I Am Not Perfect

no perfect people

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy . . . He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone.”

Not one of us is perfect. We know that about each other but most of the time we find it convenient to ignore that reality about ourselves. I don’t just make mistakes or mess up – I sin.

It’s time to stop blaming the environment, a spouse, our parents, a boss, or our neighbors. No longer can we go on ignoring our responsibility to live life according to God’s standards instead of our preferences. Just because we see someone else acting in sin does not make it right. We can’t justify our sin based on what “everyone else is doing.”

Too many times, what starts as a confession often ends up an excuse: “I didn’t mean to yell at you; I was having a bad day.” There is no excuse for sin. There is no one to blame. Don’t ignore it or pretend to not notice.

It’s time to admit it: I am not perfect.

“To confess means to own up to the fact that our behavior wasn’t just the result of bad parenting, poor genes, jealous siblings, or a chemical imbalance from too many Twinkies. Any or all of these factors may be involved. Human behavior is a complex thing. But confession means saying that somewhere in the mix was a choice, and the choice was made by us, and it does not need to be excused, explained, or even understood. The choice needs to be forgiven. The slate has to be wiped clean.” (John Ortberg in “The Life You Always Wanted”)

Sin must be confessed. Repentance must be genuine. Change must take place in our lives. In fact, genuine, authentic repentance always results in change.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 1:8-2:2 NIV)

Why would God…?

QUESTION: Over ten years ago there was a funeral for a little boy. The pastor said he died because God needed a new angel in heaven. Please explain why God would do that to a little boy and his family just to get another angel.

ANSWER: There are two things to address. First of all, I’m sure that pastor was sincere in trying to offer comfort to a family at a tragic time but the reality is humans do not become angels when we die. God made us “a little lower than the heavenly beings” (Psalm 8:5) because we are distinctly different from angels. God created angels as spiritual beings with great authority and power to do His will and serve as His servants.

Someday, when we are gathered around God’s throne in Heaven, we will actually be even greater than the angels in heaven! The Apostle Paul writes “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3) which indicates that after death our status will be above angels.

Secondly, God has the power to create all the angels He needs – and since humans do not become angels, God would not take the life of a child (or any person) to benefit Himself. When children die we are especially outraged because their lives are full of promise and bright futures. Death occurs – whether by accident, disease, or old age – because of the evil, sinful condition of the world in which we live; a world that is broken and doesn’t function the way God intended it to at Creation. But we should take hope in the reality that earthly death is not the end.

In 1 Corinthians 15:21-26 Paul writes, “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Death is our enemy and one day death will come to an end.

Why does terrible…?

QUESTION: Why does terrible sickness happen-like cancer that goes on for months/years? How can God allow this all over the world?

ANSWER: We live in a broken world where war, cancer, car accidents, plane crashes, brain tumors, human trafficking – suffering – happen every minute of every day. It all started in a perfect Garden, thousands of years ago when the first humans were unable to obey a simple command and sin began to multiply in this world. Since that time, sin, which is at work in all of Adam and Eve’s descendants, has compounded and its destructive power is (or should be) a constant reminder of our great need for God. Living in a sinful world means we deal with accidents and sickness and all kinds of tragedies that happen to good and bad people alike.

If it were not for God’s mercy (when He withholds what we really deserve for our sinfulness) and grace (when He generously gives us what we could never deserve) our lives would be filled with the horror of constant tragedy, pain, and separation from all that is good. At this very instant, God’s goodness is being poured out all over the world because He loves us in spite of our rejection of His only Son, Jesus as the Master, King and leader of our lives.

Is God powerful enough to stop tragedies like the hundreds of refugees dying in the Mediterranean Sea? Yes, absolutely! And He does prevent accidents all the time – but not every time. That’s what we find so difficult to understand and accept.

Why doesn’t God stop all the bad things from happening? Because He loves us; God understands how foolish it would be to remove the consequences of living in a sinful world and let us have our own way all the time. If I got my way and what I want every time, I would soon think of myself as god.



As the U.S. observes the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, I am rejoicing in the sixth anniversary of my wife Lois arriving in Glory! Six years ago on September 11, 2009, at 11:50 am, Lois was completely healed; the cancer was gone, she received a perfect body, and she joined the crowds in Heaven who arrived ahead of her.

There are still times when I miss her! Especially in the past ten months serving as a pastor. It’s something I never imagined doing without her and it’s a reminder that my strength comes from the Lord and I have to rely on Him.

I did not lose Lois – I know exactly where she is. Her skin and bones were left on the couch in the living room where she took her last breath. Her soul, the real Lois, is with God the Father and His Son, Jesus. Fortunately we have the Holy Spirit to comfort, encourage us, and remind us of the reality of eternal life.