There he was, looking him straight in the eyes. That split second must have seemed like an eternity. Could he tell he was looking into the face of love? Was it visible in his eyes? Then he spoke, “You are lacking one thing.”
His heart must have sunk. He was perfect. He didn’t just think he was perfect; he knew he was perfect. How could he be lacking anything? At this reality, he walked away dismayed. He was too perfect. He had too much.
So goes the story of the rich man found in Mark 10:17-29. This man had done it all. He not only knew the commands of God, but he had kept them. All of them. From childhood. I’m impressed.
However, the story doesn’t end the way the disciples thought it would. Lacking one thing, seriously? This guy had it all. He was blessed. Apparently he had too much. But that didn’t stop Jesus from loving him.
Two things I want to know and want you to know from this story. First, Jesus loves even “perfect” people. He looked at this man, this perfect man, and loved him. I don’t think Jesus was fooled into believing he was perfect and that is why he loved him. I think Jesus just learned to love everyone, even “perfect” people.
Second, perfection is not the way to God’s heart. Many of us think perfection looks like trying too hard, but sometimes perfection looks like not trying at all. Why didn’t I join that ministry? I didn’t want to do it and fail. I didn’t do it because I couldn’t be perfect at it. Why didn’t I take that risk? I didn’t want anyone to see that I wasn’t smart enough, or strong enough, or brave enough … not perfect enough. Perfection masquerades in many forms. God isn’t fooled, he sees what’s in the heart.
Consider these words from a CNN article,
“We get sucked into perfection for one very simple reason: We believe perfection will protect us. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.
We all need to feel worthy of love and belonging, and our worthiness is on the line when we feel like we are never ___ enough (you can fill in the blank: thin, beautiful, smart, extraordinary, talented, popular, promoted, admired, accomplished).” (source)
Where will you find a voice that says, “You are enough. I love you.”