C.S. Lewis said that to love at all is to be vulnerable. It’s a powerful statement. The choice to love is inherently risky. It’s risky because in order to love we have to extend ourselves in some way. In order to love we must give something up…we must become vulnerable.
Now it get’s even more interesting because we know that God is love (1 John 4:8). Is God vulnerable? For many that question will instantly cause a visceral reaction. For others it’s comforting. It just depends on your perception of God and your perception of vulnerability.
I posted this the other day as a discussion question and got some great responses so I decided to post my thoughts in a blog. You can click here to see the original thread.
1. A concept is only a concept if it has something to contrast it. If it doesn’t it’s a pseudo-concept or a concept devoid of meaning. If there is nothing to contrast the concept that God is Love it’s meaningless when we say it. But many people have reason to question God being love for various reasons so we’ve got to define exactly what love is and/or what it looks like.
I understand Jesus as the perfect reflection of Love. But not just a reflection, He is love…in it’s entirety. And Jesus went to Calvary, the ultimate display of love and the ultimate display of vulnerability. If Jesus is vulnerable than so is God because Jesus IS God. But it wasn’t just on Calvary that His vulnerability was on display.
2. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) He wept for Lazarus, grieved and cried out for the Jews (Matthew 23, Luke 13 where I do think He displayed emotional hurt), hung out with Samaritans (a serious racial breech), Asked people to follow Him (a risk) and much more. Not to mention Song of Solomon where He (I think) is most certainly portrayed as a desperate lover and Hosea 2 in which we are told we will no longer call him Lord but Husband (intimate partner). The very nature of His teachings made Him vulnerable, as they were so subversive to the established powers. He continued to experience rejection because of it like when He said that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Most left Him then. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:6-8 that Jesus stripped himself of all privileges, even making Himself a servant to us in order to save us. If C.S. Lewis ever had context for his quote it’s here. Love motivated God to do all of this for us.
3. I think that many still recognize vulnerability as weakness. I think that’s a tough one to crack. I think that even some women who crave vulnerability in their husbands still have trouble with a vulnerable God. We want the Jesus painted in blood coming to kill all who opposed Him, all the wicked. But we should remember that the greatest victory wasn’t from an act of world system power. It was an act of vulnerable self-sacrificial love on Calvary. If God isn’t vulnerable there’s no Calvary. Vulnerability isn’t weakness; it’s the greatest form of power available to us.
4. I do think there is a line we can cross when we try and “humanize” God or fit him into human behavior and needs. But I think we should also remember that we have been created in His image and His likeness and the biblical narrative is littered with human relationship analogies as tools to help us understand who God is.
5. I do think that it hurts God when we sin. Not because He is incomplete but because He is emotional. Jesus displayed every emotion while on earth. If Jesus is emotional so is God and it would be reasonable to say that being spiritually or whole doesn’t mean we can’t experience hurt.
So what do you think? Is God vulnerable?
Jesse and Kara Birkey
Jesse and Kara Birkey are committed lovers of Jesus who seek to show others the extraordinary life of Jesus is available for everyone. They have authored two books, been featured in films and seek to serve the Lord in whatever ways they can. Follow their blog here.
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Vulnerable : Merriam-Webster dictionary definition
1: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2: open to attack or damage : assailable
As Jesus took on the form of man He became vulnerable. The perfect God allowed Himself to be vulnerable because He loved us. Hear Him say : Father, Father why has Thou forsaken me? That was the depth of His vulnerability.
Reblogged this on thedreamyactiveinertbrain.
I had never thought of God as vulnerable.
You make some powerful points.
Vulnerability is not then a weakness, not on God’s terms.
I agree that what makes understanding so difficult is precisely that we tend to humanize God. Try to make Him fit our understanding.
Thank you for this.