Christians live as if the gospel were true.
At least that’s how we’re supposed to live. That was even the goal way back in the Apostle Paul’s time when he wrote his 2nd letter to the Christian church in Corinth.
Sadly, we are a sinful people who don’t live out the gospel as well as we ought. This led one observant Christian to say, “When the world rejects the good news of Jesus Christ, it’s often not Christ who is being rejected – but the sorry performance of Christ’s witnesses” – you and me. (Willimon, Pulpit Resource, Summer 2018)
From Paul’s words and example today, vulnerability a key in living honestly as a faithful Christian. Paul allows himself to be vulnerable with the people of the Corinthian church and with others as he strives to live out the gospel in his life. In verse 11 today Paul writes: “We have spoken frankly to you
Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours.” Paul is willing to be rejected in order that people see that he’s willing to risk everything for the sake of following Christ.
Paul is modelling what God has done for us in Jesus. God risked rejection by becoming human, one of us. God took that vulnerable risk to restore us to a right relationship with him.
Vulnerability is hard for us. We want to be seen as strong, independent; not really needing anybody in our lives, if push comes to shove.
But life is too short not to live in relationship to God and one another. With open hearts, God can use us to build incredible relationships that model Christ’s love for others.
Last weekend my husband’s side of the family gathered to bury the remains of my brother-in-law. He died this past winter.
His widow felt moved to ask the small-town cemetery if she could help dig the small grave for the urn a few days before the service. They welcomed her request. It proved to be a healing step for her and our whole family.
Two days later as we gathered at the graveside, my sister-in-law set out what she had found when helping to dig the small grave. It was a piece of limestone she found as she dug down in that little patch of land. Rough as it appeared, that flat limestone piece was clearly in the shape of a heart. Now, for our family, that stone is a mystery and a reassurance. It’s a God thing. And I think of that today because that’s how touching Pauls’ cry is for us to open wide our hearts.
With enthusiasm, Paul calls us to “see, NOW is the acceptable time, NOW is the day of salvation”. Because God’s grace fills us and changes us NOW, to live honestly means that God’s salvation is at work to open wide our hearts. In vulnerability, with hearts open wide, the Holy Spirit will lead us to live with love and care for one another. With hearts wide open we will be moved to pour out that love on all those we have yet to meet to share the gospel.