My Perfectly Imperfect Faith

This isn’t what I wanted to post about today. 

Penciled neatly into my brand new planner was a recap of the month of June according to #’s. It was supposed to be easy to write, something I could schedule way in advance and a light-hearted post for a Monday morning. However, my heart has felt everything but light lately. What I planned to post and what I feel I should post are two very different things. In the end my heart won out and now I’m sitting here unsure of where I should start.

Over the past week I was slammed with a phrase, by someone very close to me, that I can’t stop thinking about. Their words were spoken out of anger when my actions didn’t meet their approval. I have been thinking about any truth that could be found in their statement but more than that the lies that live in the head of someone who would say these words.

“And you’re supposed to be a Christian”

Phrase it 10 different ways if you’d like, the variations are countless. This phrase is likely one that anyone following after Christ for any amount of time has been attacked with in one way or another. The thing is this. I can’t help but think a person who accuses someone with these words is void of any understanding about what being a Christian truly means.

The world sometimes holds Christians to an unattainable level of perfection. Are Christians really perfect?
Being a Christian does not mean that you are free of temptation or sin. It doesn’t mean that you make the right choice every time. It doesn’t give you a strong marriage, all the money you need, well-behaved children, and an annoyingly effortless love for people. Being a Christian doesn’t give you super powers.

The problem with this accusation is that it comes with the impression that being a Christian makes you perfect, which simply put is a lie. The truth is there was only one person who ever lived a perfect, sinless life and he gave himself as a sacrifice to pay for our sins, my sins, the sins I continually struggle with every moment of every day.

And that is what is tearing me apart. That people buy into lies that Christians actually believe they are perfect. That someone expects me to live a perfect life and if I stumble I have not only given them a reason to mock me , but an excuse to continue living a life void of a relationship with God.

Where do I go from here? First I’d like to say that I’m not angry and forgive the person for the words they spoke. I love them very much and will continue to pray for them daily. Secondly I’d like to repent. If this false image of Christian perfection is one that I have portrayed through my words and actions, I am sorry. I want to live a life that is pleasing to God and continuously points others to him, through good times and bad.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, β€œThe righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17 ESV

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  • The words of others can sting and leave a wound that often takes time to heal. Many of us who follow Christ know we are not perfect, we sin, we ask forgiveness, we move on. It is unfortunate there are those who feel the need to attack our faith for whatever reason and that is where we have to stand strong in our faith in Christ. After all, if we were perfect we would have no need for God. Your feelings ring true for many Beth. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this. It will speak volumes.

    • YES! Your words on if we were perfect we wouldn’t need him are so true and what so many forget. Thank you. Your encouragement always means so much to me.

  • Jessica

    Oh Beth. I am so sorry you are dealing with this and that it’s hurting you in such a way. It sounds to me like the person who made the comment isn’t following Christ very well in being judgmental and questioning you. Why are you supposed to walk such a straight line if you are a Christian? Doesn’t sound right to me. We all make mistakes, slip up, etc. Hang in there girl. Hugs!

  • It is one of the reasons I ran from my faith for so long. Making so many really bad mistakes, unforgivable even to me, made me feel there was no way I could run back into the arms of Jesus because how in the world could he forgive me. I’ve never felt so much relief when I realized this was not how it works. That God for grace…and I’m so glad by realizing I could be given grace it is so much simpler for me to give grace to others. Thanks for sharing your heart Beth!

    • Oh friend I would love to have coffee with you. I was a runner once too. All part of my not so perfect love story. Thanks for sharing a little piece of you heart in this comment.

  • no one is perfect, stay strong. Also, very pretty graphic for a poignant post.

  • My daughter (the 16 year old) overheard a teacher say this about one of her friends this past spring. It’s such a painful statement, and probably said for the shock value more than anything. You are so smart to forgive that person and keep loving them. I did a Bible Study a few years ago called Respectable Sins; it was really eye opening. It’s easy to “see” other people’s sins, but often times I forget about the sins that I secretly have in my life…worry, anxiety, etc. We all have something we’re battling through, but I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every single day, because I need them every single day…and honestly, a few times within every single day. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing, Beth! I love your courage!

    • I think you are right in the shock value. That or it was said trying to set me off. A few times withing every single day, yes. Reminds me of the song that speaks of “every hour I need you. Thank you so much Emily. I am so thankful God brought you along my path.

  • Oh Beth, I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. I agree with Emily below… I bet it was said more for the shock factor more than their actual feelings toward you. Thank you for sharing what’s on your heart.

    • I think she is very right in that to. That or trying to get a response from me. Sharing my heart is often hard, but always so good.

  • Wow, for someone to say that…what did you say to her at that moment? Or did you shrug it off and then think more on it? I hope, like Emily and Lindsay said that it was more for a shock factor than her really thinking that. Thank you for sharing.

    • It was actually a him and it wasn’t face to face. It was through a text. People are often braver when they aren’t face to face. I didn’t respond. I kind of felt it was said to get a reaction so I felt the best thing to do was not to react.

  • Amy Smith

    I’m so sorry that this person brought you down, but I’m so proud of you for forgiving him/her. If you don’t mind my asking, how did you respond in the moment? Were you just flabbergasted?

    • I didn’t respond. It wasn’t face to face, it was through a text. People are often braver when they aren’t face to face. I kind of felt it was said to get a reaction so I felt the best thing to do was not to react.

  • Desiree @ Macke Monologues

    I’m so sorry someone questioned you and your faith!
    You are so strong to be so forgiving so fast.
    I’ll pray for your friend, as well.
    xo

  • Wow. For someone to say that to you. I’m so sorry. Like Desiree said, you are so strong to forgive so quickly. Though I am not religious and cannot relate, this post was beautifully written. I’m sorry someone said that to you.

  • Rough on the ears & heavy on the heart. Often times when someone says such statements they are projecting their own inward feelings/views of themselves. Big Hugs. You are doing the best thing by forgiving and praying. <3

    • I completely agree with that, thank you so much.

  • I dont know the circumstances or the person who said this but it breaks my heart. I feel in this time that Christians are labeled unfairly and looked down on and it is only growing. You know I love your heartfelt posts, friend. They always speak to me.

    • Oh friend thank you. You are so right and it is heartbreaking for sure.

  • I fell like right now our country is so divided. I can’t even stand to be on Facebook anymore because everything seems to be posted to spark a debate then false accusations are thrown around. All I have to say about your situation is that the fact that you were so quick to forgive hurtful words says a lot about the person you are.

    • Oh I know, I am the same exact way. If not for the blog I would be half tempted to give it up completely. Thank you so much friend.

  • I think a lot of the troubles we get ourselves into start with lumping people into a group and thinking they are all the same or having an idea of what the perfect person within this group looks like. And, then when that lovely image gets smashed you blame instead of understand. Well I’m sorry so and so doesn’t conform to your ideas, but that is just not what it is about. Some people will just never understand, but I think you have taken the highest road by forgiving. You can only do you. And, I think you do a great job of that.

    • Yes, I would completely agree with everything you said. We have these pictures in our head that are often unattainable standards to live up too. I’ve been guilty of this too. Thanks for your sweet words.

  • Meghan Flinn

    I am so sorry this has happened. I know that in my own family we have disagreements from time to time over religion. In my own personal experience with my family, I just don’t like being judged. Often times I feel like snarking back with a similar comment simply because I feel like the person judging me has their own struggles they should worry about instead of commenting on mine. And your point above, we all sin, there’s only one who was perfect. So who on earth has the right to judge others. Christian or not, we should all focus a little less on others behaviors and instead focus on ourselves and trying living a better life. I think if we did that we might have a little more compassion.

    • I think we would too. This reminds me of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. The legalistic religious folks wanted to stone her because in that day the punishment for her wrong doing was just that. But Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. He got it, he understood compassion. He knew none of us would ever be perfect, we’d all mess up every day.

      Thanks for opening up a bit friend. I hope you have a great day.

  • Oh friend. I am praying for you. The best part of our faith to me is the grace we are given by our Lord. I mess up every stinkin’ day.

  • Sarah Elizabeth Frazer

    Praying for you sweet friend. It is hard balance to keep – to show the love, change, and holiness Christ brings to our lives, but also to show the messy, broken, and sin-filled parts as well. I’ll be praying for your heart. Words that wound take a lot longer to heal.

    • The balance feels nearly impossible sometimes. I think that is because I try to leave God out of the picture so often though. It’s not my work, but His. Thank you so much for your words and prayers.

  • Whitney Jordan

    Thinking of you and praying for you! That’s so hurtful to hear and you’ve got such a great response. Christians are not perfect in any way and we all require lots of grace to get through our days. Praying God to be working in this situation for His glory.

    • Thank you so much Whitney. Grace upon grace.

  • I have been reading Wild and Free and it is all about this- we all mess up all the time because no one is perfect. Thank goodness for Gods grace- thinking of you and praying!!

    • Thanks Keri. The prayers are oh so appreciated. I may have to check out that book too :).

  • You know how I feel about this situation but the bottom line is your faithfulness to Christ and the walk he has land out for you is worth this stumble, this hurt. While I hate it for you because of who it’s coming from, know that God sees you as the perfect person He created. He made no mistake.

    • Thank you so much friend. I keep thinking about that song on the radio “Your a good, good father” it is speaking straight to my heart.

  • Ruthie Gray

    AMEN!!! Ahh, if only all believers could grasp this concept – and unbelievers as well. God didn’t save us to perfection. He saved us by perfection. Christ’s perfect blood is what He sees in place of our sin. So while we are still human, we will still struggle, but we must give not only grace to others (even judgers) but also to ourselves.

    You are an inspiration, Beth. I’m so glad I got to know you in 2016! Thanks for being my launch buddy and a good blogging friend as well. I’m so glad I get to stay in Blogging Masterminds because that group is golden! See you there! πŸ™‚

    • Yes, yes, YES! This was such a hard, but good post for me to write. The accusation came at me from someone VERY close too me, a relative as well. But I am glad I did.

      Ruthie you have been such a blessing to me! A great motherly, godly example. That is something I felt was missing in my life for years, but now God has filled it in many ways. Thank you for your ministry and your heart for younger mama’s