Just riffing off of a stream-of-consciousness journal entry from a few months ago...
I was thinking that there is a certain strength in having ordinary weaknesses. In the movie The Amazing Spiderman, people turned into giant lizards capable of terrifying strength and power after being exposed to an airborne chemical. But who would want to be that strong and powerful if they had to become a lizard to get that way? That kind of brute strength is devoid of the sensitivity that being an authentic human entails. It completely lacks aesthetic beauty. It is only capable of destruction, not creation. It wants to control others but cannot control itself. I can't imagine living the limited life of a megalizard. I'm not into city squashing.
In some ways, our true strength grows from our weaknesses: because we cannot do things alone, we must do them together. Our resulting relationships and cooperation leads to healthy inter-dependency. Our weaknesses also remind us to depend on God's strength and to guard against the wrong kind of pride.
Becoming aggressive (physically or otherwise) can result from using pride, power and position for what they can get for you, not to build devotion to God nor loving relationships. It leads to ultimate downfall. On the far opposite end of the spectrum, low self-esteem keeps us passive, paralyzed, and vulnerable to victimization. A healthy self-confidence enables us to step out boldly in service and creativity. We can be assertive, claiming what is rightfully ours while helping others attain their goals, too. This is a win-win situation.
Physical weaknesses, disabilities, and pain can challenge us to come up with creative accommodations, using our brains and hearts to keep accomplishing what our bodies can't do. Work smarter, not just harder. Synergize. Invent. Be aware of the struggles of others so you can show compassion. Use whatever kind of power you have for the good of all.
We should still pursue physical strength and vitality, keep in shape, and get medical help for injury and disease. But we also realize that our inevitable weaknesses can paradoxically plant in us the humble seeds of true greatness. Success is not just handed to us on a golden platter, but is an on-going process requiring effort and cooperation. We learn and grow together as people made in God's image, and overcome the odds through perseverance, effort, and supportive relationships.
Jesus came among us in the limitations of human flesh, great power constrained and channeled into great sacrificial love. He wants us to have true power, creative power, beautiful power. If we want to make a difference in the lives of others, it cannot be by selfishly controlling them. We must love them. Love is the strongest influence of all.
And finally, a little of what the Bible says about power and weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Romans 15:1
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:3-9
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. Luke 22:24-26