There’s great vulnerability in openness, especially the kind of openness urged by Paul to the Corinthians. They – and we – have been charged with opening our hearts not only to those whom we find easy to love, but to those with whom we have quarrels. Is there anyone more difficult to be vulnerable with than one we have a disagreement with?
Years ago I had a series of arguments with someone I found intolerable. When we finally had the opportunity to sit down and talk about it, I did something I regret to this day. When faced with the truth of an error I had made, instead of repenting, I decided to make a power play. I insisted that my way was right (even though I knew it wasn’t). As I persisted in my error calmly (and smugly), the other person became madder and madder. When she finally lost it, I knew I had won. I didn’t let her get the upper hand. I kept my cool and she lost her head. But the thing is I didn’t win at all. That conversation has haunted me to this day. In an effort to “win” I squandered a perfect opportunity to become vulnerable with someone I would call my enemy. What might have happened if I had let myself become vulnerable with someone I didn’t trust? Would we have reconciled? I’ll never know. But I do know that I lost a part of myself that day – the part that acts with integrity and honesty; the part that desires to follow in Jesus’ footsteps; the part that lets my heart be open at the scariest times. How I wish I could turn back the clock and do it over again! Thankfully, opportunities for vulnerability will continue to present themselves. I pray I have the courage to be open during the scary times and with the most challenging people. I have a feeling great surprises await the ones willing to take the risk.
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.