Stop a moment and come with me into the scene of Isaiah 6. At a certain point and place in time (the year King Uzziah died), the prophet Isaiah was allowed into the throne of God. As he entered there, he saw the Lord seated on a throne.
Isaiah gives a ton of detail about the train on God’s robe, how many wings the flying angels had, what God’s voice sounded like and what it was like to experience a massive earthquake.
After such an encounter with the living God, Isaiah shares his feeble response with us. “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isa. 6:5).
The result of his personal meeting with the Lord was a loud declaration of his own weaknesses and those of his fellow human beings. In the parlance of today, Isaiah was expressing, in no uncertain terms, his vulnerability. He was laying out, for all to see, the things that easily tripped him up.
That willingness to be exposed, to risk a reaction of any kind is the direct result of a supernatural encounter with the Lord. When we come to Him without all our defenses and take the time to allow Him to speak into our lives in a real and significant way, the only reasonable response is vulnerability with others.
James understood that principle. As he wrapped up his epistle, he urged his readers to “confess their faults to one another” (James 5:16). He is assuming that we all have had that face -to-face, heart-to-heart, gut level moment with the Lord. And then, we can turn “open faced” to our brothers and sisters and be honest about our weaknesses and sin.
That kind of openness and sharing is such a blessing to behold. You might think that the risk is too high, you may worry about someone’s response or fear rejection. But the truth is, the exact opposite is the normal reaction.
When someone opens up and shares on that level, the listener generally receives those admissions tenderly and with respect. They are precious and often form the basis for a deep friendship.
Vulnerability may be a modern word, but it is an ageless concept. Paul tells us in II Cor. 12:9-10 to go all out and “boast in our weakness.” He is not telling us to brag about our sin, but to share openly about our issues. He reminds us that God’s grace is sufficient, and his power is made perfect in weakness.
So, this week, let’s all choose our listening Christian friends carefully. But then share liberally.