Sunday, May 24, 2015

Let Them See You Bleed

One of the speakers I heard at Exponential was Danielle Strickland.  She gave this illustration that really hit home with me.  I was fortunate enough to find a blog post she had written that explains it better than I ever could.  Here it is...

Never Let Them See You Bleed

I went to see Hercules (the movie) a few weeks ago. It was a fun movie (if you don’t mind excessive violence). It was a clever story of the ‘man’ Hercules who created a myth to incite fear in his enemies and faith in his fellow fighters. Tormented by his own inner demons and tragic life, Hercules finds resolve to fight for ‘right’ instead of just for money. In the movie Hercules is supported by his team. There is one poignant scene in a battle where Hercules gets cut by an enemy’s sword on his shoulder. One of his team members swoops by and grabs his cape, wraps it around the back of Hercules and whispers in his ear, ‘never let them see you bleed’.

This is the strategy of anyone trying to build their own ‘myth': “Never let them see you bleed”.
And it is the literal opposite of Jesus. And this reminded me about the true power and incredible leadership  of Jesus. Jesus wasn’t afraid to show weakness, or bleed publicly. Actually, the Bible tells us that it was through his willingness to become weak (to the death) that we can live. And later on Paul explains that it’s only in the willingness of His followers to embrace vulnerability and weakness that they can live too.

The world needs more heroes. But I’ve a good hunch they don’t need more heroic ‘myths’ that pretend to be something they’re not. It’s a tempting posture though – if we are honest. It’s tempting to pretend we have it all together – to go with the ‘cape’ to cover a multitude of sins. But the invitation I’ve been hearing over and over again from Jesus is to be fully human… bleeding included. To be vulnerable and honest and willing to look silly and stupid in order to be true. I’m reminding myself these days (not that it’s hard) that I bleed. And I’m excited because it makes me less like Hercules and more like Jesus.


Authenticity has always been important to me.  I don't like to play games - just be real.  But sometimes it's easier said than done!  When you allow people to see you weak and bleeding, you are exposing where you are vulnerable.  You are increasing the possibility of further pain.  However, you are also offering someone else a chance to heal.

I saw this same point explained in a book I'm reading, Undone by Michele Cushatt.  She is a public speaker at women's conferences and found herself in a battle with cancer.  This is what she discovered:

 "Authenticity ministers far more than put-togetherness.  And vulnerability builds a far stronger bond than perfection. 

There is strength in empty.  Not the kind of strength we wish for.  We want polished strength, the kind that wears a cape and leaps tall buildings with a single bound.  I couldn't leap or fly or save anyone from catastrophe.  In fact, I could barely show up.  But I did.  Show up.  And that ended up being a strength all of its own. 

Ministry - of the truest kind -  isn't about impressing unknown strangers with spotless presentations and a flawless life.  It's about exposing the hidden imperfections and giving others permission to do the same.  Becoming a fellow struggler who delivers zero judgment but abundant grace."

This has become my vision for ministry. 

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