7 I was given a thorn in my body because of the outstanding revelations I’ve received so that I wouldn’t be conceited. It’s a messenger from Satan sent to torment me so that I wouldn’t be conceited.
8 I pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me alone. 9 He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me. 10 Therefore, I’m all right with weaknesses, insults, disasters, harassments, and stressful situations for the sake of Christ, because when I’m weak, then I’m strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, CEB
Yesterday I described a situation where a friend of mine, struggling with the fact that he lost his job, wrote a negative blog post about his former employer that went viral. In an effort to learn from what went wrong there, I asked us to consider how we might handle a situation like this one and how we might apply Paul’s words to it. Obviously, this is difficult to do.
It seems like my friend tried to “muscle up”. He tried to find “strength” or to grab for what little power he had in the situation by turning the tables on the employer with his blog post. Nobody looks good now. Paul’s words encourage a different mentality. Instead of grabbing for power or strength, we acknowledge and affirm our weaknesses. We admit that these weaknesses are not obstacles too great for God to overcome. In this way, we don’t need to manipulate the world around us by seeking revenge out of a place of resentment or jealousy. Instead, we practice the things we learn early on in recovery: accepting the world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that God will make all things right.
Grabbing for power when we’re hurt is the opposite of what these verses teach. Instead, we acknowledge our frailty and invite God to manifest himself in our lives when we need him the most, recognizing that we can’t do this on our own.
Don’t we all do this though? Don’t we all want the power? We want to look good, to be appreciated, to be respected, to be acknowledged. That’s all perfectly understandable, and it’s also understandable why we might not react well when these things don’t happen. Learning how to respond is important because, though I can’t speak for anyone else, my instinctive responses are rarely good.
Today, I pray for my friend and his employer, hoping they can find mutual forgiveness and restoration.