Exploiting The Cracks
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
When I was in elementary school I would often build forts in my backyard. They were a mix of hidden recesses in the bushes, elevated platforms in the trees, or underground spaces hollowed out of the clay and dirt. In the games we played as children these forts afforded a sense of security from the adversarial forces of my friends. As much as I liked to believe my fortresses were impregnable, there were always small vulnerabilities that those on the other side sought to find and exploit. Small cracks in the structure, openings in the wall, out of the way approaches all made me more vulnerable to the other team. These vulnerabilities were exploited for the sake of winning the game and I did my best to make sure there were as few vulnerabilities and cracks as possible.
I have carried over some of that same mindset into how I engage in human relationship. I do what I can to insure that the predatory forces of the other side will be unable to find or exploit the cracks in my life. But they are there. Everyday I find cracks in the fortress I’ve constructed to protect myself from embarrassment, failure, and the possibility of being seen as less than perfect. I am constantly attempting to manage the potential negative perceptions others may have of me that might be exploited and used against me. It is a fear of the predator I defend against. In my reaction to fear I can easily become the predator in relationships, the very thing I seek to avoid.
I can often see the exposed vulnerabilities of others, the cracks, as it were, as opportunities to exploit for the sake of conquest, victory and ego boost, rather than for the sake of Jesus and His love. My apologetic for the faith may at times be more a means to beat another person into submission than an opportunity to extend an invitation to experience the aroma and atmosphere of unconditional and overflowing love. My desire to win the argument may at times be more predatory than compassionate and caring.
Predators look for vulnerabilities to exploit and take advantage of to devour their prey. But Jesus, unlike the predator, exploits the cracks in humanity and the broken places for the sake of shining through and impregnating us with His blessing of love and life. Rather than exploiting for my advantage the cracks exposed in the brokenness of others, how might I, like Jesus, exploit the cracks for the sake of blessing them?
This opportunity presents itself in a multitude of scenarios. When someone chooses to be married in, or receive assistance from, the church they have indicated some measure of openness to the resources of faith. A small crack of openness has been exposed and there is an opportunity to exploit that crack with love, blessing and God’s immense goodness. When a person shows up on the doorstep of my life, desperate, confused, broken and in pain it provides an amazing chance to exploit those cracks with the powerful salve and healing balm of sacrificial love. It is not a crack to be exploited to insure a particular outcome according to my opinions, ideas, or agenda, but one to exploit for the sake of love.
Whenever confronted by weakness and vulnerability Jesus seemed to respond with love, compassion and healing. He had a way of exploiting the cracks and brokenness of humanity for the sake and with the power of His perfect love. It is the very way Jesus has engaged with humanity and the very way He has engaged with me so that I might not fear the cracks, the vulnerability, but be secure in and transformed by His love. As you discover humanity on the path of your journey of faith, I want to encourage you to exploit the cracks you encounter in others, but exploit them with and for the sake of God’s love and let love do it’s perfect work. It is a place of faith in God’s powerful love for humanity.