“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
II Corinthians 1:3-4
Why is it so important that we do not fall into the trap of thinking that we have to be perfect? Because there are no perfect people! But trouble comes when we expect ourselves and others to be perfect. Perfect people don’t have problems so we feel “pressured” to be perfect and cannot admit our problems. When problems are not presented to God and each other, we cannot be comforted, or if in private desperation we cry out to God and see relief, we cannot share our testimony because we would have to admit to the problem in the first place. That means that we cannot comfort others! What a loss to the person needing help and the blessing for us in helping others. We would miss the whole point of what Paul is talking about. In his book “Abba’s Child”, Brennan Manning shares the insight that Mike Yacinelli, author and co-founder of Youth Specialties, had after he went on a spiritual retreat. Mike writes, “Finally, I accepted my brokenness. I never came to terms with that. I knew I was a sinner. I knew that I continually disappointed God, but I could never accept that part of me. It was a part of me that embarrassed me. I continually felt the need to apologize, to run from my weaknesses, to deny who I was and concentrate on what I should be. I was broken, yes, but I was continually trying never to be broken again – or at least to get to the place where I was very seldom broken. It became clear to me that I had totally misunderstood the Christian faith. I came to see that it was in my brokenness, in my powerlessness, in my weakness that Jesus was made strong. It was in the embracing of my brokenness that I could identify with other’s brokenness.” Might we learn the same lesson that Mike did. Might we cry out to God and be comforted and then invite others to experience the same kind of comfort we received. This is the true Christian experience.
Lord, I admit that I have troubles. I bring them to you for comfort. Help me in return, not to have false shame, but rather embrace my humanness and Your grace and comfort others in the way you comfort me.
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