For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
So many theological concepts teach us that we are a fallen people, broken and subject to total depravity. I have to admit that a part of me really resonates with the piece of the gospel that tells me I am not perfect. And though being reminded of my imperfection seems like a good idea, it doesn’t always feel like the most empowering way to live life. I understand and agree that we are an imperfect people and that is an important part of human identity, but aren’t we supposed to rise up and fight it? And though there is imperfection within these human walls, there too is perfection. If God really does reside within us and God is perfect, are we capable of being perfect too?
I’m learning to linger in the grey areas and not see the world in black and white anymore. I’m learning to not see humans as only fallen creatures nor celestial beings, but as something in between. Maybe we have moments of greatness and failure instead of being all perfect all of the time or all imperfect all of the time. I’m also learning that neither a single moment of goodness nor a single moment of failure defines me—one good deed doesn’t save me.
We are given opportunities to make decisions and react in moments in which we have the chance to be perfect by doing and saying the right things at the right times. But that also means we have the chance to be imperfect and say and do the opposite of what is best. I’ve seen people acting imperfectly. I’ve seen people exchanging cruel words with each other. I’ve seen people get lost in consumerism, vanity or over and under eating. But I’ve also seen the same people behave in undeniable perfection. I’ve seen a friend be there for another and listening to the other person’s troubles instead of commenting or giving instruction. I’ve seen people delight in lying in a grassy field gazing at stars. I’ve seen people behaving perfectly.
I can remember times where someone did something perfect for me. Sometimes these perfect reactions were during times of heartbreak and loss and other times were during great periods of bliss. I think that this is Jesus in people. The actions manifested by these people were perfect and godly. These people became like Jesus in the moment. They saved me from pain and rejoiced in my gladness.
When I think about great love stories, both real and fiction, time and time again I see people helping save other people in tough situations. People can save others from cynicism, despair, loneliness, death and a whole world of other things. People helping to save other people—this isn’t neglecting giving credit to God, but rather enabling people to do good and reminding us that we are vessels of the Holy Spirit. I think it might be more helpful to be reminded of God’s presence in human form rather than dwelling on our shortcomings.
If we are called to be Christ-like people, we are called to be perfect. We are called to react in perfect ways in moments, but we fall short. Falling short of perfection is something I think is worthy of fighting against, but there are a few things that I am going to fight for. Though I’ll continue to fight against my own personal imperfection, I’m going to really pour my energy into fighting for everything that is holy, good or has soul. I want to be defined by the things I believe in rather than the things I am against.
Lord, thank You for making a way for me to be perfect. I am flawed without You, but through Your wisdom and power You make me whole and perfect. Thank you for this gift.