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When Weaknesses are Proclaimed as ‘Strengths’

In an episode of NBC’s sitcom, The Office, Michael Scott offers a humorously self-serving accounting of his weaknesses as a boss: “I work too hard, I care too much, and sometimes I can be too invested in my job.” Asked to list his strengths, he replies, “Well, my weaknesses are actually strengths.”

Call it the Michael Scott paradox. In telling stories about our lives, we have a habit of casting ourselves as the hero. Every day is a new chapter confirming that we alone are truly empathetic, courageous, and reasonable. Our strengths are obvious (or at least they should be). And our weaknesses are really strengths.

This penchant for valorizing our choices and motivations speaks to the fundamental fallenness of our nature. It tempts us to misremember, misconstrue, and misunderstand not only ourselves but those around us.

Possible Preaching Angles:

There are at least two possible ways to approach this illustration. 1) Ego; Pride; Self-Deception - The obvious lesson is that ego, pride, and a fallen nature can lead a person to overlook their weaknesses and fail to humble themselves and grow; 2) Humility; Identity in Christ; Power, spiritual - We might actually agree with Michael Scott if we realize that in Christ, our weaknesses are really our strengths “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses” when his “power is perfected in weakness” (1 Cor. 1:26-31; 2 Cor. 12:5-10).

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