Telling the truth makes you vulnerable. That was something I learned in a preaching class in college. Beyond my class, vulnerability is something you can see exemplified in the life of Jesus. He preached quite a bit and as a result that made him vulnerable. In the beginning of Luke, Jesus preached in his hometown and all they could say was, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” He spoke the truth, no matter how they felt about it, and it made him vulnerable to being doubted, critiqued and even hated. One time he was preaching in his home and some men cut a hole in his roof and let a sick man down. He couldn’t even have peace and quiet in his own home because he spoke truth and people needed it. They needed someone who spoke a language they could understand. They needed God, and Jesus went about God’s work everywhere he went. Jesus walked into the home of a girl who died, intending to raise her from the dead, and people laughed at him. He was constantly ridiculed for being a person in the light. He was speaking truth and living the truth and it made him vulnerable. Dying on the cross was his most vulnerable moment being held up completely naked for all to see, and for WHAT?! Speaking the truth.
From studying the life of Jesus, I learned that this kind of vulnerability is not widely accepted and often not advised. At least not real vulnerability. As a preacher for SLAM this summer, it’s important the youth know that I’m going to stand before them and be who God has made me. I was thankful to hear multiple students tell me, “you’re the same person whether you’re on the stage or just talking to me.” I love that, because I learned that from my teachers and ultimately from Jesus’ life. Students don’t need a superman figure that can’t be honest and vulnerable about issues they’ve dealt with, doubts they’ve had, anxiety, and I’m sure you can name off the other list of problems a lot of us deal with. The students need someone who knows God’s Word, sincerely pursues to be like Jesus, and can be vulnerable about that journey.
I get that Breñe Brown has made it big talking about vulnerability. But she wasn’t the first. God has been trying to help us understand the need for us to be vulnerable; having the courage to be and say who we are in Him will help us become who He wants us to be. Adam and Eve hid themselves because they felt vulnerable for the first time and God asks them, “Who told you that you were naked?” God wanted to teach them Himself and they chose disobedience and listened to the voice of a serpent. Students need vulnerable adults in their lives so they can learn the hard lessons we learned and are still learning. They need to know the stories of God teaching us, instructing us, and picking us up when we’ve fallen. They need to know the value of having good friends who encourage us helped us get through so many storms. They need to know that they aren’t alone. They need honest people around them who love God and are willing to do life together.
I was happy to be that for them at SLAM this summer. Join me in doing the same? Youth need it, everywhere.