Jesus told his followers to be perfect, “just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Clearly, we should try hard to be as good as we can be, but what if perfection eludes us despite our best efforts?
At that point, we might want to give our imperfections a second look. We may find that, ironically, they can be our allies in growing spirituality.
Our weaknesses and imperfections may help us to grow closer to God by forcing us to depend on God. St. Paul writes that on a number of occasions he asked God to remove from him a particularly troubling problem.
But God responded by assuring Paul that his imperfection actually served a purpose in making him realize how much he needed God’s help. God told him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Our imperfections can also bring us closer to others, especially to those we might look down upon because of their flaws and weaknesses. Don’t most of us find it hard to be compassionate unless we realize that we, too, have weaknesses?
Recall Jesus’ story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee didn’t admit his own faults. But the tax collector admitted his failings, and Jesus said that his prayers were heard, not those of the Pharisee.
Accepting the fact that we have faults can keep us from being self-righteous and can make us more willing to accept help from other people.
Jesus’ words are still valid. We should be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is. But God is perfect by being who he is, while, paradoxically, we are perfect by being what God created us to be: beings whose very imperfections allow us to be open to God and to one another.