Be Yourself — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Be Yourself — Morning Devotions

C.S. Lewis once famously said, "to love is to be vulnerable". Openly being ourselves and loving others can be hard, but it's the best option.

By Chris WittsMonday 26 Feb 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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Pope John, the 23rd was one of the most loved religious leaders of the 20th century. There was no pretense from this man. Everywhere he went around the world, people warmed to him. He really never pretended to be more than he was. So, despite being the supreme leader of the Catholic Church at that time, he spoke freely. He was himself.

He actually struggled with his weight. He was the son of a poor peasant family. And we learn in his journals that he never felt he was quite holy enough. He felt he wasn’t quite living up to his faith.

And so we’ve met in history a man of great humility. He was delighted at how people liked him and surprised that he was even chosen to be the pope. So soon after he was elected pope, he went to visit a large jail in Rome. As he was giving the prisoners his blessing, he said that the last time he’d been in jail was to visit his cousin. He really wasn’t afraid to admit that.

Another day, rather humorous thing he said – the pope was at a party when a woman wearing a low cut dress walked in and the pope had said later, “One of the hard things about being pope is that if a woman like that walks into a party, everyone looks at her. But if I’m at a party and a woman like that walks in, everyone looks at me.”

His death from cancer in 1963 had a strong impact on people everywhere, believers and nonbelievers right around the world. Everyone mourned his passing and the prisoners at Rome’s Regina Coeli prison, where he had visited on that first Christmas in the Vatican, they sent a message with an immense love. “We are close to you.”

It’s an amazing fact that when we openly share with people, they will warm to us

No one feels comfortable with a make believe. Why aren’t we prepared to be open and honest with others? Why do we put on a false front? Pope John the 23rd was a man. Even though he had supreme authority, he didn’t mind sharing himself. I guess the question is, are you prepared to be vulnerable?

Most people don’t like the idea of humility or simplicity because it doesn’t fit in with their lifestyle today. They respect members of the religious orders who do live a life of simplicity and humility. But for themselves, the people who are not in religious life find this rather unusual.

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I like what CS. Lewis said, that “to love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. And if you want to be sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it up with hobbies and little luxuries. Avoid all the entanglements, lock it up safe in a casket or a coffin of your own selfishness. But in that casket, safe and dark, it will change. It will not be broken. It will become unbreakable and irredeemable. But to love is to be vulnerable.”

That’s what CS. Lewis says. It’s a risky business when you allow yourselves to love and care for others, isn’t it? You could be misunderstood or judged wrongly, but the alternative is not very good, either. It means that you become a closed book that’s never opened. Why don’t we spend more time looking at our potential instead of our limitations. Too many of us think we’re not good enough. We’d be better off if we were different.

The actress Helen Hayes was told early in her career that if she were four inches taller, she’d be the greatest actress of her time. Now, believe it or not, her coaches tried methods of stretching her to make her a bit taller. But nothing, of course, increased her height. And she refused to concentrate on this limitation supposedly of being 5 ft tall. And she said, “Look, I’m just gonna concentrate on the potential.”

And do you know that she was eventually cast as Mary, Queen of Scotland, one of the tallest queens who ever lived? It’s amazing what happens. As I mentioned Pope John the 23rd, was a humble man, and yet he knew what Paul the Apostle said when he wrote to the Philippians. “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God. He didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status when the time came.”

He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave who became human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim any special privileges. He lived a selfless, obedient life.

Let’s Pray

Thank you, Lord. We know this is true. Help us to be ourselves. amen.