But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV
We live in a terrible age of comparison, far worse than any that have come before.
My great grandmother had no idea what her friends were doing from minute to minute. She would have had no way of knowing that her best friend from preschool (whom she hadn’t spoken to in over two decades) had moved to Minnesota, started her own business, written a cookbook, and recently completed her fourth 5K.
But I do, and I’m guessing you do, too.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tinder, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Reddit – if it is possible to create another platform upon which we can judge one another and compare ourselves to our peers, rest assured it will be done and given a trendy two-syllable name.
We edit and crop, we filter and stage our lives until every single post paints a picture of perfection.
But we know the truth. We know that our houses, marriages, careers, families, bodies, psyches, and souls are far from perfect. Yet somehow we believe that everyone else is telling the truth, and that their lives are better than ours – that they are better than us.
We feel like frauds and we believe we are the only ones.
So we try harder. We work longer hours, build bigger houses, buy fancier cars and clothes. Or maybe we just fake bigger smiles, stage prettier dinner tables, post more bible verses, or sign up for more volunteer work.
In a world where we feel that perfection is a perquisite to acceptance, it is no wonder that rates of loneliness, depression, and exhaustion are at an all-time high; and it is a great wonder that any of us have been able to accept God’s free gift of love at all.
I’m not sure that this world believes in unconditional love anymore. Who can fathom a God, who would have you as you are? Without contouring, without filters, without pretense?
A God who would love and have you while you still resent your parents, while you scream at your children, while you fail at your job, while you struggle with pornography, while you’re addicted to painkillers, while you entertain thoughts of self-harm?
What kind of God would want that?
Oh my friend, let me tell you.
My God. This God:
I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:32 NIV
...It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Mark 2:17a NIV
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV
While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8b NIV
You are not perfect. You are not enough, and you never will be… but He is.
Stop trying to be perfect in order to earn God’s love. It is an impossible task for two reasons. One, you will never be perfect. And two, you cannot earn what is freely given to you. When you earn something it implies that that thing is owed to you, and God owes us nothing. He gives us everything.
God has not called you to be the best. He has called you to be His.
He doesn’t want you to try harder. He wants you to surrender more.
Give your life to Jesus. Bury it in His. His is the only true perfection.
Jesus, we come to You now as we are – broken, imperfect, and sinful. You know better than we, the depths of our own darkness. We come to You knowing that Your love for us is unmoved by our sins, and completely unchanging. We confess that we have failed You, every day for all of our lives, and we rejoice knowing that You shall never fail us. Forgive us, God. Lead us out of sin, and into the knowledge of Your perfect and unconditional love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen