There is something about vulnerability and accountability that makes Christians uncomfortable. Perhaps they fear that it puts them at risk for criticism, hurt, or embarrassment. Exposing sin and expressing it to others stretches believers out of their comfort zones. We have built walls around us and are afraid to show our true selves. We often project picture perfect images of our lives, through our ministry and through social media platforms, that aren’t a reflection of our reality. Somehow, we have often made it standard practice to force smiles and hide behind religious masks. These unhealthy practices are isolating us and leaving us starved for fellowship and community.
I believe that the church, who should reflect Jesus, should be a place of much grace. I also believe the Word of God charges us to be authentic and accountable to one another. Merriam-Webster defines accountability as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. Galatians 6:1-5 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We were designed to need fellowship with others on earth. It is advised that we foster environments where others are welcome to be honest in their transgressions and struggles and to bear the burdens with them. We are also told to encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thess 5:11). While confessing our sins to Jesus is of utmost importance, He knew we would need the tangible support of accountability in fellowship to help us in the journey to freedom. I would submit to you that establishing trusted relationships of accountability is a very responsible way of walking out your faith as a Christian. This kind of fellowship helps us in our struggles and allows us to celebrate with each other in our victories.
Unfortunately, being vulnerable has often been categorized as a sign of weakness. When studying the Apostle Paul, we find a very different view on vulnerability. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 we see these words, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul was very open about what he experienced–his weaknesses, his thorn in the flesh and his enemies. Because he chose to boast in his weakness, God was able to pour in His grace, which then allowed Paul to find strength in his weakness. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. I believe our vulnerability humbles us. When we acknowledge our struggles, we acknowledge our dependence on a faithful God to sustain and save us. We live in a culture that is tired of seeing hypocritical Christians and prominent ministry leaders in moral failure. People want to know that others struggle with the same issues and share in the journey to victory with them.
The statistics regarding women who suffer from depression, anxiety, abuse, discrimination, addiction, loneliness, and lack of self-worth are staggering. We must begin to create spaces where we extend grace to women, so they feel seen and valued in such a way that an environment for transparency and authenticity is promoted. As leaders, we must lead by example. It’s time we talk about the things we have struggled with and walked through. We must stop projecting our life through rose-colored glasses. Those who are hurting want to hear from real people, who go through real struggles. Let’s boast in our weaknesses that lead us to strength in Christ. Let us encourage each other, bear one another’s burdens, and build each other up. Allow iron to sharpen iron (Proverbs 27:17). May our lives always welcome others into the fellowship of Christ, by our willingness to be accountable and vulnerable.