“What do you expect? Sinners sin.” – Unnamed Pastor, 2001
Struggling with disappointment in others and in myself seems to be a never-ending theme in my life. Deep in my heart and in my mind has always been the very keen awareness that there does exist somewhere perfection.
The concept of perfection is set deep in all of our consciousness. We all know things were supposed to be perfect but they aren’t. Some people seem to be able to cope better in this imperfect world whereas people like myself take imperfection very personally (and sometimes hard).
In myself, I have a strong desire to live in a very perfect and systematized world where I go to the cupboard, open it, and find exactly what I need and instantly because it’s perfectly organized. When I leave the cupboard, it should close by itself because why would a cupboard that doesn’t close itself even exist in a perfect world? It simply wouldn’t. I desire also that the food items in the fridge would be in a perfect rotation (like what you would have in a retail environment) so that old food moves to the front so that food wastage is reduced to zero. My alarm would always work perfectly and I would always be up before 4am so that I could maximize the day – reading my Bible and spending time in prayer so that I would then have the strength to go to my wife and kids, and love them with all that I have – encouraging them and being a great inspiration to them.
I would then start my day and I would call people, leave them a message of value, and they would call me back when they got my message. The suppliers that I work with would supply everything on time and the communication would always be predictable. Inside the company, everyone would be on the same page and things would never have to be repeated twice because even children don’t require that kind of babysitting usually. One email sent would conclude the matter and I could move on. Balls would not get dropped because everyone else also wants a perfect world, surely. Surely it’s not just me who wants a perfect world and a world without fights and tension.
In all facets of life, when something is communicated transparently and clearly such as ‘this is very important to me’ then no person would throw that aside and do exactly what would upset or hurt me because I have clearly explained to them how to not upset or hurt me. I made it impossible for them to hurt me…
Yet everything and everyone is broken.
Broken, broken, broken.
Imperfect, screwed up and lost.
Yes. Including me – as much as I despise the thought of being ‘one of them’.
How can I possibly live like this?
How can I go on?
How can I not quit and get into despair and depression?
Everything is so, so broken.
Thankfully, there is hope and with this hope, I write the rest of this really to encourage myself. I hope that as I write this next part that someone else also benefits from what I believe will be deep revelation.
You can (and should) read about how there was a time when humans walked in the earth in perfection. They didn’t fight, they walked in the cool of the day with God and they had dominion over nature. Things were perfect.
But all men are sinners, thanks to Adam/Eve making a poor life choice. Here is exactly how bad it is. Read it. Soak it in. Really get a grasp on this reality:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10-18, 23)
And so we have a pre-programmed hunger for that Garden of Eden perfection, yet we live in broken vessels full of wickedness. Here is how we live now:
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)
We *know* God is out there. And we *know* He is perfect. His creation all around it *proves* it beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Even our own minds have gone dark:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Rom 1:21)
And so this life remains a balance between grace and longing. We long to be with our Creator in perfect perfection forever, yet we need His grace to get there. Once we have this grace we can then possibly have the grace required to deal with others around us. Once we realize this incredible brokenness and weakness we are living in, it’s very difficult to expect others to be perfect. In fact, you would be downright surprised when they get anything right, or do anything good.
I’ll never forget this one time when I approached a pastor to vent my incredible disappointment towards someone. He asked me “Is he a believer?” I replied “No.” He then said the most simple thing that has helped me ever since when he replied back “Sinners sin. That’s what they do.”
He was perfectly right. Our very nature is full to the brim of sin. Our only desire is wickedness and selfishness and our programming code is so messed up that all we know to do is wickedness.
Lately, I have decided to make this whole thing much more simple for myself. When dealing with myself and all the disappointments I have in myself, I’m going to remind myself that I’m not perfect, and that although it’s ok to long for perfection, it’s not ok to expect it on earth. I’m also going to spend more time asking God to totally change my nature. I know that it is a biblical promise for this change, and I need it real bad. The more that God changes my nature to be like him, the more grace I will have towards myself and others. Here is the promise onto which I firmly grasp:
Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Until then, I’m going to simply one step further. I’m going to look at every person, no matter who they are and their background or current status in the world and say:
“Look at this poor, broken vessel. How much God loves this person and how much God wants to start the work of transformation him/her! But this person is broken and unable to do even the things they want to do. They, like me, fail themselves daily and others. When they fail you or disappoint you, never forget they are broken. God, help me to love them just as they are and help me, a broken vessel, deal with them the best I can with your strength.”
A to the MEN!
Psalm 19, as follows and noted in this summary article is a very tough scripture to read and hold onto a globe earth model:
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which [is] as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, [and] rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth [is] from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. (Psalm 19:4-6)
To begin the scripture we have a clear reference to the ‘end’ of the physical world. On a globe earth model, there are no ‘ends’ and you are supposed to be able to start at one point on the earth and complete a full circuit (circumnavigation). Since neither I, nor anyone I know, nor anyone they know has ever done this trip, I am unable to verify it first hand. Furthermore, it also requires faith that the globe earth map that we have been presented by popular sources, is in fact the truth. If you alter the map, you can alter your trips.
All I can be sure of, is that the Bible says here that the measuring line is able to reach the ‘ends of the world’ – a clear point of termination or a border/outskirt. Balls don’t have these.
The scriptures then go on to say that ‘in them’ He hath set a tabernacle for the sun. So, within the parameters of these borders of the earth, God has put in place a tent-like structure (“the heavens”?) in which the sun does its thing and moves. It seems that this tabernacle forms the limits to which the sun moves in. It does not say that it is flying through the limitless expanse of the vacuum of outer space, nor is there any reference to this that I can reasonably extract.
Next, the scriptures say:
Try as I might, but I am unable to interpret this scripture as anything other than:
- Heaven (the visible heavens) has an end/extremity
- The sun follows a circuit.
- The circuit mirrors the borders of the terminating edges of the heavens, or ends there and then loops back
- at some point during this circuit everything (that matters) is affected by the thermal heat
I love God’s word. All of it. Some of it, I will indeed be asking Him directly about one day for the full revelation but for now, while I’m sporting my patented Glasses Darkly, I only get a little glimpse.
Today I was reading this unique chunk of spiritual revelation. It occurred seconds after Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested by a big throng of meat heads (or whatever term you choose to label them with):
And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about [his] naked [body]; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. (Mark 14:50-52)
I can really visualize this scene. It’s very vivid. All these ‘disciples’ who said ‘I would die before leaving you, Jesus!” run away at the first realization that things might get tricky for them and their Freedom 55 plan reduced in value. But this one chap (name withheld obviously for privacy and security reasons), not only runs, but runs away naked.
Now that’s some serious fear (with a side order of shame).
This dude operated out of pure fear and even chose the shame of nakedness to make sure he left Jesus in the dust sparing his own life.
And so I sat there and meditated on the Word of God…
…Isn’t it cool how this is the Word of God and you are encouraged to meditate on it??
Then, suddenly, it came to me! This dude wasn’t the only dude in the Bible to flee someone naked – Joseph did way back in Genesis:
And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what [is] with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; [There is] none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou [art] his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, [or] to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that [Joseph] went into the house to do his business; and [there was] none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. (Genesis 39: 7-12)
Do you see the spiritual revelation? There are two ways you can flee naked:
- in fear
- in faith
Joseph chose the best way. He fled naked in earthly shame, but in reverence of God and God’s righteousness and God turned his naked shame into unspeakable earthly glory (quite a while later and after some nasty ol’ time in prison). The great news for the scared naked disciple who left Jesus in the dust is that God is super graceful and gracious. Jesus died so that this guy never has to run away in fear again – whether naked or fully clothed.
Fear is defeated on the cross.
How will you run away naked today?