Friday, November 21, 2008

Made to be Imperfect?

Most Christians know of Paul’s admonition to be perfect, even as God is perfect, and most Christians have at one time or another, vacillated between security in faith and wondering if they’ve been perfect enough. It dawned on me this past Wednesday that all our attention on being perfect may by miss-placed.

What if we were meant to be imperfect? Really.

It has been demonstrated that most of us find it hard to be really compassionate, really caring, really empathetic unless and until we have undergone some sort of disappointment, loss, or failure. In the psychology world, and in a few Christian books, the idea of the wounded healer posits that only those who have suffered and worked through it can most adequately “be with” those who are now receiving the blows of life’s realities.

If we are called by God to live in His image, to live in His and with His worldview, His other-centered drives, His compassionate care for the world, how can we really mature into that image if we have never lived outside it? It has been observed that the lessons of life either kill us, or make us stronger. In this case, stronger in faith and character.

Could it be that humans, rather than being created to be perfect, were actually created to be imperfect? Imperfect so that we can learn the vagaries of life, the hurts, the defeats, the griefs of living. Imperfect so that we can learn to be a bit more gentle, a bit more forgiving, a bit more understanding of others’ failures, others’ periods of disorientation, others’ outbursts of anger, and others’ sins.

The implications of this possibility are that we no longer need beat ourselves up for failures. We can learn more readily from Brother Lawrence and his readily giving up his sins to the care of God. We can see our lapses in judgment as opportunities for growth in the Spirit rather than causes for fear.

What would it mean for you if you were made to be imperfect? How would that change your life?

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