In this passage, we see what it means to be vulnerable. This woman has seen the depths of her sin and, in faith, risks rejection and scorn to powerfully worship Jesus. She could let her sin overwhelm her with shame and guilt and then spend her life hiding in the shadows, but she doesn’t. She courageously goes into the house of a Pharisee, who, as we see by Simon’s thinking, would not have accepted her. Caring more about what her Savior will think of her than what others might say about her, this “sinful woman” cries so hard that she has enough tears to wipe the dirt off of Jesus’ feet. Broken. Exposed. Vulnerable. And in that place, bowed down before the Creator of the world, she hears these healing words, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.“
Being vulnerable is not easy. It takes a great amount of honesty, courage, and authenticity. I used to think being vulnerable meant you were weak. Now I see that the opposite is true. Numbing, stuffing, and pretending are easy. Being willing to be broken is HARD and painful.
So what do I mean by vulnerability?
The dictionary defines the term as being capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, open to attack/damage. It comes from the Latin word for wound.
Doesn’t sound like something to strive for, does it?
Yes, living authentically means we may be wounded. But living in vulnerability is the pathway for deep healing. Courage, trust, love, and hope are strengthened in the fertile ground of risk and brokenness. There is deep healing that comes when we are vulnerable with ourselves, before God, and in community.
- Having the courage to show up and be truly seen
- Being honest about your hurts, struggles, joys, and dreams
- Choosing authenticity over comfort
- Passionately pursuing heart change before behavioral change
- Practicing honesty, confession, humility
We live in a culture that values strength, rugged individualism, and self-determination.
What we don’t realize is that we are all already vulnerable. We are messy sinners living in a broken world. We are always capable of being wounded. As believers, we can stop hiding in the dark and live authentically, because we have the gospel.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” – Timothy Keller
We all know the superficial feeling of being loved but not truly known. We have the nagging fear. “If they only knew, they might reject me.” But Christ, who knows all things and sees all things, He fully delights in us.
In Hebrews 3:13-16, It says this:
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Our great High Priest can sympathize with our weakness. Jesus is the ultimate example of vulnerability.
I can’t think of anything more vulnerable than being stripped, beaten, and mocked, while hanging nailed to a cross for all to see. In vulnerability, Jesus was wounded for us, so that we may be healed.
Christ gave sight to the blind and, metaphorically, gives sight to every blind sinner who comes to Him in humility. Seeing is the catalyst for change. You can’t begin to heal a wound you pretend isn’t there.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
We don’t have to fear vulnerability because Jesus promises to draw close and bind up our wounds.
As the body of Christ, we should be the most vulnerable people. We should be known for our honesty and humility.
We don’t need to shield ourselves in self-protection because we are shielded under the wings of the Most High.
We don’t need to fear rejection because our Savior was rejected and scorned that we may be redeemed.
We don’t need to hide our struggles because we have the promise that when we are weak, Christ’s power is made perfect in us.
We don’t need to pretend or wear masks because our Heavenly Father knows us completely and says “I delight in you.”
We don’t need to fear being vulnerable with others. We can take risks and step out of our comfort zone because Emmanuel left the throne room of Heaven to be with us.
We don’t need to hide in shame because Jesus called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light
In this world, we are always vulnerable. We are always open to rejection, criticism, attacks, and wounding. But in Christ, we have hope. In Christ, there is no risk. His love will never fail. This relationship is eternally secure. If there is one place we should be completely vulnerable, like the woman in Luke 7, it should be before the feet of our Savior. There we will hear the words, “Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”