As a kid, growing into my teen years I just wanted to not “suck.” You know, when everyone is playing sports at recess and they start picking teams and the buddy of the captain says, “Don’t pick him. He sucks.” The horror of hearing those words towards you were soul crushing.
Even as a kid we want to be seen as strong, smart, funny, one of the “better ones.” We will do everything we can to not be seen as boring, lame, weak, weird, a bad athlete, etc.
You would think people would grow out of that as adults, but it really doesn’t happen. We typically accept that there are things we are better at the others and more readily admit that we can’t shoot a basketball and like to read more than catch a ball. What we don’t grow out of it still trying to not appear to “suck.” We want to paint the best picture we possibly can of ourselves, our families. We cover up our faults and draw attention to our accomplishments.
We do this despite knowing that literally everyone, save Jesus, struggles terribly. We all have serious faults, weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures. It is a reality we all live with and know that everyone lives with it, but we go through our existence hiding and in fear. What if they see me, I mean see me? What if they discover my shame, my shortcomings, my weakness, my brokenness?
Good news, people… The gospel of Jesus is only for those who suck. Not only is it for those who suck, but it frees us to suck while at the same time slowly growing us from one degree of glory to another into the image of Jesus himself.
God desires the tax collector, not the Pharisee. God didn’t wait for us to better ourselves, Romans 5:6, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus stepped into the brokenness, not in spite of the brokenness, but because of it. God pursues sinners for their very reason of restoring their brokenness. God doesn’t ask us to get rid of our brokenness, he says confess it and let me take over.
The gospel is for those who suck. It frees us from fear of not being “good enough.” The gospel says, “Yeah, you aren’t. But Jesus is and he lived a perfect life and took of our sin for us through the cross and resurrection.”
If that’s true, which it is… Why are we so scared about being vulnerable about our weaknesses, shortcomings, faults, and brokenness? Sadly, the only thing that really addresses those things are what many of us are so scared of doing: confessing them to the Lord and bringing them before a group of people who can encourage, speak truth into, comfort, and even challenge.
Our world, our churches, our families could all use more courageous vulnerability.
1 Corinthians 12: 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The Apostle Paul had what he only describes as a “thorn in his flesh.” What God tells him ought to deeply comfort the soul of every person. His grace is sufficient for us. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. How does Paul respond to this? He boasts all the more gladly of his weakness. He doesn’t cower, hide, lie about its reality, no. Paul says, I am content with weaknesses. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul embodied courageous vulnerability. It might do us all some good if we did as well. Not just for ourselves, but for others. The gospel is for those who suck. No need to hide.