Grace Embraces our Shortcomings

Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book [amazon_link id=”078521318X” target=”_blank” ]Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy[/amazon_link] says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara.

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.

Grace for salvation comes when we give up our own efforts to meet God’s perfect standard and accept Christ’s gift of doing it on our behalf.

This is not a problem. All of us gladly tell stories of how messed up we were before we came to faith in Christ.

But somewhere after the salvation prayer, we embrace the “perfect, have it all together” exterior mask we see modeled in both the pulpit and the pews.

I’m not advocating a TMI (too much information) fest within the body of Christ.

But where are the real examples of trying to figure out this journey of Christianity?

In the mission I work in, we hear many stories of faith and “hearing the voice of God” in radical, success filled ways. This is wonderful and faith-building.

But how about a few stories of blowing it?

One of the most talked about testimonies on our local campus is one my wife shared of missing it.

Several years ago, she felt challenged to evangelize more and trust God for words of knowledge to lead people to Christ. At the grocery store, she felt she had a word for someone.

She delivered this word expecting light to shine from heaven and this women to be pierced to the heart. Instead, the woman looked at her as if crazy and said, “That is not me at all!”

When my wife shared this story of stepping out but failing, the response she received was greater than stories of victory. People were hungry to see someone like them, rather than someone who had it all together.

Do we disciple people in having it all together, or model broken people slowly and faithfully working through their shortcomings to move closer to Christ’s standard?

Grace for growth in our lives comes when we admit we do not have the “stick-to-it-ness” or the “try-hard-enough-ness” to change ourselves.

Perhaps our faith would be more attractive to non believers if they saw people more like themselves. This is not in a TMI sort of way, and certainly not a “do whatever you want“, use grace as an excuse sort of way! Truly understanding grace leads people closer to God and not farther away.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 1 Corinthians 12:9-10

Photo by Keith Wickramaskara