I felt so sorry for my friend when she told me that this was her dad’s response to her English test grade. Even though the bright red A+ on the top of her paper declared a victory in her envious classmates’ eyes, her father only noticed that a 96% score had fallen short of perfection.
It really is a mindset, isn’t it? Some see the glass as half full and some see it as half empty, but 96% is way above half empty. Ninety-six percent . . . that is almost as close to full as one can get. I truly believe that this push and focus on perfection is a tactic the enemy uses to steal our joy. I can have a stomach full of food, a warm and clean bed to sleep in, and a family that loves me, but I’m tempted to be frustrated about life because my car is in the shop or the cable TV is out.
And it’s not just my surroundings that I am wanting to be perfect. How about our measuring stick that we glance at to decide if we ourselves are measuring up? Oh sure, we have completed a successful day at our jobs, the kids have been fed, and our spouse seems to be content with us, and yet that load of unfolded clothes lying on the couch is mocking us. You didn’t get it all done today, it taunts. Our heavenly Father has never asked us to aim for perfection. In fact, in our own strength we will miss perfection every time.
That’s where the good news comes in. The Bible tells us that in our weakness He is strong.
When Jesus walked this earth, He taught freedom from having to be absolutely perfect in our human behavior. As the people surrounded Him on hillsides and lake shorelines, they were drawn to His messages of hope and of a life free from human performance and detailed rules that can’t be upheld. That is why the Pharisees were immensely upset with Jesus; He was offering a relationship with God, not a long list of rules. He was stirring things up by saying “Your good works are like filthy rags.”
Jesus’s entire life, death, and resurrection shouted to those who were trying to meet the requirements of the law that human perfection is not what God was requiring. He was introducing us to our God who accepts us with all of our weaknesses and human shortcomings. He was inviting us to know a flawless God and be in relationship with Him even while we were still flawed. Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, God sees His children as 100% whole, nothing missing or broken.
You may not feel whole today, but I want to encourage you that all that you need or will ever need is found in a relationship with Christ. Your heavenly Father does not judge you or score you. In fact, He says, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He is reaching His hand out to you today. You can trust Him with your heart and life. He is not a critical father but a loving Daddy who loved us so very much that He sent His only Son (John 3:16).
I’m ready to let go of wanting my surroundings and my performance to be perfect. How about you?