Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, “Wow, they sure have a lot of flaws?” Perhaps their social skills were rusty and they talked way too loudly. Or maybe they needed to polish their personal hygiene regimen since it seemed their body odor lingered a mile away. It could be that the person you were examining simply had no ambition, unwilling to do anything productive with their life. Or they could be someone who has been given the gift of a family, yet they take their loved ones for granted. It is always easy to notice someone’s faults. Our tendency to focus on a person’s shortcomings often prevents us from seeing their true potential. Thankfully, God sees the potential in all of us. He looks past our overwhelming flaws and into the depths of our heart.
When I think of the word “flawed,” I think back to a program I recently saw on television titled, The Big Waste. The premise of the show was to reveal how much edible food is wasted in the United States each year. I was saddened to see the vast quantities of food that are thrown away every single day. Farmers leave behind mountains of edible items, produce stands discard anything with a blemish, and grocery stores throw away items even if they are only one day past their date. A few weeks later, I found myself purposefully choosing a not-so-perfect tomato at the grocery store, with the knowledge that it would likely be thrown away if I did not volunteer to take it home with me. But this tomato just had one bad spot and the rest was flawless.
This tomato has a lot in common with you and me. The last time you went to the produce section in the grocery store, were you able to find a perfectly round, spot-free tomato? There are tomatoes with warped shapes, soft spots, and blemishes that come in nearly every color of the rainbow. Finding the perfect tomato is virtually impossible. Just as you will not find the truly “perfect” tomato, you will not find a perfect human being either. Romans 3:23 (NIV) says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God’s Word doesn’t say that one or two people have sinned. It says that we have all sinned. None of us are perfect. Not one of us is without blemish. All of us have imperfections; all of us are flawed in some way. But because of God’s unmerited favor, He loves us, despite our many flaws.
I am reminded of the woman in the Bible who had committed adultery. She was sentenced to be stoned as a result of her actions. Jesus did not condemn her, but instead, He said to those gathered around her, “‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’” (John 8:7 NIV). People began, one by one, to walk away. Soon, everyone was gone, except Jesus and this woman. Jesus questioned her, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’” (John 8:10 NIV). Upon seeing no one, she told Jesus that no one was there to condemn her. “‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:11 NIV). You see, Jesus didn’t approve of her actions. But He saw beyond her outward appearance and sinful choices. He knew that she had potential. He knew that she was not past repair. He knew that her imperfections could be erased through the unfailing grace of God.
Are you in a similar situation in your life? Have you done something that you feel is unforgiveable? Maybe you are like the woman who committed adultery, or maybe you are physically or verbally abusing someone else. Or perhaps you lied to a friend, or you may be struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or some other negative influence on your life. It doesn’t matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter where you have been. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. Jesus Christ loves you. He wants you to know that through God’s unmerited favor and everlasting grace, you are loved. You are adored by the Savior of the world, even with your spots, blemishes, and imperfections. Just like each shiny or not-so-shiny red tomato, Jesus created you as a unique, special individual. Sure, you may be flawed, but to God, you are perfect.
In Christ’s Love,
Monday, March 5, 2012