Vulnerability: it’s the universal condition for every human being regardless of our age or our circumstances. We don’t like to think about it but the truth is we are vulnerable every second to any number of potentially harmful or even devastating occurrences. Because of this, much of our lives revolves around attempting to at least limit our vulnerability. Everything from endless passwords to insurance policies to locks on doors are all attempts to at least limit our vulnerability.
Because of the discomfort vulnerability brings us, we tend to admire invulnerability. Our super heroes all have near invulnerability and were it not so impossible we would like to have at least some of their powers. We might even secretly think at times, how wonderful it might be to be indestructible, to walk through life utterly fearless. We tend to view an all powerful invulnerable existence as a superior one, but is it really?
Would not even an all powerful indestructible being, be inferior, if it did not possess the capacity to love? Would not a truly superior being possess all of the finest human capacities at the highest level of development? If this be so, would anyone dispute the human capacity to love, as being the highest and finest of all our capacities?
Now here is what we know, to love anything requires being vulnerable. The very nature of love makes one extremely vulnerable. So might this mean that invulnerability cannot exist among highly developed beings?
Let’s go further and ask, might the supreme being who is in one sense Indestructible, in another sense be the most vulnerable person in existence? Does this mean that love and the necessary vulnerability it requires must always bring pain? Well yes and no. In our present world where there is such a thing as evil, vulnerability and the inevitability of eventually experiencing pain is an unfortunate reality.
However this would not be true in a realm where evil did not exist. In such a realm vulnerability would only increase intimacy and joy. We all know to some degree the experience of feeling safe and loved by some people. We can be vulnerable with them and they with us and it deepens our intimacy and relational joy. We cherish these relationships and count them amongst the very best experiences that life offers. Some of us have enjoyed this kind of experience in a larger community, maybe a support group or something like it and again we count it amongst life’s best experiences. We know that the more we can immerse our lives in these kind of relationships the greater is our joy.
But even in the safest relationships or community things happen and hurts occur and the more vulnerable we are the deeper the hurt. So we find ourselves wondering at times is it worth it . Maybe being closed, hidden, as invulnerable as possible and as beyond the reach of being hurt as possible, is wiser? We know there are and have always been people who despise vulnerability for these very reasons and who believe power, control invulnerability are the virtues to pursue. They accept life as the survival of the fittest and cynically mock talk of vulnerability and intimacy. These people consider “ might “ as the only, “ right “ and weakness of any kind the greatest evil. Such people have lost their souls, they are no longer fully human and alive, albeit they never know it.
The Bible says that the Creator and Sustainer of all existence completely revealed Himself in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ . This means the almighty Creator is the most loving and therefore most vulnerable person in existence and because of that the safest person we could ever know. This means Almighty sacrificial loving vulnerability is the most powerful force in existence and Christ offers it freely to each of us. After all it is the only path possible to truly win over, the entire devoted allegiance of a human heart. So when it comes to vulnerability, Christ reveals it, we fear it, love requires it, evil despises it, community thrives on it and society aches for it.
I hope you will consider joining with me at fcfchurch.com or on fcfchurch Facebook for 6 Sunday mornings starting on Easter Sunday, April 4 and we can explore each of my six statements about vulnerability in the opening sentence of this paragraph.