On the weekend I took a tour of Living Way, an economic empowerment ministry of Living Hope. I have been there many times, but hadn’t seen the tunnels of cucumbers and tomatoes that are part of the agri-business training programme. The first harvest of cucumbers is underway and the tomatoes look like they will be fit for giants. I noticed a few small curly cucumbers so asked if who buys the curly ones. I’m accustomed to buying straight cucumbers, but was surprised to hear that the curly ones are nipped out as they can’t be sold. I’m afraid to say that being a girl with curls I was quite offended by this. Surely a cucumber, straight or curly tastes the same?
As consumers we are quite demanding and want out produce to look perfect – perfectly straight bananas, perfectly round tomatoes, perfectly carrot shaped carrots. Out demand for perfection spills out of our grocery baskets into all areas of our lives. Yet such pressure is limiting and hard to live up to. I many ways I am a perfectionist myself, but it causes problems – like I’m rubbish at learning languages as I hate to make mistakes, but making speaking, even with mistakes, is the only way to really learn. We demand of others and ourselves that we be spiritually prefect – deviations from the perceived norm are not welcomed. Yet God spells out clearly that he knows we are not perfect, we are works in progress:
1 John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
If we continue with a facade of perfection we limit God’s grace to ourselves and we limit God’s grace to other who have their blemishes exposed. It is our imperfection that reveals the greatness of God in our lives.
2 Corinthians 4:6-10 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
When I read this passage I always think that we are like cracked pots – God’s light and grace is displayed throughout weak spots and cracks. Thank God that while He is perfect and has high standards He loves even with our cracks and curls.