One of the most empowering gifts of peace we can give to each other is to confess our weaknesses.
One of the most empowering gifts of peace we can give to each other is to confess our weaknesses. It feels counterintuitive, but as St. Paul writes, in God’s economy admitting our weaknesses is actually better than admitting our strengths: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
My friend Theresa shares how confessing her tendency to be impatient has helped her. “I periodically lose my patience and my peace when dealing with my children—certain ones, especially. Having a husband who is mindful of my weakness helps me manage my response to those children.” The result of Theresa’s being humble enough to admit her weakness to her husband is that she empowers him to get more involved in parenting. And that, of course, allows the power of Christ to dwell more richly in the whole family.
Theresa concludes, “Humility is important in keeping your peace: knowing who you are before God, knowing your limitations, knowing when to step out in faith despite your limitations, accepting failure, and accepting other people’s failures too.”
It is not natural for most of us to admit, much less to boast about, our weaknesses, as St. Paul advises that we do. When my husband and I were first married, I might hold out for days before apologizing for my part in an argument because I was just too stubborn to admit that I, too, might have contributed to whatever the problem was. Learning to unmask rather than to hide behind my stubbornness, however, has created a much more peaceful and humble relationship between my husband and me. I have found that the pleasure of fewer and less intense arguments is well worth the pain of disclosing my weaknesses or faults.
There is nothing quite as disarming as someone who sincerely admits his or her own weakness and apologizes for its negative impact on the situation. And so, as unlikely as it may seem, honestly admitting weakness can bring empowering peace.
Lord Jesus, you are my strength. Free me to accept my weaknesses so that your power and your peace might dwell more richly in me and in my relationships.
Read more reflections by Heidi Bratton in Finding God’s Peace in Everyday Challenges: 100 Meditations for Women (The Word Among Us Press, 2015). Available at wau.org/books