One standard but dreaded job interview question is: “Tell me your greatest weakness.” When asked this question, one expert recommends admitting only to a minor weakness that we’re in the process of fixing. In other words, don’t really answer the question, because weaknesses are considered a liability in society and the workplace. That’s why we usually deny, defend, excuse, hide, or resent our weaknesses.
The truth is that we all have a bundle of weaknesses: Physical, emotional, and intellectual. Some of us have financial limitations or difficult relationships. In addition, we all struggle with a weakened, fallen human nature which inclines us to sin.
God is well aware of our weaknesses. However, he doesn’t necessarily see them as liabilities. Instead, he wants to use them for our benefit, other’s benefit, and for his glory. St. Paul knew this. That’s why, in today’s first reading, he wrote, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” Paul admitted his weaknesses and came to accept them as part of God’s plan for his life. God challenges us to do the same with our own.
If we do this, we’ll discover that our weaknesses can serve very useful purposes: They cause us to depend on God instead of ourselves; they keep us from being proud and arrogant; they build community, as they lead us to realize how much we need each other; and they help us to be more sympathetic, compassionate, and understanding people.
We’re asked “What is your greatest weakness?” in job interviews because potential employers want to find out A) What’s wrong with you? and B) How much of a risk are you? The good news is that God already knows what’s wrong with us, and he’s already given us the job of being his disciple. And if we let him, he can turn a great weakness, into a great strength.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/061711.shtml