The past week I observed my brother, who is suffering a major medical issue, display nearly-perfect courage. I was the recipient of an act of nearly-perfect love from my wife. I heard testimony from a new friend who told me his story which includes nearly-perfect forgiveness. I even got to watch a rookie pitcher on the Kansas City Royals pitch a nearly-perfect baseball game.
I guarantee these four people would tell you they are nowhere near being nearly-perfect! While I agree, because none of us are, I am talking about their nearly-perfect reaction to a situation…how they showed courage…how they showed love…how they showed forgiveness.
2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.” Seventeen years ago, the world witnessed nearly-perfect courage, love, and discipline at The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and over a field in Pennsylvania. We remember them, as we should; we memorialize them, as we should; we honor them, as we should. Victims and responders alike responded to extraordinary events in extra-ordinary ways…nearly-perfect!
Out of the tragedy of that day came stories of courage and love that will inspire us throughout history. I have also heard and read stories where seeking forgiveness was the last subject of a person’s life. Husbands calling their wife asking forgiveness as they faced certain death. Supervisors asking employees for forgiveness as they lay trapped under cement slabs. People asking their loved ones forgiveness as they decided to jump to death instead of staying in a roaring inferno.
I also have heard and read stories where people, in their most desperate moment, humbled themselves and asked God for forgiveness. While it is not our place to know the legitimacy of these stories, just understanding human nature tells us this is true. Many people call on God at their darkest moment for salvation. All I know is what Scripture tells us, Romans 10:10 says this of our relationship with Jesus Christ, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
In archery competition, the goal is to hit the bullseye—to be perfect. If you miss the bullseye even by a millimeter it is ruled a “sin”. You missed the mark, you are good but not perfect and the reason you miss does not matter—you are accountable. None of us are perfect.
Jesus is not nearly-perfect—He is perfection! Perfect in courage; perfect in love; perfect in forgiveness; perfect in every way! All we must do is accept His free gift of perfection; be it at a Church, your home, or a burning building.