I Am Not Perfect

You hear people say that all of the time, “I am not perfect”, and usually in it’s everyday form it is an excuse for something we messed up, often very badly. We are funny creatures we have the peculiar ability to deceive ourselves in an almost infinite variety of ways. If things are going well we have a tendency to think that it is because we are doing something right, in fact we often fantasize that it is because we have a special gift, a genius for getting things right. Well such flights into the realm of perfection are thankfully short lived, for if our heads continued swelling at that rate we would be impossible to live with. Eventually while we are distracted by our own worthiness we will inevitably forget to pay a bill or snub someone we care about and the whole sugar crystal palace of our perfection comes crashing down. Now we have all experienced these false highs and the lows that follow, but I would like to explore the lows for a moment. You see we are often not only distracted by our perfection, we can also fall into the trap of thinking that we are perfectly awful.

When I was a younger man (we are only as old as we think we are, right?) I worked as the assistant manager of a bar, that’s just a fancy way of saying that I kept things stocked and mopped up at night when everyone was gone, inevitably you see vivid examples of this kind of self delusion in a bar. Often, in that atmosphere I got an earful of a customer’s sense of imperfection when they were in their cups and feeling sorry for themselves. At that point when they are going on and on about how they screw everything up, you begin to see that in their attempt to gain sympathy they are also polishing up their claim to perfection, that is as the perfect screw-up.

I am happy to say thirty or so years later that as crummy an experience as that may have been, it had an important lesson attached, that truly, nobody is perfect, and furthermore no human, at least now days is perfectly bad.

This is born out by the fact that, as bad as we might be, and we have the capacity to be very bad indeed, we still have the ability to choose to do good. It is like a little gift from God, for if we were truly perfect in evil there would be no point in going on and trying to do the right thing. Yet God in His wisdom allowed us to be imperfect at both ends of the spectrum. The very fact that we are free to choose insures that we are not helplessly frozen in a nightmare of evil. Now I know that there may be people who have consistently chosen the dark side, but remember they did not have to choose that, they could just as easily chosen to do something good. Ultimately it is for God to judge people’s choices and their motives.

People who purposely choose to do wrong may be pursuing a different kind of perfection, fortunately perfect evil is just as hard to attain as perfect good, although I would say that our natural inclinations might give us a slight advantage in that area. In His mercy God has kept us from being able to become un-redeemable, as long as there is breath in our nostrils we can turn around and seek God.

So next time you are tempted to sit in a corner with your nose to the wall and wail about how badly you have screwed up, remember “nobody’s perfect”.
Thank God.

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5 Comments on “I Am Not Perfect”

  1. Mike Says:

    I enjoy reading the Psalms every now and then. Over the years it finally dawned on me that even David struggled with this. One of my favorite verses in the Psalms is the one where David says, ‘In my prosperity, I said I will never be moved. You did but hide your face and I was troubled.’

    Even our frame of mind is in His hands, and even David thought when things were going well that they would always go well – that He could conquer the world – and then he would swing to the other side of desperation and despair.

    I had never really thought about it before, but in a Bible study one time, a doctor referred to him as being manic depressive. I guess to a degree many of us are.

    • Nathan Says:

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks for dropping by, I love the Psalms and I love the fact that David had so many ups and downs (I wouldn’t go as far as manic depression, because it seems to me that David’s mood suited the many varied occasions he experienced) it is cool when you consider that God doesn’t mind us yelling at Him or being bummed out despite His many blessings. I think the greatest lesson in the Psalms is that we don’t have to speak to Him in Elizabethan English (David certainly didn’t) and that speaking to and hearing from God is not a formal occasion, but an everyday thing. There are even some of the Psalms in which you can tell that David wrote how he felt and then he wrote down what God told him in reply. This is the model I use and recommend for journalling. To sit quietly with Him and record what he tells you, it is wonderful!

  2. Mike Says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. All would benefit from wrestling things out with Him.

  3. cindyinsd Says:

    Hey, Nathan

    I finally have a day off! Excellent post. Of course, I’m going to pick on one little picky thing . . . are you sure that we do have that choice before we are redeemed, before we become new creations in Christ?

    Paul says we’re slaves to sin in our pre-Jesus state. It’s our death in Him, with the sin and the law nailed to the cross along with our Lord and us within Him (put there by God), and our resurrection (spiritually) with Him that gives us this freedom.

    Of course anyone can choose not to do this or that in a limited sense, but we can’t choose what we are if we’re slaves to the system of this world. We’re in darkness and in the end, helpless to fulfill the law. No one has ever done it but Jesus, and He did it through the indwelling Father.

    Blessings and sisterly love,

    Cindy

    • Nathan Says:

      Hey Cindy,

      Yeah, I know the election thing is a difficult nut to crack, but I have always considered God to be giving everyone a chance at sometime or other, steeped in sin though we are, He works on all of us, but the ones who have hearts, (I guess they would be the elect) really get a working over. For example very time I hit bottom so hard that I bounced in my life, I usually ended up closer to God.

      So since I do not know who is chosen or not I must consider the possibility that the orneriest, most hateful person I have ever met is not beyond redemption. It is likely that some folks would have considered me to be too far gone at one time or another.

      It occurred to me the other day that Jesus underscored free will when he said to go preach the gospel to everyone. After all turning to God after one has heard the gospel is certainly an act of will.

      Right back at ya in agape
      Nathan


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