All of us want to be good and perfect or to be seen by others to be so. Unfortunately, the moment we are successful in doing good, we fail as pride creeps in and the good we do become the enemy of the best that God wants for us. This is the result of our sinful human nature which has been well documented by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans:
"The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead I do what I hate."
The harder we try to be perfect, the more imperfect we become. I was reminded by Rev Jenni Ho-Huan in the daily devotion for Lent today that "we must confess that not only are we disappointed with others; we have often disappointed others too. When we look at our lives and our churches, sometimes we can get disheartened."
But the good news is that we are imperfectly perfect when we are in Jesus Christ. Each one of us is unique and special in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. Our problems stem from our tendency to compare ourselves or loved one's with others.
Shauna Niequist perceptively noted that we compare ourselves to another person, we always lose, and the other person also loses at the same time. She drew attention to the truth that "each of us has been created by the hands of a holy God. Our stories and the twists and turns of our lives, the things that are hard for us and the things that come naturally are as unique to us as our own fingerprints."
And so the surest way to have a miserable life is to measure our lives by the lives of others instead of giving thanks for the blessings in our lives. We fill our minds with resentment when we complain instead of seeking to be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. We fill our hearts with hatred when we condemn instead of being the channels of love by trying to understand one another. We waste our time criticizing others instead of spending time examining ourselves. We compound the problems in society when we condone wrongdoing instead of speaking the truth in love.
Jesus came to set us free from our sinful nature so that we can live as the imperfectly perfect children of God with our hearts filled with His love by the Holy Spirit. The opening song of the movie, Joyful Noises, makes the point that "there's not enough love in our hearts." It is therefore so important to keep our hearts in tune with God so that the melody of God's love will be the song of our lives.