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.
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.