Imperfection is everywhere. The flower is imperfect. People are imperfect - faulty or incomplete.
Galatians 2:9-13 records Paul’s view of a disagreement that occurred between himself, Peter (Cephas), Barnabas and others. Paul says, “But when Cephas came to Antioch, there was a problem. I got in his face and exposed him in front of everyone. He was clearly wrong” That sounds like quite the happening. Here was the problem, as seen through Paul’s eyes. “Here is what was going on: before certain people from James arrived, Cephas used to share meals with the Gentile outsiders. And then, after they showed up, Cephas suddenly became aloof and distanced himself from the outsiders because he was afraid of those believers who thought circumcision was necessary.” Paul’s message was one of salvation by grace alone, not by works like circumcision and obeying Jewish laws regarding food and other customs. The result of the confrontation appears to be a complete separation between Barnabas and Paul even though they had worked together for about 15 years.
Hmmm - isn’t this the same guy who taught on love, forgiveness, fruit of the spirit, and avoiding divisions between believers? Yes, it was. Here’s what I like about the story. Paul was not perfect. Neither were Cephas or Barnabas. In fact, if you start in Genesis and work your way through the Bible, you will see it is full of messed up sinners. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Cain killed his own brother. Sarah laughed at God’s promise. Lot was just a general mess and so were his daughters. Isaac lied about Rebecca being his wife. Joseph’s brothers dumped him in a pit because they were jealous of him. This all just in Genesis. It goes on. David was a murderer and adulterer.
The great thing about these honest accounts is that they give us hope. I am imperfect. I get mad when I shouldn’t. I judge. I do stupid things. When I look back at my past, I see things I did and believed that I wish I could undo. My basic beliefs have not changed, but they have certainly been adjusted as experience and life caused me to see things in a new light. I know that right and wrong exist and I know that God is a just God. However, He loved every one of these faulty people. God saw something in them and extended His grace, allowing them to learn and grow. I would not have chosen Saul, who became Paul, as my next great leader! David deserved to be impeached and removed from office for adultery and murder! Good thing I’m not in charge.
Years ago I was praying and telling God why I hated a particular person. I had a great, justifiable reason for hating that person and was busy informing God about it - again. As I prayed, a voice spoke - are you a new creation in Me or not? The first time, I ignored it. After all, God and I were not here to talk about me. We were here to discuss the person who had hurt me so deeply. I continued on. The voice came again - Are you a new creation in Me or not? I knew what was coming but chose to ignore it and continue pouring my heart out with my sad story. The third time - Are you a new creation in Me or not? At that point, I broke. I knew. The Holy Spirit was doing His job of convicting and teaching me. I knew I had to forgive this person and realize that I was no better. Yes, the person who was supposed to love and nurture me had done the opposite and had hurt me repeatedly and deeply for most of my life. However, that was before I had accepted Christ as my Savior and been born again. I am supposed to be a new person so why am I dragging the past around with me and using it as an excuse for self-pity?
I’m sure you get the point. My failure to appreciate God’s forgiveness and to be free from the past was wrong. I was wrong. Yes, the other person was also, but I had to leave that in God’s hands and start living as He wants me to live. I’m imperfect but God didn’t just reject me. He loves us all and allows our imperfections to be moments of instruction and change. So, when there is an “imperfect” person in your life, try to see them differently. God still loves them and He still loves you! I think Lot was a mess, but in the New Testament, he was referred to as a “righteous” man! We are in an imperfect (incomplete) state here on earth. God sees us as we will and should be, not just as we are. God does not see as man sees and aren’t we all grateful for that?