I was visiting with my neighbour’s one hot Sunday afternoon, sitting outside with them on the shady side of the house by the back door. Their children were playing around us and going in and out the door. After a while, a half-grown kitten came out the door and we all took note that the hair along its back had been roughly shorn off.
“Who did that?”, demanded the mother.
“I think the mommy cat did,” responded their four year old daughter.
She was innocent enough to think this might sound like a reasonable possibility, and seemed surprised that her mother considered her answer a dead giveaway. When tufts of hair and a pair of scissors were found on a bed, and Mom expressed her certainty that the mommy cat did not do it, the little girl confessed that it was indeed she who had done it.
The tendency to want to blame someone else when things go wrong stays with us as we grow older. We just learn to make more reasonable sounding excuses. A few days ago I saw a greeting card in a store, with the grand-daddy of all excuses: “Counselling has taught me that it’s not my fault.”
The Bible instructs us in many places to be perfect. Our tendency is to assume that perfect means without fault, which we know to be impossible, so we say this speaks of the perfection of Christ which is imputed to us. It is true that our sins are covered by the blood of Christ, but I believe these passages are speaking of something else.
The root meaning of perfect is thoroughly done. Likewise, the Greek words translated perfect mean have the meaning of complete or fully grown. In the following verses, a Greek word that is translated perfect in other places is translated men and of full age.
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (1 Corinthians 14:20)
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
As I read these, and other verses that speak of being perfect, it seems that we are being admonished to be mature and accountable. A perfect man then would not be one who always does things just right, but one who accepts responsibility for his actions and doesn’t try to blame the mommy cat. One who admits when he has done wrong, confesses it and tries to make amends.
Is there any other kind of man (or woman) that God can use?