By Joel A. Hess –
A couple of weeks ago, my wife underwent an interview for a job at our local autism center. She came back a little flustered about a particular question. It was the classic question of a job interview. Do you have any weaknesses? She actually gave an honest answer! God bless her. Of course, that’s why I love her.
What would you have said? She asked.
Well, I wouldn’t tell them the truth! You say stuff like, “Sometimes I just work too hard” or “I spend too much time at my job and maybe not enough with my family.” You definitely don’t say, “Well, occasionally I’m tempted to steal from the company.”
In America, you definitely should never tell anyone your weaknesses, let alone brag about them!
I really hate being weak. I hide my weakness. I am embarrassed by my weakness. If people only knew my weaknesses, I certainly wouldn’t have as many friends. I might not get the job I want. My wife might look down on me. My kids wouldn’t look up to me. If only people knew how weak I am.
So I must hide it. If people only knew how weak I am. If people only knew what stupid things I have done, said, or thought. If people only knew the creep I am. Like anyone, I have to hide my weaknesses in order to survive.
Yet Paul says, “I will boast of my weaknesses!” and “When I am weak then I am strong!” That is totally counter-intuitive to every survival instinct I possess. And I don’t have a lot.
Paul learned this lesson well. He passive aggressively boasts in most of his letters about how awesome He was. He sounds like a child prodigy in the world of Judaism and Israel politics. He was a rising star. He was so zealous for God that he grew especially angry when people claimed that some weak state criminal, Jesus, was the Messiah. Impossible, Jesus was a loser!
Yet it was Paul who found himself completely helpless and weak as the risen Jesus blinded him and convicted him of his sin. Imagine discovering that the guy you hated was actually God. So there was Paul completely helpless as a guilty sinner and a blind fool.
So God lifted him up in forgiveness, Baptism, new and eternal life.
“I will boast of my weaknesses!” And he probably still brags about that moment today in heaven!
Jesus only came for weak people, ugly people, broken people, guilty people. Jesus only forgives sinners. He only raises the dead. He only baptizes babies. Christianity is only for weak people! Thank God.
Unlike the world, you don’t have to hide your weaknesses when you stand before God or His church. You don’t need to pretend to be someone else. You don’t have to put a mask of strength or perfection. You can be honest before God and His church. Not only that, you can even boast about your weaknesses. Not that they are good within themselves, but they are times when the wonderful power of God’s grace is the brightest and fullest!
In fact, our Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So when you come to church on Sunday and the Lord asks you “What are your weaknesses?” tell Him! Don’t be afraid. List them all. We can even say, “I’m a poor, miserable sinner!”