Thursday, April 24, 2008

Perfect or Whole?

Lately I have been a part of many discussions about perfection.

As a result of these discussions, I decided to post part of an email I sent to a precious new friend of mine.

Ruth has forever been one my most favorite books of the bible. A couple of years ago I taught this book at my home church. An incredible group of women assembled for this study. If ever I believed God gave me a message to share it was in that season. During one of the group sessions I broke a clay pot with a towel-covered hammer as an illustration of how we are often broken. Even as I carried out that illustration I was experiencing brokenness in my own life. My life was splintered...and the shards were scattered.

In Ruth, Naomi was broken to shards...her life was shattered. She had to leave her home, go to a foreign country, her sons married foreign wives, her sons died, her husband died..and she was left with two foreign daughters-in-law. One of those left her also.

Many think the book of Ruth is just about Ruth. In some ways it is, but the sub-plot (and just as important or maybe more so) is how God makes Naomi WHOLE again. Piece by piece he restores her...her life does not look exactly the same. But at the end of the book we see Naomi--restored and whole.

I have struggled with perfectionism all my life. And I have really fought this demon over the past year. All my preconceived notions of what a Christ-follower looks like have been altered. I once believed Christians do not get divorced. Maybe in a perfect world. But I am not perfect. I cannot attain the kind of perfection the world or the religious community expects.

But you see God is quite merciful...and through the past year he has been showing me that his definitions of perfection are always different.

The original words for perfection in Scripture have the underlying meaning of wholeness and completeness. I can be perfect by this definition.

God will perfect me--he is making me whole. And, friends, he will make you whole.

God will take all the shards--and I told the Ruth group--he numbers them so that not one piece is lost or unaccounted. And he uses these very pieces to make us complete.

We (our lives) may not look the same; we may look utterly different, but I guarantee if God puts the pieces back together we will be perfected as he wants us to be.

What will it be for you?

Whole or perfect?

1 comment:

Mac Goddard said...

I am really glad that He numbers the pieces, as mine are many--worse than any jigsaw puzzle I have ever seen--and I would hate for one of them to become lost!
Excellent and powerful!