Consumerism drives our world—we want something, and we want it now. Sometimes I think I couldn’t live without free 2-day shipping from Amazon Prime. For goodness sakes, now there’s even “same day delivery.” Not only do we want something immediately, we want it NEW. When something is broken or damaged, we want it fixed ASAP. Sometimes, quite frankly, it’s cheaper (and easier) to just buy a new one.
We recently purchased a new piece of furniture for our living room, an end table. It got delivered via the furniture store, and a few days after it arrived, we noticed a small scratch on the side. I didn’t think much of it (stuff gets damaged all the time—so what?). But my husband was outraged. He immediately called the company and requested they send a replacement. It was poor customer service to deliver a damaged piece of furniture, he said. It decreases the value of the furniture, he said. He wanted to return it for a new one. “I paid for a new piece of furniture, and that’s what we’ll get.” The company eventually obliged and exchanged the piece of furniture. (Oh, and don’t worry, the savvy shopper that my husband is, he got us a discount for our “inconvenience.”)
When we got the piece of furniture that wasn’t PERFECT, we immediately couldn’t look past the imperfections. We would point it out to our friends who compliment it- “Oh yea it’s really great, but did you see this scratch!?”
We are customers and we expect the world to be at our service. We paid for new, so that’s what we deserve. We do this all the time—with furniture, household items, vehicles, food, etc.
But this got me thinking…I’m so glad Jesus isn’t like this. I’m so thankful that perfection is not demanded of me; that the second I mess up, I’m not returned, or thrown aside, or exchanged for a newer model. I’m grateful that my eternity is not dependent upon perfection, or even dependent on my actions. In fact, it’s in my nature to screw up. I do it every minute of every day. I’m grateful that God loves me so much in spite of these screw-ups. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom, that nothing I do can make him love me any less than he does right now; there is no mess-up so big that it will decrease Christ’s unfailing love for me.
Our church has a great motto: “Jesus in my place.” It’s so simple, yet so profound. I don’t have to be perfect because Jesus was. Jesus literally took my place and died the death I deserved, for the weight of my sins. The song lyrics from Summit Church’s worship album put it perfectly:
Living the life I could not live / Dying the death that I deserved /Bearing my sin to pay the price /Rising again to give me life /Jesus in my place, Jesus in my place/ This is hope, this is grace, Jesus in my place
Romans 3:23-25 describes the gracious gift of our salvation: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.”
This doesn’t mean that our imperfections and screw-ups are without punishment, but that Jesus took the punishment we deserved: death. And now God looks through his perfect son’s sacrifice to see us.
So next time you go to exchange that pair of shoes that is just slightly damaged, or complain to the waiter about your meal, go right ahead…demand perfection. But be thankful you are not held to those same standards. And that Jesus Christ is perfect so that you don’t have to be.