The following post was written by Chris Watson of Japan and sent to me in an email. I thought it was so good, I got his permission to post it here.
Looking at human beings, and noticing our imperfections, is like looking at a painting by Rembrandt or Van Gough, and thinking, “this is rough — shouldn’t the brush work be smoother than that?” What seems to be imperfection is really the touch of the Artist
It is the touch of our Creator. We are perfect in our humanity.
Here is one example: parenting.
‘Perfect’ parents are actually not the best parents; to be perfect as a parent can be quite harmful for children.
The children of ‘perfect’ parents — parents who are always calm, always right, who never make mistakes, who always do the right thing — often suffer terribly! Many of these kids end up with the worst psychological problems, as drug addicts or criminals.
We all know this is true: the children of pastors, ministers and the best Christians are much more likely to go wrong in life than other kids. It’s one of the great mysteries of life.
One school friend had a brilliant and understanding child psychiatrist as a father — he dropped out of High School and became a drug addict. Another family I knew — of wonderful Christians — had a son who became a teenage arsonist! And the son of the Methodist minister at the church I attended as a child was one of the worst kids in our High School …
But the reason is so simple.
Many of us are very imperfect parents. We make lots of mistakes, are inconsistent, get angry, sad, unreasonable, stubborn and stupid; we try and we fail; we have to apologize a lot. However, because of our imperfections, our children are developing a wonderful character. They are able to find goodness in themselves. They are learning to love and to forgive an imperfect parent.
And they know, in their heart, that perfection is not required or expected of them. They will model themselves on this experience; and by loving, accepting and forgiving their parents imperfections, they will learn to love, accept and forgive themselves.
If they had a perfect parent, they would feel intense pressure to live up to those standards — to be perfect themselves — which of course is impossible.
Our children might either try and meet those impossible standards, and could end up unhappy and filled with feelings of unworthiness, or more likely, they would decide to create their own standards — ones that they could meet — and choose an opposite life, like my drug-addict friends at school.
What we think of as perfection is not the best way to be, and not what God wants us to be. To be human, and no more than that, is true perfection.
It sounds crazy, but it’s true!
One of the greatest pastors in Australia is a deeply imperfect human. He has suffered from depression, and still suffers from it. He is an angry man, and often hard to talk to, but Pastor Peter McHugh has built a church from nothing to more than 1500 people (still growing) — which is an amazing achievement in secular Australia. When he preaches, he can reach right into your heart, discover where all your pain and sorrow is hidden, and shine the light of God on it. He can make you weep until you’re weeping tears of joy.
The way to know God is not to seek perfection, but to be more human. That is one of my philosophies.
What is your philosophy on being a role model for your children? Post your comments here: