24 Now I’m happy to be suffering for you. I’m completing what is missing from Christ’s sufferings with my own body. I’m doing this for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I became a servant of the church by God’s commission, which was given to me for you, in order to complete God’s word. 26 I’m completing it with a secret plan[c] that has been hidden for ages and generations but which has now been revealed to his holy people. 27 God wanted to make the glorious riches of this secret plan[d] known among the Gentiles, which is Christ living in you, the hope of glory. 28 This is what we preach as we warn and teach every person with all wisdom so that we might present each one mature in Christ.29 I work hard and struggle for this goal with his energy, which works in me powerfully.
Colossians 1:26-29, CEB
As we said yesterday, the third principle of neighborliness is Fallibility. We also talked about personal fallibility yesterday. In other words, we talked about what this means for me. We should also consider what fallibility means on a larger scale. We have also tricked ourselves into thinking that the human race itself can accomplish anything it sets its mind to. We think science can solve all of our problems, even death, and that technology will continuously evolve. But we never stop to think about the drawbacks to this system, do we? We never think about the fact that the people creating and inventing are also fallible humans just like me. What is this pursuit that we’re on? What are we trying to accomplish? Are we going to find a way to cure death? Do I dare even ask if that would be a good thing? Can we do away with suffering and grief? Is that the goal?
What would happen if, in our infallibility, we were able to eliminate suffering and grief? None us likes to suffer or grieve, of course, but I think many of us recognize that suffering and grief certainly has the capacity to move us, shape us, and grow us in ways that we otherwise wouldn’t have experienced. We become who we are as a result of having a wide variety of life experiences, not just pleasant ones. Fallibility, then, can be a good thing. It can be something to embrace rather than something to escape. When it is embraced, we make room in the community for people who truly are in the throws of fallible life circumstances, as many of us are. As a result, we’re neighborly. Without even trying to be.