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Vulnerability vs. Spiritual Exhibitionism

On the one hand, no minister can keep his own experience of life hidden from those he wants to help. Nor should he want to keep it hidden. While a doctor can still be a good doctor even when his private life is severely disrupted, no minister can offer service without a constant and vital acknowledgment of his own experiences. On the other hand, it would be very easy to misuse the concept of the wounded healer by defending a form of spiritual exhibitionism. A minister who talks in the pulpit about his own personal experiences is of no help to his congregation, for no suffering human being is helped by someone who tells him he has the same problems. Remarks such as "Don't worry, because I suffer from the same depression, confusion, and anxiety as you do" help no one. This spiritual exhibitionism adds little faith to little faith, and creates narrow-mindedness instead of new perspectives. Open wounds stink and do not heal.

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