I have a great disappointment in life. Actually I have several disappointments that will occasionally come to mind and get me down. Things like the fact that I didn’t get into UVA… I quit serious ballet training too early… I didn’t study in England when I had the chance.
But there is one disappointment that overshadows all the other minor disappointments that lurk in my past. Here it is: I am seriously disappointed that I am not perfect. I mean really disappointed.
If I were perfect, my life would be so much easier. I would never have to apologize for hurting a friend’s feelings. I would never have to see the look in my daughter’s eyes when I lose my temper. I would never be the problem in my marriage. I would never look foolish. Or make mistakes. Or have to admit I’m wrong.
I could stand strong and securely, with a serene smile on my face, knowing that I am living life well, setting a good example for my children, and handling whatever comes my way with grace.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
But, if I’m honest, there’s a problem with this daydream (other than it being completely impossible). True, if I were perfect, I wouldn’t ever need to feel embarrassment or shame or regret. But there is something else I would never need…
Life without Jesus. Hmmm… That would mean life without love, peace, or joy. No purpose or calling or end goal. No real relationships. No… Him.
OK, that’s not an option.
I can’t live without Him.
So rather than trying to tune my life to my own unattainable perfection, I think I’d better go ahead and live life according the rhythm of the gospel, the rhythm that is becoming easier and easier for me to hear. The rhythm that reminds me…
Jesus is the only one who has ever lived a perfect life. Perfection, as the result of my own efforts, is not an option for me.
I am sinful. I mess up. I don’t love people as well as I would like. I lose my temper and set a bad example. I am often the problem in my relationships.
But because of Jesus’s perfect life and sinless death in my place, he has done for me what I could never do for myself. He has lived the perfect life and died the death that I deserved, taking my punishment and setting me free. Because of this, I have the freedom to admit my sin. I have the freedom to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. And I have the unbelievable privilege of being forgiven.
In short, with Jesus, I have the freedom to not be perfect.
There is no disappointment in that.