I’m Not Perfect

“I’m certainly not perfect.”

Occasionally I’ll hear people (Christians or otherwise) speaking this way. You’ll hear at a funeral, “He wasn’t perfect. He had his flaws.”

The statement is of course accurate. Nobody is perfect. And maybe I’m reading this all wrong, but that people feel they need to clarify that they or someone else isn’t perfect feels terribly arrogant to me. A sort of false-humility. The impression I get is that this person is near perfection, but not quite perfect, therefore it needs to be humbly clarified that they aren’t quite perfect. So, what are they? 98%?  95%? How close are they?

When we use this type of “I’m not (quite) perfect” language, we are implying that we have very little need for the gospel. God’s grace is just a little boost of righteousness to cover our few shortcomings. At the cross, Jesus provided a small step stool so that we could attain what we previously couldn’t.

In contrast, I think of the language of Paul: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (I Tim 1:15)

It’s true to say, “I’m not perfect”, but it’s more accurate to say “I’m a rebellious sinner.” It’s only as we begin to understand the depth of our depravity do we begin to properly grasp the extent of God’s grace.

You don’t have to tell us that you’re not perfect. We already knew. There was no confusion. Are you ready to confess your complete lack of any merit whatsoever and joyfully depend fully on the righteousness of Christ?