I’m a perfectionist. Once I took a test to determine if I were a perfectionist or not. I was about twelve years old. The score of “1” was the lowest and “10” was the highest. I scored an eleven because I thought one of the questions contained bad grammar—a split infinitive, I think.
Because I’m a perfectionist, I tend to beat myself up when I’m not perfect.
Want to hear an amazing truth? God planned for there to be sin in the world. It didn’t take him by surprise. Our evil, fallen world was part of his original design. Why?
Because a sinful creation glorifies God more than an innocent one ever could. Maybe we need to read that again.
There are things about God’s nature and character that could never be displayed in an innocent, perfect world. One of the most compelling attributes of God is his grace and love. But what displays his grace and love the most? An innocent creation or a sinful one?
What kind of child displays the character of a parent the most, perfect children or rebellious ones? Love for innocent kids is one thing, but love for rebels is quite another. The strongest and most amazing kind of love and grace can only be seen in the context of imperfection.
We would never see the flabbergasting magnificence of God’s forgiveness if creation remained innocent.
The universe could never see the kaleidoscopic beauty of God’s character so long as people were innocent. But as soon as the oxygen of our sin hit the heat of his love, the bonfire of his beauty burst out before our eyes.
A sinful creation displays the glory of God more than an innocent one ever could.
Are you not perfect?
Our imperfection makes room for God’s grace to enter in. We imperfect creatures glorify God more than innocent ones ever could. So, go ahead, don’t be perfect! Because you can’t! You ain’t!
Or, as Martin Luther said in a letter to his friend Philip Melanchton, “Sin boldly!”
Sin boldly does not mean that we can do whatever we want. Rather, it means that no matter what we want, all we can do is sin. Everything we do is sin, no matter how good we think it is. It all falls short because it’s all garbage. Even our best deeds.
Sin boldly, because we cannot be perfect. So we need to stop beating ourselves up for not being what we could never be!
When I beat myself up for not being perfect, it’s like beating myself up because I can’t be an ice cream cone. Why punish myself for something I never was, nor ever could be or do, not even in ten million years? Instead, sin boldly!
Be who you are and have the courage to depend on the grace of God. That’s where the boldness comes in. Do we have the guts to depend on the grace of God? Are we bold enough to admit that we’ll never be perfect and therefore have to rely on the perfection of another?
Sin boldly! And to finish Luther’s quote, “But believe more boldly still.”
When you go to bed tonight, which question are you wrestling with the most: Can I be ice cream? Or Can the perfection of Jesus save me?
One is ridiculous, the other is glorious.
(Learn more from Sam’s new book, Soul Tattoo: A Life and Spirit Bearing the Marks of God, available for preorder now.)