May 15, 2016

Why Imperfection Doesn't Disqualify Us

Most people struggle with something. Let’s see if this sounds like the résumé of anyone we know:

  • Olympic-level athleticism
  • Einstein-level intelligence
  • Always respectful at home—and everywhere else in the world
  • Most popular person in their social circles
  • On the fast track to success at work or school
  • Performance-level musical ability
  • Drops what they’re doing at a moment’s notice to help strangers for hours

My first reaction when reading this list would be: “Reallllly?! What Marvel Comic character are we talking about? 'Perfect Man'?!  Does he annoy you to death with his ray of obsessive perfectionism? Does he induce you to surrender by threatening to do a three-hour white-glove test of all your home’s surfaces?"

This character doesn’t sound familiar to you? That’s because this paragon of virtue probably doesn’t exist. Or, if he does, I have yet to meet him. I’m only familiar with broken, damaged people who have significant challenges in at least one area.

The good news is that we don’t have to be the most popular Olympic athletic around (who is also a self-sacrificing rocket scientist playing concerts at Carnegie Hall in his free time) to be used by God. He takes us as we are. In fact, He uses weak things to confound the wise, as we are told in 1 Corinthians 1:27

The Bible

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”—1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

The quote above is taken from the story of when the prophet, Samuel, was directed to choose a new king from among Jesse’s sons. He had quite a few sons. However, God hadn’t called any of the older, more “qualified” sons. Samuel was directed to ask Jesse to bring the shepherd, David, in from the field. David was the youngest and smallest of the family. He was the least “able”. Yet, he was anointed to be the king of Israel—twenty years in the future.

David is not the only case of an ill-equipped person being given responsibilities in the Bible. Many of the disciples and prophets dealt with a lack of money, academic training, social standing, and self-confidence.  Some of them also dealt with anger and depression.

Judas Iscariot was the only disciple with worldly “qualifications”. He was a learned, respected man from Jerusalem. The other disciples were mainly struggling workers from the less-valued province of Galilee. Yet, Judas was the one who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. This reminds me of a quote I saw online: “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called”.

My Book

In my book, Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds, I discuss many examples of prominent people who would not have been expected to succeed early in their careers:  I reference people who overcame prejudice, such as Jackie Robinson. I mention people who overcame medical difficulties, such as Teddy Roosevelt and Helen Keller. I also note individuals who struggled in their careers, such as Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell.

My Conclusion

“God uses imperfect people for impossible tasks.”—John Paul Warren

People have different aptitudes; that’s just how we’re made. Throughout history, and the Bible, the most successful individuals were often those who were least expected to find success. That’s good news for those of us who struggle with trials daily.
Though some of us have a hard time admitting it, none of us are perfect. But, that’s okay. We don’t have to be perfect to be loved and accepted by God.  God qualifies and strengthens those who he chooses.

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How have you moved beyond perceived limitations?

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