Imperfect – And Yet Perfectly Fine

Does the perfect family exist?

In Deuteronomy 32, we find the song of Moses. The fourth verse in this song describes God. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”

Read verse four again. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” How wonderful is our God! All praise, honor, worship, and glory belong to Him. You can count on Him because He is the Rock. Even in the wildest storm, when we have trouble standing, the rock is immovable. What He does is perfect. No correction or improvement is necessary. His work is perfect. Justice, truth, and righteousness are part of His character. He is good, through and through. There is nothing to be found in Him that is not good. When we consider the characteristics of God, we are filled with joy. Our lips cannot be silent, and we praise and worship our God. 

Moses, who wrote this song, was a great man of God, from whom we have much to learn. His faith, his confident trust in God, his patience, and his willingness to sacrifice are worthy to be emulated. God revealed Himself to Moses in a special way. Moses had many experiences with the Lord. But we can also see from his example that even great men and women of God are not perfect. We find flaws in their lives. They sinned and made mistakes. The Bible is trustworthy. It does not hide these flaws but shows them for what they are. 

We are no different. We will not measure up to the perfection that God has. We must not forget that we are human. The serpent enticed Eve to want to become like God. But through the fall into sin, human imperfection became even more pronounced. We have inherited a nature that is depraved. We are born with it.  

Because we are not perfect, we cannot expect others in our family to be. A family consists of parents and children who are all imperfect. Children will not always behave the way the parents want them to. And as parents, we do not always make the right choices either. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain a calm posture, and we get agitated. We may say something in the heat of the moment which we cannot retract. We all make mistakes. 

For some, this may be difficult to admit, yet it is necessary. Only when we are aware of our flaws will we be willing to work on ourselves and to improve. Then our expectations of others in the family will be more realistic as well. What do we expect? Do we expect perfection from imperfect human beings? Our goal is not to have a perfect family, but to be a family that serves and honors God and submits to His will

God does not leave us to our own devices. He knows us through and through, and therefore there is no point in trying to hide anything from Him. He knows our imperfections. Therefore, He is willing to help us. He helps us when we ask Him to. He will supply us with His strength, His love, and His perseverance. He will give us what we need. And the strength, love, and perseverance He endows us with is perfect because “His work is perfect.”

God also does not expect us to be satisfied with our condition of imperfection and to continue as we are. He does not show us our flaws in order to condemn us. That is not the way He is. He has no evil intentions.  He is patient with us and wants us to improve. He works in us in order to form us according to His plan. The Bible uses the symbolism of a potter to describe this. “‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the LORD. ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!’” (Jeremiah 18:6) God is active in changing our lives. The clay in His hand can be transformed in different ways. Here or there something may need to be removed or added. Some of the rough edges may need to be rounded off. 

If the work is going in the right direction, sometimes only a few changes are necessary. However, sometimes the potter must take more drastic measures. The goal is to become more like Jesus. If we lose sight of this ideal or set other examples for ourselves, God may have to intervene a little more deeply to correct our lives, and this can be painful.

In doing so, He not infrequently also uses our spouse and children as tools in his hand. When we realize that it is God who has given us our children and the spouse we have, then we can understand that God has made them the way they are for a definite purpose. As a family, we are meant to sharpen and form each other. The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV). God uses our family to form our character in order to become more like Him. 

No family is perfect, but that is okay as long as we can say, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). 

Stefan Schmelzle

Pforzheim, Germany

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