Imperfect people vs. a Perfect God

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I was at church this morning, as I often can be found on a Sunday. I was standing on the platform having just finished singing an old hymn at the request of my pastor (who is also my father). God was doing something in the service. I could feel the whisper of his Love and Grace and could feel that there was something He wanted to do in His people.
As I was standing there, I felt that internal voice I hear from time to time whisper, 

"never let imperfect people with imperfect actions color your view of a Perfect God."

It was as clear as day and it was not something from my own mind. I knew it was something I should share. My heart was racing and my hands got sweaty. But I didn't speak. Although I can stand in front of the church congregation and sing a solo, I could not get up the gumption to bring that same microphone up to my lips and say those words. 

All of "those thoughts" came into my mind....

"Who am I to say anything? What do I know?

"This isn't 'my gifting.' I sing. I don't give 'words from the LORD.'"

What if I'm wrong and it's not from God. I'll look foolish.."

And on, and on that internal dialogue went.

But more than looking silly, I fear missing out something God has for me. I never want to be guilty of hearing the word of the LORD and not obeying. 

So, I offered God a deal.

"God, if you want me to share this...then have my dad say something about feeling like You want to speak a word to the people."

A few second later, my dad/pastor says, "I just feel like God wants to speak to us. If you have something you feel like He's given you, speak it out."

And I just stood there. 

Just as I got the nerve to try to even lift up the microphone (which I was not sure was even on anymore, by the way), someone else spoke up from the audience. And it was good. It was definitely 'of God,' but it wasn't what I felt like I was supposed to share.

And so I missed my chance.

I told God, "I'm so sorry I didn't speak up. Maybe it wasn't my word that you wanted spoken. Maybe I got it wrong. But my heart is still beating fast and I'm about to drop this microphone from the moisture on my palms. So, if you want me to share it still, give me another chance."

A few seconds later, my pastor/dad says, "I still feel like God has more to say. Anyone else?"

And I was ready. But I hesitated for a few seconds. And before I could open my mouth, someone else had a scripture to share. And it was so good. But it wasn't my 'word.'

I thought that perhaps I had just misheard God as we closed in prayer. Or, worse, I missed my chance to trust God and take a step of faith into something that was 'not my calling' and scary for me.

As the final benediction was said, another church member added an exhortation to "fall to your knees and seek God and He would be found."'

It felt like God wasn't done even though the service was over. 

My dad spoke of this...that God seemed to still be doing something and that those who wanted to remain and receive should do so and those who wanted to go, could quietly exit and visit in the foyer.

I wasn't going to miss it again.

I got my dad's attention and told him that I had something to share, but that I hadn't done it when I had the opportunity. So, he told me to go ahead and share it.

And that's when I explained what God had spoken into my heart:

"Never let imperfect people with imperfect actions color your view of a Perfect God."

And I was broken when I shared it -- because far too often I've let people who are flawed by humanity and sin speak something into my heart that has created distance between me and a flawless God.

Too often we say things we shouldn't. We act in ways we shouldn't. We act in 'the flesh' and not in the Spirit. And we hurt each other. All of us do it.

And church people are not exempt from it. 

Church people are just that....they are people. 

Should we know better? I think yes, we should. But we all struggle with the same human-ness that often leads to destruction and not edification.

We would like to think that we speak for God or on his behalf. But we sometimes get it so wrong. 

We are imperfect. We are becoming. We stumble. We fall. We get back up again. We apologize if we've taken someone else down with us. And the hard part is that we may not always know when we've done it.

And because we've "all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," we need to be able to recognize how much God has saved us from -- our own sin -- our own bad choices. And we need to extend that same grace to other people in our lives who have hurt us -- intentionally or not.

But we should never, ever put those imperfect actions by imperfect people on our perfect God. We should never allow our 
pain and resentment paint Him as the target of all our spiritual and emotional distress.

The true tragedy would be to withhold ourselves from Him because we somehow hold him responsible for actions that other people have done in His name.

Because when you know who you are in Him...when you find your self-worth and identity in Him, the words and actions of other people do not destroy you. Yes, it hurts. Sometimes it burns. But only God gets to tell us who we are, because only He knows.

He, and he alone is Perfect.

2 Samuel 22: 31-34:

"God's way is perfect.
All the LORD's promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is a solid rock? 
God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights."

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