As I ventured out several weeks after shoulder surgery, I was fearful. I had become comfortable using my arm sling, but both my surgeon and physical therapist now told me to stop wearing it. That’s when I saw this statement: “At this stage, sling wear is discouraged except as a visible sign of vulnerability in an uncontrolled environment.”
Ah, that was it! I feared the enthusiastic person who might give me a bear hug or the unaware friend who might bump me accidentally. I was hiding behind my flimsy baby-blue sling because I feared being hurt.
Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable can be scary. We want to be loved and accepted for who we are, but we fear that if people truly knew us, they would reject us and we could get hurt. What if they found out we are not smart enough . . . kind enough . . . good enough?
But as members of God’s family, we have a responsibility to help each other grow in faith. We’re told to “encourage one another,” to “build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11), and to “be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2).
When we are honest and vulnerable with other believers, we may discover we have mutual struggles battling temptation or learning how to live obediently. But most of all, we will share the wonder of God’s gift of grace in our lives.
Dear Lord, many times my fear of being hurt keeps me from being honest about my struggles. Help me to remember how much You love me, and help me to be patient and loving with others.
Being honest about our struggles allows us to help each other.
Ephesus was a major and influential seaport city in the Roman Empire located near the Aegean coast in modern-day Turkey. It flourished under the reign of Caesar Augustus and is closely associated with the ministries of three prominent figures in the early church: the apostle Paul, who founded the church at Ephesus; his protégé Timothy, who served as pastor there; and the apostle John, who, according to tradition, returned to Ephesus to continue his ministry after his release from the Isle of Patmos. The church in Ephesus also played a significant role in the development of Christian Scripture: Paul wrote three letters to Ephesus that would later be recognized as inspired Scripture—one to the church (Ephesians) and two to its young pastor (1 and 2 Timothy). And John specifically mentions the church of Ephesus as one of the recipients of the book of Revelation (Rev. 2:1).