THE TYRANT OF PERFECTIONISM
I don’t know if you share such conclusions, but I often think of, time I have wasted in my life.
The thing is – I can, but won’t be – terrorised by that thought-tyrant.
The thought that we could have done better, been more profitably employed, accomplished more, been a better servant, given more, took a right turn instead of a left at a particular juncture in life, been more adventurous, stepped out in faith more and so it goes on.
And unfortunately I too readily, become a candidate for the deposition of such thoughts. This is borne out of a basic desire inherent in most ‘normal’ people – the desire to do well, be morally upright, accomplish something, and so on.
The most important motivation for the professing Christian is to please God and to be in obedience.
But when you are overwhelmed with your own failures one aught to inoculate oneself with a good dose of reality.
Because such shortcomings, are common to all humans.
To be perfectly free from such conclusions of sinfulness or imperfection is impossible.
There was only One who fulfilled the call of perfect timing and the perfect use of time, coupled with His morally perfect life.
An examination of the life of Jesus, should leave us aghast at such perfectionism!
I however, am easily disappointed in yours truly, sometimes a justified disappointed for a real reason, sometimes not justified, because of the perfectionist tyrant, trying to unfairly discourage.
One needs to know the difference between legitimate desirable self-examination and awareness and morbid introspection.
One needs to keep one’s conscience healthy – yes. But also be aware –
II Corinthians 2/
…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
You can become aware of this perfectionist tyranny besetting your moral aspirations, when you examine your own thinking. It is by your own contrivance, as you are overwhelmed by a ‘million’ (imaginary?) things you are not doing.
You can also realise that it can be the result of a dark power that is engaged in sending fiery darts into your mind.
…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
So your sense of imperfection and disappointment with yourself, can be the result of your own invention or demonically inflicted.
There is a whole biblical teaching too long to go into in this post, that establishes the alien-workings of darkness summed up in the apostle Paul’s words to us:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.
The Only Living and True God is not such a tyrant, but at the same time, is only too aware of our shortcomings.
His desire for us is firstly and foremostly that we engage with Him in relationship. Then as any good Father – He then starts to help us to mature and grow out of our immature behaviour.
And – as a by-product – make better spiritual use of our time.
We cannot live in perfection or spiritual maturity straight away after we have encountered and submitted to Jesus. In the sense that the Christian life is an ongoing growing experience.
That’s why we account that His long-suffering is our salvation.
Christ offers us perfect acceptance when we choose Him as Lord. This is our perfection. It suffices God’s requirements, that we ask Him into our lives.
II Peter 3/
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
Most(?) people want to live right. Do good and be a follower of what is right. But they can’t find the ‘how to’ of the whole thing. And all of us are blind to many of our shortcomings.
Until we meet Jesus and allow Him to start to change us from the inside-out, we shall remain the same – unchanged.
So yes we do need to be perfected, but not by the dictates of the perfectionist tyrant.
Footnote: It could be suggested that the last thing this secular world needs is to be reminded that perfectionism can be a tyrant. Some might suggest – no one is the least bit interested in moral perfection. But is excusing any and all behaviour, else why still indulge in it?