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In a book entitled “Twelve Lies You Hear In Church”, author Tim Riter has 3 interesting chapter titles:

  • We Must Be Perfect
  • We Can’t Be Perfect
  • I’m Not Perfect, but Compared to Jim, I’m a Saint!

The first statement is about being perfect, like God. Is this possible?  First Pet 1.16: “for it is written: “Be holy as I am holy.” We may certainly never be perfect as God is, but that should not stop us from striving to be holy as much as possible.

The second statement however, recognizes our imperfections even as we strive daily for maturity (Eph 4:13). Paul also says in Rom 3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one..” yet our lifelong journey in sanctification is about being conformed to Jesus our sinless Saviour.

The last one recognizes our imperfections, but resorts to comparisons to excuse any bad behaviour. We may say, “My mother was a worse nagger than I am!” or “You think I’m unpunctual? You should see my boss!” Gal 6:4 says “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to somebody else…” An old poem titled “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann contains a wise line: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

Ultimately all of us are weak and fallible. The entire church, local and universal, is made up of stubborn and rebellious children of God therefore grace is required in all relationships. We may have hurt or been hurt by other believers yet God forgives and is patient with us all.

Indeed Jesus provided a guide for believers to deal with imperfect behaviour. In Matt 18:15-17, Jesus gave his disciples guidance to sort out situations when a brother/sister has sinned against us. It outlines a gradual, measured process intended to lead the sinful person to repentance. However there is a condition: which is “if he listens to you” v 15. The offender needs to humbly own up, take responsibility and renounce the bad behaviour. Spiritual discipline should lead to humble repentance and transformation into godliness for the good of the body of Christ.

Imperfect people called to be perfect like God.  An impossible task! How we need His grace.

Ps Graham

 

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“Like a tree planted by
streams of water,
which yields its fruit in 
season” 

(Psalm 1:3)

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Singapore 737853

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