Take a second to think of the most perfect person (or family) you know or have seen on a media platform. In your mind you think, “they are literally perfect!” They have THE life: the smile, the personality, the style, the family, the brains, the spiritual strength, the looks, the joy, the talents, the success, the opportunities, the friends, and the _____(insert your idea of perfection here)_______.
Let’s renew our mind for a second: NO ONE IS PERFECT.
The great deception is the perception of perfection.
Remember that people will (usually) not broadcast their humanity for the world to see. You look at photos on Instagram and you won’t see their pain, hardship or struggles…
You won’t see the hard day they had.
You won’t see the parent that walked out.
You won’t see the sin they are concealing.
You won’t see the scars from the affair.
You won’t see the verbal abuse they endure.
You won’t see the bullying at school.
You won’t see the way they look at themselves in the mirror.
You won’t see their test results.
You won’t see their depression.
You won’t see their despair after the abortion.
You won’t see their fear of the future.
You won’t see their feelings of betrayal.
You won’t see their bank account in the red.
You won’t see their lonely nights.
You won’t see their racing thoughts.
You won’t hear their cries.
You won’t see their anxiety attacks.
You won’t see the way they were used.
You just won’t see it.
It is what grounds us all. It is our common bond as humans. Each person carries his or her own load of burdens that this life offers. And to be honest, no one wants the burden of having to be perfect all the time! We have witnessed countless celebrities reach their breaking point of having to put on the persona of perfection and “fall off the deep end.” And we have done well to ridicule and look down on them for these breakdowns when we ourselves would probably have done the same thing in their situation. When striving for wisdom, we learn that wisdom says to see mankind for what it is!
“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
There is a danger in putting people on a pedestal. Believing that anyone, and yes I am talking about ANYONE, is above struggling with the temptations, sins and hardships that come with this life will set you up for some serious disappointment. And I have witnessed and experienced the wake up call when God reveals that even your spiritual leaders will fail you at times because THEY ARE STILL HUMAN. Humans with great intentions. But it is far too much pressure and too heavy of a burden to believe that they or you, as Christ followers, cannot and will not fail at times. Never believe that a Christian’s ability reflects how good God is. God is above and far greater than the best of us.
And looking down on someone else in their sin, is your pride refusing to look inwardly at your own heart. I heard this awesome lyric in a song recently and it said, “Even the best men are still men at best.” TRUUUTH! Jesus was the only perfect One, so we need to stop trying and expecting others to be. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with admiring and respecting godly influences, but having a healthy perspective and healthy expectations is so important! There are so many people with great qualities and strengths that God will use to help guide, support and inspire you. Value people by seeing their best parts and understand their humanity when you see their worst ones. Understand the human condition and it will help you love more like Christ. I would be doing you a grave disservice if I allowed you to believe that perfection is an obtainable goal, even when seeking an intimate relationship with the Lord. It would also be a disservice for me to falsely represent myself as a perfect Christian that has figured out this thing called life. All I can do is grow with God a little each day as I walk, wrapped in grace, accepting His love and being honest with you about the things that God has taught me.
“Hope” is the common bond that we have as Christians. And thankfully the truth of our humanity doesn’t have the last condemning word over our lives. I want to remind you of the hope we have in Jesus. He redeems. And He redeems our imperfections by choosing us despite all our junk and messiness. Yet, He loves us too much to leave us that way. There is no pressure to be perfect, because by His grace and loving-kindness He continually perfects us by FAITH (not works) through Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. At church, we recently went through the lineage of Christ and it’s unbelievable how God chose the most scandalous, dysfunctional and messy people to be a part of His family. Only Christ is able to redeem people like you and me and call us a part of His family [READ MATTHEW 1 FOR THE LINEAGE OF CHRIST]. Remember that there is only one Good and perfect One. And it’s not me! Or your pastor. Or your counselor. Or your strong Christian friend. We look to others with eyes of grace and love, with all discernment. Look to God as the PERFECT and perfectly complete example. I promise He won’t fail you.
“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” [PSALM 30:18]