As we near the end of our week on forgiveness, today we’re going to look at a more foundational aspect of forgiveness, living without expectation of perfection.
The goal today isn’t to adopt a pessimistic way of looking at the world around us, but to actually see others the way that God does. God isn’t surprised by our sin, but looks at us with eyes of hope and love. May we gain his perspective today, and the peace and joy that accompany it, as we spend time in his word and his presence.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Lovin’ Me | Jonathan McReynolds
Music video by Jonathan McReynolds performing Lovin’ Me. 2013 Entertainment One U.S., LP #JonathanMcReynolds #LovinMe #Vevo #Christian
One of the most vital aspects of offering continual forgiveness is living without expectation of perfection from others. You will never meet a perfect human. All of us suffer from the same sinful, broken condition. And as believers, our lives are a reflection of God’s grace transforming what was once wholly sinful into pictures of his love. Even in this reflection, we will never experience perfection until we pass from this world to the next and live in perfect, uninhibited relationship with our heavenly Father.
Psalm 103:10-14 offers us insight into the expectations of God in regards to our sin. May the perspective of our heavenly Father be our model for forgiveness:
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
God offers us continual love, grace, compassion, and forgiveness because he knows that we’ve come from dust and will return to dust once again. He knows the sins and symptoms of brokenness that entangle us. And he offers us forgiveness for our sin and grace to live righteously in the future. If we are ever going to live in the fullness of life available to us, we must learn to be like our Father. We must learn to live without an expectation of perfection from anyone. It isn’t pessimistic to view everyone as imperfect. Rather, it’s a perspective that will allow us to love and enjoy others to the fullest.
Our heavenly Father longs to guide us to a lifestyle of forgiveness because he longs for us to live with the fullness of joy. Our God’s greatest delight is relationship with his people, and it was in forgiveness by the death of Jesus that restored relationship was made possible. We are made in the image of our Father. We are created to enjoy fellowship with one another, uninhibited by the bitterness and resentment that comes from unforgiveness. We are made to have our hearts open and full of love for one another. But in order to live the abundant life, we must free ourselves from placing others on a platform of perfection they will never attain.
Take time in guided prayer to allow God to fill you with his perspective. Allow him to set you free from the expectation of perfection for others. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” May you become like your heavenly Father: filled with love, grace, and forgiveness for all those who fall short of perfection around you.
Along with freeing others from the expectation of perfection, if we will offer ourselves the same grace and mercy that our heavenly Father does, we will experience new levels of joy and freedom. While God has offered us a path to total freedom from sin, he has the fullness of compassion for our weaknesses. Don’t strive for perfection in your works, but instead pursue a deeper relationship with the God of love and grace. You weren’t created to live perfectly in your own strength, but to know the love of the Father and allow him to empower you for the life to which you have been called. May you free yourself from the burden of perfection today and pursue greater intimacy with your heavenly Father.
Extended Reading: Psalm 103 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Psalms.