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Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Flawed Character

I will readily admit that I am flawed. Some would describe me as 'a flawed character'--a description that carries a rather negative connotation. And in some ways I suppose I am indeed a 'character.'

But a more accurate description would be that my character is flawed. This does not suggest that one is rotten to the core, or totally bad, or lacking in distinct positive qualities. But as a human being my character, regardless of how upstanding or admirable it appears to some, is still quite flawed.

I know very few Christians who attempt to pretend that they don't have faults. I will admit that I have met some, though. That is a big mistake. Sincerity, genuineness, and honesty demand that we readily admit our flaws, our tendency to sin, our mistakes and impure motives, and our weaknesses.

When a person of faith approaches other people with the attitude that he or she is better than those with overt flaws or fails to acknowledge his or her own failings, then those outside the faith can see right through such denial and come to the conclusion that the person is a fake.

And indeed to a great degree such a person IS a fake. That is one of the worst things that can be said about a Christian. If people do not believe us to be sincere, then we will be severely hampered in our efforts to spread the good news of Christ.

The Bible says, 'If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and the truth is not in us.' That verse is written to Christians, and not those outside the faith.

To be sure, some individuals are going to believe all of us are fake. Their skewed picture of Christianity leads them to conclude that all of Christ's disciples are not to be trusted and are totally lacking in any true sincerity. It is very hard to change such thinking when it is based entirely upon a knee-jerk emotional reaction rather than rationality.

But most people will appreciate the fact that a Christian can admit his or her mistakes, own up to their flaws, express regret, ask for forgiveness, and openly remind everyone around them that we all are just sinners saved by grace.

When I was much younger I thought that I had to live in such a way that I kept all of my flaws carefully hidden lest anyone think that I was a fake. As I matured, however, I found that the more I attempted to cover up my flaws the more I appeared to be exactly that--a fake.

Now I don't try so hard to pretend anything. I will openly admit that I am a flawed servant of the Lord. I have never claimed to be perfect, and I am not about to start. I can only say I am working on my failures as God continues to mold and shape me into what He wants me to be.

But remember, that work will not be complete until we reach our final destination--home with Him forever.

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