I'm a perfectionist. It's true. I cannot stand being wrong. When I'm wrong, my first tendancy is to try to correct the mistake as fast as possible, and if that isn't possible, I'll try to excuse it, justify it, or cover it up. I hate being wrong and it flat out drives me insane when I am. It isn't very easy for me to admit my shortcomings. I'm pretty hard-headed and stubborn and I love being right and hate being wrong.
I've been reading a lot in Proverbs lately. There are quite a lot of proverbs in Proverbs about how it's good to be able to admit you aren't perfect. I've been learning a lot about how to take instruction and handle correction. My pride makes it hard for me to do that, but it's gotten a lot easier in the last month or two. But I'm still a perfectionist. When I mess up, I'm really hard on myself. I hold myself to really high standards and when I sin and mess up, or just make a stupid mistake, I really give it to myself. In some ways, that's a good thing, but ultimately it hurts more than it helps. I was randomly flipping through Start Here by Alex and Brett Harris the other day and stumbled across this: "If you base your life as a rebelutionary on not failing, you will not be a rebelutionary for long. Assuming you live without making mistakes is just another form of pride."
I've been blogging a lot about servant leadership lately, and I've been learning a lot about humility and pride. I think my next step towards humility needs to be accepting that I will make mistakes. Knowing that I'll make mistakes is hard for me to comprehend because somehow I feel like since I'm a Christian and have high standards, I should be above failure. But that simply isn't possible. It isn't human. I relate to Paul when he said in Romans 7:15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." I don't like making mistakes. I hate making mistakes. But to be human is to make mistakes.
Now I'm not saying that you should be okay with your mistakes. I'm saying the exact opposit: that we shouldn't be okay with our mistakes. All I'm saying is that we shouldn't expect to be perfect. Jesus never told us we would be and He doesn't expect us to follow Him perfectly. We won't become perfect until we are glorified in His Name at the end of all things.
But this isn't exactly logical to a perfectionist. A perfectionist isn't able to understand that God doesn't ask us to be perfect when we follow Him. He does ask us to repent, to turn from our sins, to worship no one other than God Almighty. Yet He doesn't require us to be perfect to follow Him. That's the beauty of the Gospel. That God loves is in spite of our sin, in spite of our rebellion, in spite of our shortcomings. God's love transcends our sin. That's why we don't have to be perfect to be a Christian. Besides, if we had to be perfect, then we consider God's grace void and base our salvation completely on works. Our salvation is by grace through faith alone, not by works so that no man can boast. Don't believe me? Read it in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
A lot of people think that you can become a Christian by works. But you can't. Nothing you do can save you. It's not about who you are or what you've done. It's about who He is and what He's done.