“Vulnerable love is a reflection of God’s heart, helping people love and be loved.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 19, 2021
The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:14-15 NLT
David, a good friend of mine, is a pastor. If I told you his full name, I very much doubt you’d recognize it. He isn’t a flashy guy, but he’s made a huge difference in the lives of countless people. For the last 20 years he’s been quietly and faithfully loving his flock and serving the people in his community. He’s made hospital visits, officiated at weddings and funerals, done counseling, preached, and taught classes. And he’s much loved by his people. Even when he’s suffering from his own personal pain, he’s always there for those who need him.
In John 10:14, Jesus described Himself as “the Good Shepherd” and said, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” What Jesus said about Himself is the perfect description of a great leader. Like Jesus, like my pastor friend David, a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
But not all shepherds are good—or even real shepherds. Some are wolves posing as shepherds, in it for what they can get out of it. Their focus isn’t on serving people but on career advancement. They’re the ones who run away at the first sign of trouble, never sticking around for the tough times. For them it’s all about self. But with every good shepherd, it’s all about others. And whether you’re the pastor of a church, the CEO of a business, the leader of a team, or serving your family, you can learn to better reflect God’s love through your availability and vulnerability. Vulnerable love is a reflection of God’s heart, helping people love and be loved.
We can show vulnerable love in three major ways:
Vulnerable love invests time
In fact, love can be spelled T-I-M-E. When someone is hurting, vulnerable leaders show up, shut up, and listen up. They aren’t in a rush to leave, and they stay present. Giving time to a person trapped in loneliness, for instance, is an investment of love that often flourishes into a deeper relationship. Reassuring words can soothe a soul, offer hope, and show love in a practical way. But this kind of vulnerability takes time. If you want to lead through love, you can’t just offer advice and rush out the door. You must invest the time that other person needs.
Vulnerable love earns trust
You can’t claim or demand trust; it must be earned; it must be built. When we break a promise, we erode trust. But when we follow through on a commitment, especially when that follow-through comes at a cost, we earn the respect of others and learn to respect ourselves. An attitude of faithfulness, even though we may fail from time to time, builds trust. Sometimes, telling the truth may feel irresponsible, too difficult, or not even very wise. But being honest means we can be trusted to be vulnerable, which means we can be relied on no matter which way the wind blows.
Vulnerable love offers truth
Let’s face it—sometimes people don’t seem ready to hear the truth about a challenging situation or about themselves. But truth offered from a heart of love can transform a situation or change a life. When truth is wrapped in love, it offers freedom and understanding. And if we tell people only what we think they want to hear, we’re doing them no favors. We leave them stunted in their growth and immature in their perspective. But truth offered in love can be a serum against selfishness, and it can help everyone involved become more like Jesus.
I like how Brené Brown describes the benefits of vulnerability: Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path. Brené Brown
Heavenly Father, grow my heart of humility to be vulnerable and trusting with you and others, through Christ’s love and in His name I pray, amen.
Watch Brené Brown’s 20 minute Ted Talk (15M views) on Vulnerability
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