Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fleshly, Flawed, Forgiven

I have to admit that I never made such a clear connection between being flawed and forgiven before reading chapter nine of Lisa's book, Behind These Eyes. This chapter is called "We Are Completely Flawed Yet Forgiven Completely". What a fresh look at being flawed this has been. We have to have one to have the other. We need to be flawed to be forgiven. We need to be forgiven because we are flawed. We are always, completely, totally, and fully forgiven. There's no half or partial forgiveness when we repent and seek His face. Lisa says: "We are flawed and forgiven all at the same time. And not just partially forgiven. We are sinful, down to our very core, and we are sanctified, down to our very soul."

Being flawed is a good thing for our relationship with God. One, it shows our need for Him. Two, it allows us to be forgiven. Yes, you heard me...being flawed allows us to be forgiven. Can you imagine never experiencing forgiveness? I guess if we really were Ms. Perfection then we wouldn't want or need it. However, that is not reality. Reality is that we can't have one without the other. We can't be completely forgiven without being completely flawed.

Ah the sin nature. Nature is one's natural state. Webster's defines it as the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing. That's right, our inherent character is that of sin. S.I.N.! Our humanly natural state is indeed sinful. It seems to come natural to our sinful flesh to do the less desirable things if we don't allow the Holy Spirit within us to control us, our thoughts, and our actions. In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am slave to sin. Romans 7:25 NLT. Slave to sin!

Paul was such a great example of recognizing his sin nature and the evil grip of sin. He expressed his frustrations in Romans 7. If the great Apostle Paul struggled so much, can we not expect to struggle equally or even more than he? He calls himself rotten through and through. I love this true but seemingly tongue twister in verses 15-16 and 19.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Romans 7:15-19

Lisa so poignantly says: "Even when we are the best self we can ever be in our own strength, we are still influenced by our fleshly and sinful tendencies...Even at our best, we are not quite good enough."

Lisa termed us with the words "perfectly imperfect". I've never been perfect at anything so I take pride in being able to say I'm perfectly imperfect. To say I'm imperfect means I'm in need of a Savior who will make me perfect. But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 1 Cor. 13:10 (This references Christ's second coming (perfection), then our imperfection will disappear as we are made perfect.) To be seen as perfectly imperfect is to admit our flaws and failures. It allows us to seek the help of others and most importantly the help of God. My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9 His power is made perfect in my imperfection. I'll be His vessel for His power to reign any day!!!

Being flawed does not mean we are bad. It is by our nature to be flawed starting with the first sin in the Garden. We cannot escape our flaws. Just as we overcome one, we may inherit another one as our seasons change. When I was a kid, I had a very smart mouth - no not intelligent but as in smart alec. I am not that way anymore. For whatever reason, as flawed humans, we strive for perfection. So to be anything less, seems to be perceived as bad. However, we can see how there truly is so much beauty in being flawed. Listen to Lisa: "The most beautiful part of this equation is how that flaw gives us the ability to be better. For if there were no flaw, there would be no reason for forgiveness." No flaw, no forgiveness. Period.

I love, love, love the description of God's forgiveness being as wide as east to west. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12. This verse is the basis of popular song, "East to West", by Casting Crowns. It shows the vastness of His forgiveness. It is never ending. It is not limited. It is not conditioned. It is not capped. He never runs out of forgiveness. Rather, His forgiveness is unending just like the description east to west is unending. Lisa says: "God used those words because He wanted to illustrate for you and me that His forgiveness for us cannot be matched or measured!" We cannot measure east to west. We cannot measure God's forgiveness.

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him. Daniel 9:9 Yes, even with our failures. Yes, even with our flaws. Yes, even with our imperfections. He eagerly awaits for us to seek His forgiveness and He eagerly forgives us despite ourselves...despite our sinful nature.

I had to smile and nod in agreement with Lisa. She said: "There have been times in my life when looking in the mirror was hard for me because I knew who I was and what I had done. I sometimes felt as if I had a Kick Me sign on my back, and I was the first in line to do it." Amen, sister! Oh that is so me. She continued though with what I call the cherry on top of that sinful sundae. "Being so deeply flawed left me with the ability to be forgiven by God equally, the flaws suddenly felt really important to the process."

Reading this last page reminded me of a beautiful scripture. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Can't you see the importance and beauty in being flawed and imperfect?

Do you feel forgiven? Will you begin to really believe you are forgiven and to live in that forgiveness?

I love this line of Lisa's prayer. "Help us to be spiritually strong so that we can allow ourselves the permission to be flawed." Do you allow yourself to be flawed?

Now quit beating up yourself for your flaws and rejoice in them as they bring forgiveness and an opportunity to be better.

Click here to see what others have to say about this.

Definitely Flawed But Forgiven,

The picture is from my yard. Flawed is beautiful. Dead is beautiful.


Jill said...

Good words and what a great connection between our flaws and His forgiveness. This too presented things in a different light for me and I'm thankful. Blessings,

Laura said...

I love this, Paula. I had a chuckle at your embracing being perfectly imperfect. Cute.
I love how you grabbed onto that connection between having to be flawed before we can be forgiven. God's ways are so mysterious. He just amazes me.

HIS Daughter said...

I understand your heart, Paula..here but more importantly at Lisa's.

I'm praying with you...one foot..next foot...rest and then let HIM carry while we bury our heads in HIS shoulder and cry.

I guess we will know it's time to stop that when HE says, "Walk child - not on water..just get up and take up that blanket and walk."

I'm with you right now. I just want to be carried for awhile.

Love and blessings,

Cheri Bunch said...

How great is our God........He provides for us garments of righteousness.

I read a beautiful verse this morning from Song of Solomon:

(4:6) "All beautiful, you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you."

Oh, how He loves you and me!!!!


Runner Mom said...

ooh--this is so good! I love the scriptures that you pulled into this chapter. I really got a lot from the chapter as well--from the part I've read!!! Need to finish it!

Love ya,

Wendy said...

Paula girl!! I love your posts, and I just don't have the time to sit down and fully soak up your wonderful wisdom, I'll be back to do that I promise.

In the meantime, I wanted to encourage you (and all your bloggy friends) to pop over to my blog (www.wendyblackwell.blogspot.com) to leave comments about what is the toughest thing about being a woman (we are collecting them for our new study -- Beth Moore's Esther). Thanks!!

Liz said...

Loved this...
We need to be flawed to be forgiven. We need to be forgiven because we are flawed. We are always, completely, totally, and fully forgiven.
So true and spoke to my heart!
Thanks for all your great words, has me thinking...

Cindy said...

I so agree with you about needed to be and see our flaws ~ of course, how else will we see our need for the Savior!

I loved this chapter.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I find it difficult to get past your title. "His Ways...are not our ways" because my response is you got that right!!!! Paula, I don't mean to be rude but sometimes I don't get to read your posts until the weekend when I have more time. I will comment on your entry this weekend.

Sharon said...

I never looked at it like that, but to know we are forgiven for our flaws, but some of my flaws relate to my sins, so yes he forgives me. This is really speaking to my heart! And you really put this together, the scriptures are wonderful.
What a Forgiving and Loving God!
I will never be flawless, even though I/we try.
Blessings to you my friend

Amy said...

I love the thought of being "perfectly imperfect" too. Now that kind of perfection..I can do.;)

Beautiful thoughts and reflections once again, Paula.

"Flawed and forgiven"....Thank You, Lord!

Big hugs,

Darlene said...

I love how you said it here: "Now quit beating up yourself for your flaws and rejoice in them as they bring forgiveness and an opportunity to be better."

I am with you, girl.


Abbasgirl said...

Beautiful post sweet Sister. You used great Scriptures for us to ponder.

Kristen said...

Oh how I need to catch up w/ my reading. I am a week behind! (Flawed yes, Forgiven... YES!)

Thank you for sharing your heart w/ us.
Love you!!!

Lelia Chealey said...

Oh yes, my dear friend. Forgiveness is such beautiful freedom. If only I had let God have His way a looooooong time ago!
Love you,

Dianne said...

I believe that God gives us weakness so that he can prove us by it and so that we can be humbled.

If we do humlbe oursleves before him, we will make our weaknesses into strengths.

Thank you for this lovely post and for the reminder that we are still worth something evein if we are flawed.

Amy L Brooke said...

Isn't it amazing that God so desires us who are broken. He paid double or triple or eternally more than what someone selling us would say we are worth. Our worth comes from Him. He does so love us!

Anonymous said...

I had extra time this morning because I managed to wake up earlier. Just wanted to mention that when I took my dd to an art class a few years ago, her instructor said "There's no such thing as a mistake in art". I think that can speak the same of our "flaws" don't you?

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

What a powerful....powerful post my friend.

I agree..when we are flawed...broken...it's in that state that God can truly transform our hearts.

The tought part...is working through what it takes to become broken. It's not easy, but once we are done to nothing but being broken...oh the wonder of God's healing touch.

Love ya.

On Purpose said...

Has anyone every told you...you are beautifully gifted at writing?!?!

You my friend can share your heart and relationship beautifully in written form!

Flawed and Forgiven!
"You can't have one without the other"

Tonya said...

Hey, Sweet Friend! I wanted to stop in and say THANK YOU for the b'day wishes. Your comment was SO SWEET and I REALLY APPRECIATE YOU!

It's not long till Friday now.. Have a GREAT weekend!


Susan said...

Hey Paula,

Wow, this was just incredible. I really enjoyed reading this.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. It was so nice to hear from you.

Blessings to you, I'll be back!!


Mari said...

Thank you for the kind comments on my blog. I've not had a lot of time to visit my bloggy friends. I hope to catch up everyone this weekend.

I loved when you said: Being flawed is a good thing for our relationship with God

I can add an enthusiastic AMEN to that! Great post, as always!

Leebird said...

Hey Paula,

Thanks for your sweet words on my blog, and especially thank you for praying for my family.

To answer your question re: Self Talk Soul Talk....yes...there are questions at the end of each chapter...and there is a website that accompanies the book with interesting stuff to go along with each chapter.

Melanie said...

"Help us to be spiritually strong so that we can allow ourselves the permission to be flawed." I love this quote that you shared. It is hard to allow ourselves to be flawed. For some reason our human nature just fights and fights that. It is so wonderful to know that we can be flawed and that God loves us just the way we are.

Have a great weekend, Paula!

JnL4God said...

I am going to count you in for the giveaway. If you win I will see that you have one for each neice.
PS I missed this post I will come back a read later.

God's Girl said...

You have absolutely beautiful photos on your blog. I'll come back and visit to read more.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Carol said...


My friend, I have missed reading your blogs. I love how you are rejoicing in your imperfection. It's a way I never looked at it before.

Here are to completely imperfect friends, finding to forgiviness in our Lord and Savior.

Love ya,