. Never getting to the root problem. Just deciding to go to our grave with what we know in order to keep a type of peace.
  • 2. Fight against shame by being a people pleaser. This is when people give insincere compliments. A person tries to control the situation by saying nice things. This later makes others feel more shame because you actually truthfully did not believe the positive thought about that person.
  • 3. Moving against shame is to use shame to shame others. The pain would be dealt with by blaming someone else or defending what was done, even if what was done was wrong. Hoarding jealousy of another or feeding into jealousy. Discrediting another person by making fun of them, bringing to the surface another’s sin, all in trying to make ourselves look better. Igniting the phone tree of friends about the awfulness of a person as being worse than our own self. Spreading lies of others to make ourself look “better”. Not talking to the right person who can actually solve the situation.
  • All these actions which feeds into a sense of insecurity, lack of love, and lack of generosity. As I think back to situations that caused some similar level of discomfort, I can see over time one situation may take on many of the poor coping mechanisms. Which is not holiness that we are all called to.
  • Causing shame and than having people fight against shame is an emotionally abusive and spiritually destructive thing to do to people. Emotionally manipulating others to do what you like is not necessarily healthy spiritual direction. Either is acting in a play, or imposing on one’s well being especially without just cause. Sometimes various trickery is used, malicious intent, and even scandalized leadership. Perhaps that is just a list in ways hearts need purified in trust. God’s plan can not be to be ok with purposely hurting others. No matter who the other is. All apparent mistrust is done in the name of Jesus and for what? Something that was already had in the beginning, God’s grace. There is lots to work on to have our souls look good for heaven. Yes souls either look good for heaven or not and that is dependent on where your heart is centered. We are to love one another deeply because love covers a multitude of sin. God would never will spouses to be un-unified in knowledge and in action. Eventually, a realistic view is that any sin will be morally compromising of one’s vows.

    I think it is important to understand how very much we can all help another soul. As a matter of a fact, I was reflecting on skills that would be required to help the “most lost souls”. It is likely in expressing truth in weakness. Very much following and putting into practice this bible verse that has come to irritate me. Boasting of weakness expels shame from being in our lives. So a sincere heartfelt shout out of love to all my Sisters in Christ willing to share their truth with me and others on our walk in faith. May our lives have courage to respectfully reflect living for God above all else.

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