I Hate Perfect People


Okay, that’s a little harsh, I know. I don’t actually hate them, but that’s mostly because they don’t exist. By my count, there have been only three to ever walk the face of the earth, and the first two caved under the pressure. What I actually hate is people pretending to be perfect, and they are legion.

Perfect people have it all together. They spend three hours a day in personal devotions, chair every church committee, have immaculate houses and trim physiques. They walk with the Lord every moment of every day, and all their kids play musical instruments…superbly well!

Why do I hate them? Same reason most of us do, I think. They are walking condemnations of who we are and what we do. When we spend time with them, we come away feeling inferior and discouraged. We want to crawl under a rock or wallow in self-pity. “Why can’t I be like them? Why is my family so messed up? There’s no hope for me if that’s the standard!”

But aside from my personal issues, I hate the impact they have on the Body of Christ. Their “perfectness” creates a wall – both for the non-believer and the believer. Perfect people are unapproachable. They don’t have problems like I have. They don’t struggle like I struggle. How could I ever open up to them about my sin or my pain? They wouldn’t understand, and they would probably judge me for it.

I attended a Christian men’s conference a few years ago, and the speaker asked us to talk at our tables about our struggles as men. I knew how hard it is to get men to open up to other men, so I thought I would prime the pump.

“I struggle with sexual purity. I was exposed to some pornography when I was about seven years old, and over the years, I developed an addiction.  When I became a Christian I realized that I had to deal with this sin in my life. I’m winning some battles, but it still has a strong pull on my heart.”

Silence. Nothing for about thirty excruciating seconds, and then the other seven guys at the table all said basically the same thing: “Well, I haven’t struggled with that, but I feel for you. No, my problem is…” and they began to rattle off some pretty mundane transgressions. All very safe stuff. I felt like a leper.

But as they shared, I realized something I had missed before. They were all from the same church – the one where the event was held. I was the only one from out of town. I suspected that many of them actually did struggle with sexual purity on some level (my experience is that it’s fairly universal for men – if not with pornography, then with eye control and impure thoughts), but they felt it was unsafe to share with each other. My suspicions were confirmed when one of the men approached me privately after the conference and confessed a deep-rooted battle with porn.

Why was it unsafe for those men to share with each other? Because they feared being judged. They feared what would change in their relationships. They feared that their secret might get out. Only faux weaknesses were safe enough to share.

This is such a tragedy! None of those men were perfect. All of them had issues that needed to be shared at that table. But no one wanted to expose his heart to the other men. Instead, they played perfect with each other, and by doing so, they stepped into Satan’s net of isolation. One of his main strategies against us is divide and conquer. He knows that we are stronger together, and he will do whatever it takes to keep us from unity.

We’ve got to be more transparent with each other and with the world around us. Playing perfect only sets us up for a fall when the Enemy exposes our sin. Pretending that we don’t struggle doesn’t make Chrisianity more attractive; it makes it unreal and hypocritical and “holier than thou.”

What the hurting people around us need to see is that we are hurting, too, but that we have Someone to whom we can take those hurts. We struggle, but we have hope. We sin, but we have forgiveness. We fall, but we get up.  Then, they will know that it’s safe to confide in us, that we can relate and that we won’t judge.  And that magnet is much more powerful than anything the Enemy has in his arsenal.

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7 Comments

Filed under Authenticity, evangelism, Interpersonal, Relationships, Spirituality, Uncategorized

7 responses to “I Hate Perfect People

  1. This walk is a walk of “sanctification”, not a one time deal. No one has arrived. It is an on going process. We should all be growing as we go. Contrary to popular belief, we should be striving to be “perfect” in obedience to God.
    God bless you as you grow and go,
    Richard

  2. Carrie

    just thought i would comment since no one has in a few post i still read

  3. Oh, no! A ‘pity post!’ I’m so embarrassed.

    Michael

  4. Carrie

    not a pity post! just letting you know I read your blog as much as your wifes just dont often comment on yours! they do make me think though! keep posting!

  5. Sherry

    This so strongly hit home with me today. I’m struggling with hatred towards a fellow believer I work with, because she presents herself as TOTALLY perfect, both in her work life and spiritual life. I feel like a little toad next to her, and my best efforts at work and my attempts to be a loving person to others all seem to fall short next to her. I feel like shrinking down and melting like the Wicked Witch of the West in the Oz film. I really need to get past this, and to have love and compassion toward her. I wish she would just be real and make ONE LITTLE MISTAKE once in a while!!!

    ————-
    I’m with you, Sherry. A little chink in the armor makes a person so much more likable! If it helps, her “perfect” persona is probably just a defense mechanism to cover up a fear or a pain that she has. If you can forgive her and show her some unconditional love, you might be the one she opens up to. Personally, this would be hard for me to do, but you might try asking God to give you the love He has for her. Blessings…Michael

  6. Sherry

    Thanks, Michael. I will ask God to give me HIS love for her. I know that is the key to give me peace and make it easier to work around her. And I do know that there are people that will come up to me to talk over difficult things they’re dealing with, because they know I struggle too. I guess overall I prefer being the ragtag, growing person that I am, because although the masses don’t adore me, there are a few broken yet precious people who have felt free to share with me because of my “warts”. (It would just be fun to be ‘Cinderella’ once in a while). Thanks for taking the time to respond, have a wonderful day!

  7. Rick

    Michael- I’ve been saying the same thing to myself- that I wish I had the love from God that she has. ( My girlfriend is perfect ). This is part of the problem. Next to her – I feel unloved by God, less than, envious and bitter. This perfection of hers is causing me a rift with God. Do I love her like God does? Well. I love her- I wish her no harm or ill-will, but I still dont feel as blessed. I dont know if loving her as God does would stop me from feeling inferior, unloved and less than to God. See? You spoke of Satans tricks, and I feel like this seeming perfection is rubbing my nose in my imperfection and humaness. Like I’m not as blessed. It separates from God- thats a really nasty thing to do to people. Thats at least how I feel.
    Blesssings to us huh?
    Rick

    —————-

    Hi, Rick. That’s a tough situation. I can see how feeling inferior around your girlfriend could grow into a very difficult problem over time. Here’s what God has been teaching me lately about this topic.

    We put too much emphasis on what we do or don’t do in our walk. God loves us for WHO we are, not for what we DO. Because we are His sons and daughters, He loves us like He loves Jesus. Nothing we could ever do or not do would change our relationship to Him. Our sin puts distance between us, but we are still His children. (Read the story about the prodigal son again from the perspective that the son represents a Christian who has walked away from God’s purpose for his life.)

    If we could ever get to the point where we felt totally secure in God’s love, I don’t think “perfect people” would bother us so much. It’s easier to love people when we feel totally loved by God. I think that’s the paradigm shift we all need to make.

    For more about what I’ve learned about this, please read my recent post on the difference between trying to earn God’s love and returning God’s love.

    Blessings to you….Michael

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