As one who makes mistakes, but tries desperately not to, I confess, I love hearing that God loves the imperfect. As one who must regularly confess the miscue, the misdeed, the missed mark, I delight in the notion that God loves the imperfect. As one who, just yesterday, said a quick yes, when I should have said a considered no. I am grateful that God loves the imperfect. As one who just typed imprefect rather than imperfect, I am glad that God has a sense of humor and still loves the imperfect. As one who pays too much attention to what others think, in hopes they'll approve, I sigh deeply to think that God loves the imperfect. As one whose tendency is to find fault with oneself and too often with the other, I am humbled to know that God loves the imperfect. As one who regularly revisits what I should have said, while others are speaking and I should be listening, I am bolstered to know that God loves the imperfect. As one who is easily distracted and often a million miles away from where my feet are, I feel the universe gather me back to the God who loves the imperfect. As one who regularly tries too hard to earn her own approval, I inch my way into the pool of grace and hear again that God loves the imperfect. The past is the past, God says, as God's love of the imperfect firms the footing of those whom God is perfecting. On the sixth say, God created humankind, you and me and all of thee, and God said we were very good. We were not yet perfect. God loves. God loved then. And still, God loves the imperfect. Thank God.
You have given us a world of beauty, and we have spoilt it.
A world to feed us, and yet many go hungry.
A world of riches, and we are unwilling to share.
A world to care for, and we think only of ourselves.
Forgive us, gracious God,
for those times your heart is saddened by our selfishness.
For those times we have no thought of others,
no cares but ours.
Enable us to see this world anew, as a gift from you,
to be shared and nurtured.
The Lord taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” ~ Matthew 6:13. It’s the oddest of requests really. Why in the world would God ever lead us INTO temptation? Do we really need to request that God not?
Yet, I have been feeling a bit tempted lately. For me this generally begins with a thought. When the thought occurs, I know it is temptation. It is not nice or not helpful to think it, but it doesn’t seem all that bad, really. As long as I don’t act on the thought.
Well, temptation is a slippery slope, and like most slopes, if you stop yourself before it gets too steep, you have a better chance of not falling. So, I had this other thought. What if, whenever I felt tempted, I just spoke the words to myself: “Lord, lead me not into temptation…”?
Worth a try, right? Well, the instant I adopted the practice, I was astounded at the frequency with which I put this to use. It’s a bit embarrassing. In just a few hours, I was tempted:
- to complain about the kids blocking the aisle
- to chastise the smokers in the parking lot
- to judge the outfit
- to find fault with the other patron
- to lose my patience
- to take advantage
- to blame
- to run ahead of God
- to seek validation and admiration
- to gossip
- to compare
- to rush to be done and submit less than my best
- to be selfish
- to dismiss another by talking over them
- to dodge my responsibility
- to neglect
- to steal by plagiarizing
- to worry
Wow! Think of the evil I was delivered from! Ha. And I thought I was doing pretty well. (see validation/admiration above) Guess this is gonna be a greatest hit on my prayer list.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.