Week 5 of the equity-based hospitality study
- Understand how to show mutual respect for one another in our behavior, leadership, and overall presence through authenticity, vulnerability, and humility.
Micah 6:8: “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
T his week, let’s define and unpack what it means to embody mutual respect with vulnerability, humility, and authenticity as you welcome and embrace others. What do mutual respect, vulnerability, humility, and authenticity have to do with equity-based hospitality?
What is mutual respect?
Mutual respect is about valuing what everyone brings to the table. Everyone is valued for who they are. As recorded in Matthew 5:44, Jesus says, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We respect even our enemies, for they too are human and created in the image of God. All people have a place at our table.
Jesus showed mutual respect with the thief on the cross. Jesus stated, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). They had something in common—being crucified—yet we could say that the two could not be further apart. One was innocent, the other guilty. Yet Jesus took a moment and showed respect. He cared for another man dying.
Then we can consider Judas. Jesus washed his feet and served him communion. Jesus knew he would be betrayed by Judas. Yet Jesus showed respect by serving him.
For another example of mutual respect, we can turn once again to the story of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus met her right where she was. Jesus was vulnerable asking her for water, he was humble in listening to her story, and he was authentic in clarifying that he knew her story. Jesus created a space where she was able to show up and be herself. After her encounter with Jesus, she went and humbled herself to share her story with others.
As we go through the fourth value of equity-based hospitality in this session, let’s take a look at how we can model mutual respect through authenticity, vulnerability, and humility.
Vulnerability opens us up and invites others in
“Jesus, God incarnate, is also portrayed as a vulnerable guest and needy stranger, one who ‘came to his own home’ and often received no welcome (1 John 1:11). In his life on earth, Jesus experienced the vulnerability of the homeless infant, the child refugee, the adult with no place to lay his head, the despised convict” (Christine D. Pohl, Making Room, pg. 17).
Throughout Jesus’s life we see vulnerability. As mentioned before, Jesus modeled mutual respect through vulnerability on the cross. Jesus showed up for the man next to him. The two were going to die, yet Jesus let him know there was victory.
Another time Jesus modeled vulnerability was in the garden right before he was taken captive.
“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, ‘Sit here while I go and pray.’ He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’” –Mark 14:32-34
Jesus shared his grief and let his friends know he was in emotional pain. The disciples had no idea what really was going on, yet Jesus still invited them into his inner life. He was vulnerable at that moment and asked them to pray for him. Jesus, fully God, humbled himself and showed vulnerability. This was a gift he gave his disciples and followers. Jesus showed up and was seen in his moment of pain. To be vulnerable is to open yourself up to potential wounding. The man on the cross could have become angry and disagreed with Jesus; the apostles could have not known how to support Jesus and fallen asleep (like they did). Jesus knew that potential and was vulnerable anyway.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” –Brene Brown
Vulnerability does take courage! Yet we see this courage modeled by Jesus. We know that Jesus will be with us every step of the way. When we learn to express vulnerability equally with those around us, we show respect. We can risk being vulnerable with others.
We do this by asking for help. Have intentional audits. Ask diverse groups how they would do certain things. Have a disability audit where you bring in a group to check to see how you are doing. Do a cultural intelligence exam and see where you lie in how culturally intelligent your leadership is. Bring in different diverse groups, humble yourselves, and ask to see the areas where you could use help.
Humility acknowledges the ways of others
Humility is a modest or low view of one’s own importance. It seems that the Messiah is the most important person of all, yet Jesus came with humility. He could have come as an adult with power and might, yet he came as a baby, vulnerable and small. He could have been born in a wealthy family, yet he was born poor and then on the run. He could have been a warrior with strategy and strength, yet he came to lay down his life for all.
Being humble with others means understanding that their way may be better. Your ideas, background, and culture are not the only way to do things. Instead of thinking something is strange or weird, see it as just different from how you were raised or have grown to understand.
Humility is having the stance to serve others instead of directing others. Ask yourself: where and who can you serve? Where do you need to show humility?
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” –Mark 10:45
What do you see our heavenly Father doing? What other stories do you know from Scripture in which humility is modeled?
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.’” –John 5:19
Authenticity in love and our own stories
Be genuine. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to hide your bias or lack of understanding.
Being authentic often starts with understanding your own story and background. Being authentic puts you in a posture of learning. What can you learn from your own story? Discover where you might have an unconscious bias or are unaware of some assumptions you have made in your story. Then see what you can learn from listening to others’ stories. When we hear each other’s stories and are genuine, it opens spaces for humility and vulnerability.
When I think of authenticity, I often think of 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter is often shared at weddings because it is about love. This chapter describes authentic love. We can love others through our authenticity.
Love is patient and kind. We don’t demand that the world see things our way. In fact, we are patient and actively listen to others. Being kind is demonstrated in listening to other points of views and admitting we don’t know it all. We all can have blind spots. Being authentic is having the courage to admit we might have a blind spot or not be correct in an assumption or idea.
Love is not jealous, boastful, or proud. We don’t want what others have, and we don’t claim to know it all and have the only way. We don’t claim to have all the answers. We have more information to learn, and we could be wrong about our assumptions.
Love does not demand our own way. We don’t demand that worship has to be one way, or that teaching, lighting, church set up, or whatever it is, needs to be one way. Love sees that another way might be the way. Love is being genuine so that we can care more for others than ourselves. Love is authentic when we listen to others and want to know how to serve them like Christ served the church.
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” –John 1:14
- Read Micah 6:8. Write down your understanding of the verse. What does it mean to do right, love justly, and walk humbly with your Lord?
- Read Mark 14:32-34. Jesus modeled being vulnerable. Vulnerability has been a popular topic in the world lately. Think about the definition of vulnerability in this session. What keeps you from being vulnerable? Where in your life can you grow in vulnerability?
- Jesus modeled humility many times in his ministry. He showed he was human, felt feelings, and had needs. Where in your life is it difficult to be humble? Where can you grow in humility?
- Read John 5:19. Jesus showed us unfailing love as God showed unfailing love. Who can you give unfailing love and faithfulness to this week?
- Who, outside of your circle, can you invite into your life to build a relationship with, exhibiting vulnerability, humility, and grace? Be intentional in connecting with someone this week.
- Spend time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to show you where you can grow in equity-based hospitality through authenticity, vulnerability, and humility.