Hands up anyone who is imperfect …….
Of course, anyone who didn’t put a hand up is full of pride and has therefore fallen from a state of perfection, so you can put your hand up too!
Now that we all have our hands up, I thought we would just go round the room and tell everyone what our imperfections are. Does that sound like a good idea?
Maybe not, eh?
Perfection is actually a really difficult topic, and one that I think we would all really get in a mess with. If we had to start talking openly about ALL of our own imperfections, I think we would all be finding ways of justifying ourselves, or making them smaller, or blaming others. Maybe we would say that even though we are imperfect we aren’t as bad as him, or her, or them.
There are maybe more than one imperfection or type of imperfection in each of us:
- There are things that we do that we know we shouldn’t, but we find it difficult to stop.
- There are things that we do that are perhaps a result of something that happened to us way back, maybe in our childhood.
- There are maybe things that we do that we hate doing, but can’t stop, or things that we like doing and won’t to stop.
- There are probably things that we don’t even know we are doing.
- There are maybe things that we hope nobody ever knows that we are doing!
There are probably more categories but, in a way, categorising our imperfections is just a way of explaining and defending them.
There is also another type of imperfection which we maybe don’t even realise. It’s the way we do ourselves down. We think that we are imperfect, faulty.
Believe it or not, I’m always doing it. I was brought up to succeed. I was always encouraged to be the best, to be the top of the class. I know that in a lot of things I do excel, or I’m pretty good at. Sometimes I think I’m really amazing, a super-duper guy, admired by everyone. And then something goes wrong – and I then beat myself up because I am a total failure. Even though I have achieved quite a lot in my life, at that moment in time I am an utter failure.
I know that I’m not good enough, and I look at other people and think how much better they are than I. But I suppose that that is exactly where Satan wants me to be! It’s very easy to compare myself with others or with perfection and see how awful I am!
Then I look at really special people and I’m totally amazed. If I feel puny against other people, how minuscule I feel against the greats!
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leapt within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honoured, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.
(Luke 1:39-49 NLT)
Mary is an example – a wee girl, a lowly servant girl – and all nations will call her blessed! After all, she carried the baby Jesus inside her, so she should be held in high regard! She is so special – she readily accepts what the angel tells her and moves into the role which God has given her, without a single doubt, without a complaint and with no buts…
But then God reminds me of something. He tells me that he sent the Holy Spirit to me, that I can be filled with his Holy Spirit. I am a carrier too! I have my imperfections, my failures and my sin. God sees them and uses them; he takes away my sin – ALL my imperfections. He didn’t choose me because I was perfect: he chose me because I am me. He took notice of me and has plans for me.
I should not compare myself to others – I just need to compare myself to the me he wants me to be and when I fall short of that, I should not call myself unworthy – all I have to do is seek forgiveness and to strive harder to be worthy. I am only unworthy when I stop trying to be worthy. That’s what Peter did after he had denied Jesus three times – he didn’t focus on his failure, but moved into his purpose.
I am chosen, just as Mary was chosen. I have a purpose, just as Peter had a purpose. God is the I AM, and I am me.
And you are you. You are the only you on earth, and the only you that there will ever be.
We are all great at saying that no one is perfect, and I think we all say that at some point in defence of our imperfections and as a justification for our inabilities and failures. The Bible tells us differently, though.
For a start, Jesus tells us to be perfect –
But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matt 5:48)
Remember that all our past imperfections, or sins, can be wiped out, because in Luke 24:47 we are told
‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
And when we think we cannot stay perfect and be perfect because of our inabilities, Paul tells us
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Compared to others, we might not think we are very good. We might think that we are imperfect, perhaps even insignificant. It’s not what we, or others, think that counts, though.
What counts is that Jesus thinks we can be perfect – or he wouldn’t tell us to be perfect. What counts is that, because of the strength that Jesus gives us, we can do EVERTHING!
That means that we can be really quite amazing! We can be perfect and do everything! That means you too! That means that, compared to others, you can be really, really special!