They were the last two in the office that evening. As Joe left, he said, “How are you doing Fred, see you in the morning.” Fred responded, “See ya.” Joe did not see Fred again because he committed suicide the next morning. Upon reflecting on that last “conversation” at Fred’s funeral, Joe shared a conviction to be more vulnerable, to mean it when you ask someone how they are doing and be willing to sit down and talk with them. He was not suggesting that he could have prevented the suicide by sitting down that evening, but he had several opportunities over the past number of months when he may have been able to keep Fred from getting so isolated in his troubles.
It is almost cliché today to greet someone with, “How are you?” and get the usual reply, “Good,” as you walk by each other. At church when you ask a dad about his family, he will say, “All is great!” or “We are blessed.” At a recent meeting with some Youth Directors, concern was voiced that such superficial answers can convey an unrealistic standard that kids feel they must meet. The result is a fear of bringing struggles forward in family because they do not want to disappoint dad or mom. One Youth Director expressed the need for more “familial vulnerability”. The hope is that kids could see the home and the church as a “safe” place to take their struggles, instead of their peers or the internet.
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12, NIV. Three is an important number in scripture: The Triune nature of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in the Church – Jesus, the pastor and the congregation; and in the home – Dad, Mom and the kids. This drives the devil nuts and his schemes always focus on driving a wedge between the strands in an effort to break one. Isolation is his goal. We rebuke this scheme by being vulnerable in love with a group of battle buddies and through unconditional love in family and in the Church.
Tips to Be Vulnerable:
- Pray for and ask two to five men you respect, older and younger to meet weekly;
- Talk with your bride about priorities in family and potential points of vulnerability;
- Meet as a family once a week to create a “safe place” for discussion;
- Pray as a family for the Church to be a hospital for sinners, not a cathedral for saints.
Prayer guide: Lord, I confess a comfort in the façade I project at work, church and even in family. In the process I have marginalized relationships You have blessed me with and compromised Kingdom influence You seek to orchestrate through me. Forgive me for allowing the world to have a greater influence on me than I am having on it. I have not glorified You in business, family or the church. Bring men into my life that I can be vulnerable with, that will hold me accountable and equip me to be the man, husband and father You expect me to be. Amen.
A faithful father can be vulnerable with battle buddies, in family and in the Church.