Recently, I’ve been thinking about the issue of mercy and forgiveness and perfection. The Lord has been showing me that His idea of perfection is vastly different from the world’s definition—or even my own personal definition.
The world says you have to be perfect in every way, the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect employee, etc. You have to be the perfect homemaker with a spotless house at all times, especially if people drop in with no notice. You have to be a gourmet chef making nutritious and delicious meals daily that everyone loves. Your children have to like vegetables (seriously?!). You also have to look perfect, with the world’s idea of a beautiful, flawless face and perfect body. (Don’t forget you must have perfect hair too!) You have to act perfect, never getting upset over anything at all, unless it would be politically correct to do so. You have to be brilliant, always having the right answer, able to do something new exactly right the very first time. You have to be talented, able to play several instruments—with no previous training! You have to be athletic, no klutzes allowed! Frankly, it’s a bit ridiculous. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that you are somehow of lesser worth if you don’t fit this impossible profile.
God’s idea of perfection is vastly different. His idea of perfect is simply…beautiful.
II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
God’s idea of perfect can be found in studying and applying Scripture. His idea of perfection is having us be ‘thoroughly furnished unto all good works’. He wants our focus to be not on ourselves, but on ministering to others. He wants us to be holy, set apart, a beacon of light to a lost and hopeless world. He wants us to align ourselves and our lives with Him and His ways. What are His ways? He forgives. He loves. He changes us and makes us better, right. He gives hope—here and in the life to come. Through His Word (the Bible) and walking daily in a close personal relationship with Him we can learn how to truly live a life worth living.
II Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
We are to reflect His image. Like a mirror, we are to reflect Jesus to the world. We are to reflect His very glory. As we become more and more like Him, we are daily better reflecting His glory, from glory to glory.
However, a mirror can reflect nothing if it is faced the wrong way. As mirrors, we must continually turn our ‘mirrors’, our lives to face Him so we can reflect Him to the world. When we fail, instead of beating ourselves up, we must confess our wrong-doing, ask for forgiveness, and then simply ask the Lord what He would have us do next. Again, instead of reflecting our failure, we need to reflect Him. That is His mercy. And that is where we can find mercy.