So, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Cor. 12:7-9
“What’s your greatest weakness?” This question, weaves its way into job interviews time and time again. Conventional wisdom states that the best way to answer the question is with a strength in disguise. Find a way to turn the question into another opportunity to boast about your skills, abilities and experience. To this way of thinking the Apostle Paul’s model of boasting about a weakness seems curiously out of step.
For Paul, boasting about his weakness was an opportunity to connect with something greater than himself. By naming his weakness he was enabled to see and proclaim the way that God worked through that part of his life.
Mystery surrounds the precise “thorn” Paul was referring to. Whatever it was, it hampered him in some way and rather than hide it, Paul acknowledged it in the light of grace.
Acknowledging the need for forgiveness in our lives, be it forgiveness given or received, means acknowledging that something is broken. Naming the tender parts of our lives is not easy. Our tendency is to hide our weaknesses, outright deny our faults, and claim that everything is fine. However, this hamstrings the wonder of forgiveness.
What fear keeps us from acknowledging that a relationship has gone awry? What pride prevents us from naming that some kind of forgiveness is needed? We don’t have to know what exactly what forgiveness will look like in order to recognize the heart’s cry for it.
Forgiveness is a process that is unique to every relationship. Yet in every process must come the point when we name that some kind of forgiveness is needed and we cling to the promise that God’s grace is sufficient for all.
“Dear God, may I be conscious of the need for forgiveness in my life and in the life of those I love. Amen.”