From everything I’ve read and been told, you should never expect that you can live a perfect life. Flaws, faults, mistakes and miscues are inevitable and cannot be avoided no matter how hard you try. God lets us know through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, that how we handle our imperfections is as important as acknowledging that we have them. My spiritual imagination allows me to consider humility as an essential ingredient of any Christian’s make up. A humble person would never look down upon or turn a nose up to anyone and certainly would not think of themselves as superior to another human being. The reason, again I imagine, must be that he or she recognizes and subscribes to that old saying, “…there but for the grace of God, go I…”
Throughout the bible there are countless references to living, or trying to live a life devoid of ego and pride. Paul actually says humility is required for the presence of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control…since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:22-26. I don’t know about you but conditioning myself to live humbly out of habit can be difficult, if not impossible for the world in which we live. Ours is a world that measures the substance of a person by the accumulation of money, things, position and status. To acquire a humble state of mind as a matter of course to many of us is highly unlikely; but to the Christian attempting to obey the Word, it is mandatory. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12.
Now I happen to think this is serious stuff. The only way to adhere to any of it is to look deep inside one’s self and acknowledge the personal character flaws that we each have. I think this is the reason Christ said, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” Once you see the real you, real forgiveness must follow. Who would dare be so arrogant and not humble himself in the eyes of God by not forgiving his fellow man’s transgressions? God did for you and me. That brings me to the role of the church. If there was ever a place where the concept of forgiveness should be guaranteed, it’s the church. But we all know the church is far from a perfect place. The key to all of this is what happens after you fall, after you sin, after you back slide; remember that falling and failing are inevitable. Getting up, however, is not. Now I’m told, if you ask the Holy Spirit for a helping hand, you’re very likely to get one. It’s that God is a God of another chance thing. I believe this because I’ve blown so many opportunities to demonstrate humility, but yet the blessings still come my way. Hell, I woke up this morning. The least I can do is show up in church on Sunday to let others know this is a place to come and bring an imperfect life in search of the perfect truth.
Flaws and all, God loves me and every now and then I need to be reminded of that. Church is a good, if not the best, place where that can happen. The challenge is to remember you can never feel comfortable about casting that first stone, ever.
May God bless and keep you always, James, firstname.lastname@example.org