Such a beautiful Bible verse, isn't it? It tells us that we, humans, are naturally not perfect, but as Christians, we must keep working to get closer to that ideal that Jesus saw in us. Prolific writer Jeremy Lallier sums it up this way: true Christianity is about "imperfect people striving toward perfection."
We tend to forget this in our daily living. We often place our family, our coworkers, random strangers, and even ourselves to such high standards, that we end up getting frustrated at the smallest flaws we discover. In the process, we overlook the Christian toils occurring all around us; we forget that people are trying to be better persons all the time.
If we don't check our fault-hating mindset, we only foster resentment and anger, instead of helping improve things. It's time we acknowledge the imperfections that Christians have, to face these flaws squarely and say, "Okay, this is a shortcoming. How can we best handle this?"
Here are some of the common Christian flaws we have to recognize every day, and how we can make them better.
One of the paramount values that Jesus modeled for us is being selfless -- putting others first, helping those in need, and not expecting anything in return. But in our everyday human lives, we tend to prioritize our own self above all else. Many times, this leads us to us being greedy, hoarding resources even while others around us are in dire need of them.
When you see this flaw in yourself: Reassess what you have and be completely honest about any excesses. Maybe you have unused clothes you can donate to charity. Maybe your budget allows wiggle room for giving.
Also, we must reassess our reasons for not giving to others. Do we genuinely lack anything to give, or are we simply making excuses to not reach out?
One common excuse that should be reconsidered is the idea that people should work hard to earn what they need, instead of looking to others to help them. This is dangerous thinking because at some point in our lives, every single one of us will need help, regardless of how hard we work. Just because someone is asking for assistance doesn't mean we can judge them as loafing.
When you see this flaw in others: If another person is being selfish to you or anyone else, try not to harbor ill feelings towards them. Instead, pray that they may be enlightened by God's grace. If you can extend help in their place, do so without being passive-aggressive. We can hope that they see your example of charity and become moved by it.
Sometimes, boastfulness is evident in words and actions. Other times, our arrogance manifests in small, seemingly harmless ways, such as "humble-bragging" on social media. Either way, it's a sign that we're letting our pride and ego get the better of us.
When you see this flaw in yourself: Sit down somewhere quiet and spend some time to reflect on your self-image. Arrogance may spring forth either because we place ourselves on such a high pedestal, or because our self-esteem is so low that we overcompensate outwardly to protect our pride.
Both perspectives may be healed by re-grounding ourselves in Christ's example of humility. Jesus did not put so much emphasis on himself. He did not mind that he was considered lowly and was among outcasts. He even had failures during his time as a human. But through all that time, his focus was not on himself but on how God may be seen through him. Because of this, the "lowly" Nazarene kept doing good work for the world.
When you see this flaw in others: It's tricky to help someone else overcome their pride, especially if they get overly sensitive about themselves. Firstly, we try not to judge them for what they say or do. We can also try to steer the conversation away from personal accomplishments, and shift it towards what can still be done for the greater good.
For example, when someone starts talking about how great their company is, it can be an opportunity to invite them to partner with a cause you support, such as a non-profit organization or a church outreach.
For some people, rudeness is when someone yells at them or gets rowdy in a social setting. For others, it can be as simple as uttering a curse word or even not making eye contact during conversation. People have varying thresholds for offense; what's impolite to one may be completely acceptable to the next. This begs the question: Are we being rude in certain situations?
When you see this flaw in yourself: Practice the art of pausing before acting. As many times as you can, try to catch yourself before you do something not quite pleasant, like making a critical comment or cracking a joke about someone. During your pause, remember the person you are talking to as well as the context of the situation. Would this hurt anyone? If you are still unsure, follow this rule of thumb: When in doubt, don't.
When you see this flaw in others: Did someone cut in line? Bump you on the sidewalk? Make a comment about your appearance? Pause. Take a deep breath. You can't fight fire with fire. Instead, respond with kindness and grace. To disrespectful comments, you can say something like, "I see your perspective. I'm working to improve myself in certain ways." As for random acts of rudeness from strangers, respond with forgiveness -- God bless them.
Of course, this is not to condone words and actions that are truly harmful. If someone is truly getting hurt by the brashness of others, it may be time to intervene and try to resolve the situation peacefully.
It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking badly of others. We learn of a colleague's family issues, and we somehow delight in 'digging the dirt.' We see an older person serving at a fastfood place, and we assume they're a failure in life. We encounter a person we don't like, and we talk ill behind their back. Maliciousness can become almost like an impulse if left unchecked. Fortunately, it can be overcome.
When you see this flaw in yourself: Brace yourself -- it takes a large amount of personal strength to admit that you are being malicious. Ponder on this for a while. Think about your opinions of others recently, about the gossip you've indulged in, and about your 'automatic' sentiments towards people. Nobody deserves ill thoughts and backstabbing, not even the persons you like the least.
More importantly, malicious thoughts and actions don't really reflect on the other person -- they reflect on you. What kind of person would you be if you keep tolerating ugly thoughts and surrounding yourself with gossip?
When you see this flaw in others: Distance yourself from people who indulge in venomous chat and people-judging. You can stay civil and friendly with these people, but when the conversation starts to turn bitter, try to steer it towards more constructive topics. If you find yourself in the middle of a spiteful conversation, don't be afraid to give your genuine and constructive two cents, such as, "This is a sensitive and personal matter. I'm not sure she'll appreciate us talking about it like this."
To be Christian is to be an active follower of Christ. But what if we find ourselves or others being indolent when it comes to our profession, our relationships, and our religion? What if missing church service becomes a habit? Or if we settle for being mediocre at our jobs? Or if we grow tired of showing love to our family?
When you see this flaw in yourself: Remember what motivates you. Inspiration is all around us -- we just often take it for granted. We can be motivated by our goals and aspirations, our loved ones, or even the little everyday joys that fill our lives. What got you started on your path? Which things in this path make it worth it?
It also helps to think about the improvement we've made so far. Remember where you started. Remember when you used to pray for the things you have now. You've made it this far because you worked hard. And as the saying goes, "You didn't come this far to only come this far."
Of course, one great source of motivation is the Bible itself. See our list of Bible verses that can be your amazing personal boosters -- click here.
When you see this flaw in others: The laziness of others can cause real inconveniences in our lives. Perhaps a family member is not doing their assigned chores. Perhaps a coworker is underperforming, forcing others to cover for their deficiencies. Perhaps your church group partner keeps missing Bible sessions.
We must take care not to focus on blaming and finger-pointing. Instead, we can courteously approach the person who might need motivation or assistance. Sometimes, a little nudge is all they need. Combine this with the assurance that they are welcome to come back to their former groove -- no blaming, no judgment. Everyone will be happy to see them participating again.
There are plenty of other flaws and mistakes that even the most devout Christians have. The number one thing to remember is that we're all human, and as long as we're working to correct our wrongs, we can love and be loved as God loves us. Embrace yourself, embrace your neighbors, just as Christ embraced us all.
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