What does it mean to be Vulnerable?
The word vulnerable is often interpreted as being open to attack or easily wounded. However, in the context of spirituality, it is best defined by dictionary.com, as being open to moral attack, criticism or temptation.
Christ knew that with free will, mankind falls victim to sin through the influence of temptation and earthly desires. When the ultimate sacrifice was given for the forgiveness of sins, we experienced the grace of God in the midst of our suffering. However, this is not our first encounter with His compassion, nor the first time we are pronounced worthy despite our internal and external struggles.
In the Beatitudes Jesus expressed God’s recognition of vulnerable communities and His promise of eternal blessings yet to come:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In reflection of the beatitudes, we recognize that vulnerability lies in both the world around us and the faith within us.
Is there an area within yourself or your life that is in need of attention or healing?
How Vulnerability draws us closer to God
In the story of Isaiah’s Commission, Isaiah was met by two seraphim when God was revealed to him. Though Isaiah felt unworthy to be in God’s presence, God used his vulnerable state to draw him closer and move Isaiah toward the man he was created to be. We see firsthand that God meets us in the midst of our brokenness and uses it to transcend and send us into the world as beacons of truth.
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
When we recognize the brokenness and vulnerability in ourselves, we become open to God, who comes to heal us. It is at this point, that we can be sent into the world with humility to help those around us.
One student’s response to the Vulnerable in his community
Is it be enough to pay respect to our communities through personal success or wealth?
Could it be better shown through nurtured relationships and philanthropy?
As followers of Christ we are called to do more. This is why iSSACHAR apprentices and alumni dedicate their time, talent and treasure to the organizations and communities that have helped them grow into the men and women they are today.
In February, Bo Perez, an apprentice at iSSACHAR, led a discussion on the vulnerable community of his choice — fatherless homes.
Bo expressed his deep concern for the fatherless epidemic that has flooded all cultures and communities, including his own. Through one of his biggest influences, TuPac Shakur, he learned that fatherlessness can potentially lead children and their families, into harmful situations — substance abuse, violence, mistreatment of others, broken relationships and unstable homes.
Bo started and ended his session with two verses from the Psalmist:
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
We see Bo living out his passion to combat the consequences of fatherlessness by his commitment to mentor misguided youth. Bo is currently volunteering at an organization called, ActionYouth. ActionYouth focuses on the ability to change the term from “at-risk youth” to “at-work youth” by teaching high school students how to lead positive initiatives in their homes, schools, neighborhoods, families and friend groups. The foundation for these initiatives is based on three core values of ActionYouth’s program, to teach the value of: healthy life choices, academic excellence and leading to serve.
Bo’s work at ActionYouth also has a faith connection, as he builds bridges with the youth group at his church.
“I have been volunteering since before I got here, [to iSSACHAR] and from my experience, by doing what you’re passionate about and putting actions to your words, you’re not just doing it to make a point, you’re doing it to make a difference,” said Perez. “I get to work with students who grew up like I did and I get to be there for them like nobody was there for me.”
Why should Christians care for the Vulnerable?
Vulnerable communities are often overlooked and under-resourced. These communities are growing larger day by day.
According to DoSomething.org:
- Nearly ½ of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day.
- 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.
- More than 750 million people lack adequate access to clean drinking water. Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day
Whether it be because national status, disability or poverty etc., these populations can be susceptible to suffering and oppression. We acknowledge the suffering and hardship of the communities we call home, and work to uplift the blessings, culture and beauty within them.
In iMPACTING the world around us through time, talent and relationship, we mirror the Kingdom and God’s calling to serve as men and women for others.
This month, take time to consider some reflection questions:
Is there an area of my faith that is vulnerable to moral attack?
Is there an area near my work or home that is in need of resources or attention?
How has God called me to address this?
Every Tuesday evening, we gather as a community at the iSSACHAR Center for Urban Leadership from 6:30-9 for dinner and discussion. With a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other, we engage in the pressing issues of our day with compassion and conviction.
Join us from March-May as our apprentices lead the discussion on the vulnerable community of their choice.