Authenticity, vulnerability, compassion: these three virtue – like all virtue – point to truth. The calling card of the character of Jesus is truth. All who recognise Jesus as Saviour, Lord and King are seekers and recognisers of truth (John 18:37). Truth is what sets the believer apart in their belief. Those who are still blind cannot see truth, and we are all occasionally deluded.
The calling card of the character of Jesus – notwithstanding his perfection – is, for us, authenticity, vulnerability, and compassion. These are solid comparators of the Lord present in us by the Holy Spirit.
The Character – the Very Image – of Jesus
Jesus is the exact expression of God’s nature; he expresses the very character of God. The Greek word for Jesus being the exact likeness of God in Hebrews 1:3 is the word, “character.”
If we epitomise the character of Jesus – adhering as best we can to expressing his likeness to God – a commitment to be a true disciple a day at a time – then we collect the idea that we must be wed to truth. And although truth is farthest from being abstract, it certainly becomes too abstract from our subjective experience of life.
We need something more tangible if we are to attempt to be the exact expression of God’s character.
This is why we break down the virtues of authenticity, vulnerability, and compassion. Jesus had these in copious amount. If we are characterised more or less as champions of authenticity, vulnerability, and compassion, then we represent, more or less, the truth. We are ready to ‘give ourselves up’ in the quest for a better ideal.
Authenticity, Vulnerability, and Compassion
It takes courage to be vulnerable and the effect is authenticity. Both of these reflect our willingness to live beyond fear committed to truth.
A softening has occurred within our hearts – a maintained and sustained softness – to exemplify compassion. Truth is represented by compassion in that everyone deserves consideration and dignity. When we realise life is not just and only about us, we are ready to be compassionate.
To invite and accept and embrace vulnerable authenticity in another person is to be compassionate enough that they know they can be. What a gift to shower on somebody!
Safety is implicit in these three – authenticity, vulnerability, and compassion. When we are courageous enough to be authentic and compassionate enough to allow others to be vulnerable, having modelled vulnerability ourselves, we have authentic interactions and relationships are a blessing.
Jesus’ calling card of character is truth. Where truth gains traction is when we can be authentic, vulnerable, and compassionate, and when we encourage, and even allow, others the same safe latitude.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.