This week I walked across the street during my lunch break to a church which was open for prayer. I walked inside. It was quiet, air-conditioned and no one else was around. Perfect. It was the perfect setting for prayer. I spent a while there praying and sitting quietly.
Wait before you think I’m bragging on myself here. Keep reading.
It was a nice break from the daily work routine. I was at peace as I got up to leave. I walked out of the church and was getting ready to cross the street when a driver blew through the red light and nearly mowed me down. I waved my arms wildly and uttered some flowery language. As I regained my composure, I looked back at the church and wondered if I should go back inside again. The peace from my time of prayer barely lasted past the church doors. I was more upset that I had lost my composure more than the stupid driver rolling through the intersection.
Yeah, this wasn’t a shining moment for me and certainly nothing to brag about. Some Christian I am right? Believe me I shake my head enough at myself in these moments more than you would think. I honestly try not to give Christians a bad name but my human emotions get the best of me just like anyone else. Hey, I’m human. I am not one of those who thinks I walked out of that church perfect or that I had done something great by spending some time praying. If you are a believer, you aren’t going to be perfect. Sorry to break that news to you. You’re going to have moments of flowery language, you’re going to have a flat tire and stuff will happen to you just like it happens to everyone else. If you are a believer, you are going to make a lot of spiritual boo boos along the way too. I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have had to ask forgiveness to God for my emotions getting out of control. It happens. I grew up in a church which was a little crazy about perfection. If someone from the church had witnessed my flowery moment in the crosswalk, they would have likely brought charges against me before the men of the church. I would have been counseled by the brethren. For sure I would have to repent all over again because I would have been viewed as a backslider. I even heard some teaching that we are supposed to be perfect. Really? When do you stop becoming human?
How is it possible that someone could ever be perfect? That thinking alone is totally flawed theology. We all have weak moments. In fact, the Bible says that we have ALL fallen short. How can anyone think that believers should be perfect beings while having the same physical body in a world of pain and imperfection? It’s just not possible. I can tell you – and I think anyone with physical ailments can verify this – when you have illness or pain in your body, it certainly makes it difficult to be perfect. Pain is humbling and as long as we have this human bodies, nothing will ever be perfect.
Yeah, I felt bad for losing it for a moment and giving that driver a piece of my mind but I also didn’t let that moment erase the time I had just spent in prayer. An emotional lapse isn’t going to cancel out a solid time of prayer. I just said a prayer of forgiveness to God and asked Him to help me to do better in that situation next time. Maybe I blew it then but maybe I learned a lesson from it.
Don’t worry, I’m not one of those “cussing Christians”. I’m just a believer who strives to do better. The worst thing I could have done – which I have done in the past – was to just throw up my hands and just wallow in my frustration. Believe me, it is a lot easier to do that than to just acknowledge my imperfections, ask forgiveness and move on. I think it is difficult for people to understand that we are all human – even people who come out of the church after praying. There have been churches where people are flipping each other off in the parking lot after church.
So what can you do if you are a believer and you slip up – maybe cuss a little?
- Recognize you are human and ask forgiveness immediately.
- Try to avoid being in the situation next time if possible.
- If there are witnesses, apologize. Don’t let pride defeat you too.
- Pray for that *special* (insert your city here) driver. Bless their hearts.
Hey, it’s a crazy world out there. Let’s not be surprised when this kind of thing happens. It’s not the end of the world. Yeah, I know, people will be quick to judge you but you just have to let it go. if not, that people will find something else anyway. And if you’re in a church that tries to say you can be perfect – RUN. Get away from that church.
My grandfather was preaching one time and a man in attendance walked up to adjust a fan and accidentally got a finger stuck and was clipped by the fan. He uttered a cuss word. My grandfather didn’t miss a beat. He said, “Well, it looks like we’ll have one in the altar at the end of the service tonight.”
I have seen a bumper sticker that reads: “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” Some folks look at that as a cop out for bad behavior but it is truthful. No one – not even people rolling in and out of church buildings on Sunday mornings. We all have our flaws and we all have things we need to work on.
Don’t let those imperfect moments knock you down. If anything, it should humble you and show you that you have something to work on. God isn’t going to smite you for it. He already knows we aren’t always going to get it right. I have seen people walk around and all they ever do is quote Bible verses and use King James English all the time as if that will make them perfect and a part of God’s disciples club. God doesn’t fall for that.
Nope, we’re not perfect. We blow it sometimes but we can use those times as a lesson and learn from them.