Math Facts, Perfection, & The Almighty

It’s one of those ‘pull your hair out’ kinds of moments. Your nine-year-old, who struggles with math facts, sits beside of you at the table and goes into a complete meltdown over 3 digit numbers. There’s no calling him back from the depths of despair, he’s jumped in with both feet and waded up to his neckline. He’s drowning in fractions and word problems with no hope for a sure foundation.
No matter what you say, offer to pay, plead or borrow, he’s not coming back from his mental block for a few minutes…maybe millennia. He spends twenty-minutes trying to blame every other person in his life, and the dog, for the fact that he cannot do this homework. He seeks every distraction known to man and animals to dismiss his inability, but finally has to accept something. For the first time in his life, he’s realized the terrible, horrible, no-good truth:
He’s not perfect.

Oops, maybe I should have whispered that last sentence. It’s easier to bear when said in a whisper. Then maybe no one else will hear.

Okay – so I’m going to whisper the rest of this because it might be a little too hard to hear in a big voice.

We’re not perfect.

Ouch.

Yeah, yeah, I know you would admit to it, but do you believe it? Sometimes I don’t. I either kick myself so hard when I fall that I can’t stand for a week, OR (and more likely) I pretend I wasn’t wrong. I never admit to it. I ignore the little gnawing at the base of my heart and push it off as not taking my B-12s, when the truth is…I was wrong.

Pulling shark teeth would be easier than trying to get my 17-year old to admit when he’s wrong. Whew. Pride the size of Jonah’s whale, but…his mom has the same problem. In fact, most of us do.

We blame our day, or our health, our finances, or in-laws…our children, or spouse, our education, or background…whatever it takes to keep the little finger from pointing backwards and finding our chests. Not me.

It’s hard…I don’t like it – but who does?

When we hold onto pride, one of the ugliest things happens. We place ourselves above our humanity and make little idols of our own hearts. Then, we compare our goodness to others’ badness and forget the basic element of grace…

Jesus didn’t come for perfect people. In fact, if we looked at the list of people Jesus hung around with most, you wouldn’t find a perfect person among the entire bunch. Most would have scoffed at the notion of being called ‘perfect’ or even close.

A woman caught in adultery, a hotheaded disciple, a traitor-tax collector, a theif…a bunch of cowards and…sinners.
That’s the point!

One thing they all had in common was they were sinners, and they knew it. In fact, when Jesus sat down at ATE with some of those imperfect people, the religious leaders started whispering about him (and not in a nice way either).

The story goes like this in Matthew 9:10-12

10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus came to save those who know they are broken and couldn’t be fixed. Who know they screw up and can’t make things right. Who know no band aid, no amount of sacrifice or good works can change their history and mistakes.
He came for the ones who KNOW they are sinners and are searching for Someone to be the bridge between their imperfection and God’s perfectness.
Jesus became that bridge by offering His own perfection, His life for the ungodly. He didn’t come ‘to call the righteous, but sinners.”
If you know you are imperfect…
If you look back on your past, see your shades of gray, and feel ashamed…
If you’re struggling with the depths of hurt, confusion, anger, or sadness…
There is hope.

Jesus

”let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrews 10:22
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” I John 1:9
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