Mahatma Gandhi, born in India and became a philosopher, lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of his homeland. As such, he came to be considered the father of his country. Gandhi is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest to achieve political and social progress. Although such a great personality, he once said: “My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents, and I lay them both at His feet.”
Gandhi goes on to ask, Why should He have chosen me, an imperfect instrument, for such a mighty experiment? I think He deliberately did so. He had to serve the poor, dumb, ignorant millions. A perfect man might have been their despair. When they found that one with their failings was marching on towards harmlessness, they too had confidence in their own capacity. We should not have recognized a perfect man if he had come as our leader, and we might have driven him to a cave. Maybe he who follows me will be more perfect and you will be able to receive his message.1
Karen McGinley, from the Chopra Center, suggests that we first Embrace Imperfection in Others, then Embrace Imperfection in Yourself, followed by Embrace Imperfection in Your Circumstances, which will help to Embrace Imperfection as a Way of Living and make it able for you to Enjoy the Process. To me, this is another way of saying, accept reality and deal with it in a real way.
Another writer, Kate-Toholka gives us a different view. As she sees it we must see our perceived flaws in a whole new light since nothing is completely good or bad. Then, practice gratitude daily by being grateful for what we already have. This is a positive-thinking way of approaching life. That will allow us to recognize that we are not our thoughts, otherwise we will react to things that are the product of fear or wishful thinking. We need to be vulnerable with others since we are not alone in this world. Finally, look after ourselves because it’s hard to find anyone who will do that for us.
But I like what Tony Fahkry from Mission.org has to say, and this is to accept ourselves completely for who we are. That then will become the starting line for making improvements. Perfection should be our goal even though few ever achieve it. Still, it’s something to aim for instead of being aimless. After all, we are born to be real, not perfect. Think of yourself as a painting. From a distance, it looks so perfect, but when you get up close you can see the brushstrokes which become distracting and lowers your appreciation for the whole portrait.
The Bible is not silent on this subject. Jesus made it clear when he said that we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. In other words, live each day growing and maturing so that we get better each day by using our heavenly Father as a role model.2 After all, as the Apostle Paul said, we have no excuse for not dealing with our imperfections just because others have them too. And we should never become the judge of others until we judge ourselves. That way, as we improve, others will see that improvement and might try to copy our example.3 Let us never forget that as a Christian, we did not get to be that way on our own, we need God’s help each and every day. Remember, the help our Lord has given us is a gift.4
That’s why the Apostle John tells us that when we see our imperfections and how they affect our relationship with God and others, if we admit that we are not perfect and ask God for help in making the needed changes, He will not hold the mistakes we’ve already made against us so that we cannot do better, He’ll let bygones be bygones and help us to make the proper adjustment and continue on our road to being what He wants us to be.5
So if God will do that for us, can we do any less for those around us at home, at work, on the highway, at church, in our families? Keep in mind, God’s intention is for all of us one day to live together in perfect peace and harmony in His wonderful presence. So there’s no need to wait until then when we can start making that our aim and goal right here and right now. – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi: Encyclopedia of Gandhi’s Thoughts, Compiled and edited by R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao, Printed & Published by Jitendra T. Desai, Ahmedabad, India, 1966, My Mission, p. 42
2 Matthew 5:8
3 Romans 2:2
4 Ephesians 2:8
5 1 John 1:9