A thorn in the flesh is precisely what we all need to heal our relationships. We are broken, competitive, and needy people. A thorn in the flesh provides humility. As long as the thorn is in our side, then we feel discomfort. The discomfort creates awareness that we are not 100% and need help from something bigger than ourselves. That something is the Holy Spirit.
If we allow ourselves to receive the Spirit, then we can muster up enough energy and thrive. We achieve success, progressively realizing a worthy ideal, humbly. The thorn is just enough to temper our ego and let not our will, but His be done. The thorn helps us to align our desires and requests with His will. The thorn empowers us to overcome any apprehension that would stop us from doing what the Holy Spirit calls us to do.
The Holy Spirit wants us to be part of the world that He made and loves immensely. The thorn in our flesh is of our own doing because our purpose and identity were once extrinsically linked to how the world operates. Now, that very thorn helps us to detach from worldly thinking so that we can confront the world with the fruit of love in our lives, for the fruit of the Spirit is love.
This type of love enables us to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s the only type of love that can heal, restore, and build healthy relationships. It’s the only type of love that can bring unity to our society. There’s a beautiful irony that the very thorn the world stuck in our flesh is the same thorn that can be used for the good of the world. That thorn gives us the right dose of humility for the Spirit’s love to flourish in our hearts.
This love is neighborly love. It reveals the secret thread that forges friendship despite enormous differences in class, temperament, culture, race, sensibility, and personal history. Friendship that is about something. An underlying commonality that builds the most powerful, cohesive team. Our commitment to express neighborly love is only possible after we are humbled by a thorn in the flesh.