by Eric Muhr
A friend and I discussed evangelical Christianity's focus on the inherent sinfulness of humanity, its claim that people, who experience grace, must be changed into something new. But the prospective pitfall of such belief is the realization that perfection (a worthy goal) is always just beyond our reach. So we become a people impatient with impossible standards, who stop looking forward, start looking back, compare ourselves to those who lag behind.
We define ourselves by what we’re not. And in the process we become judgmental, self-satisfied with how much closer we are to perfection than the world’s sinners. We cultivate an attitude of intolerance, which makes us intolerable.
During this talk there came to light another possible perspective. If we were created in God’s image, doesn’t it make sense that we are, at heart, perfect? That sinful nature — rather than a central problem — is something more like a veil we wear? If this is true, the perfection with which we have already been gifted is masked (but never diminished) by our sin.
The path to holiness, then, becomes a letting go of petty possessions, small dreams, selfish desires. We strip ourselves of everything that isn’t us. We finally find the fullness of perfection to which we have been called and for which we were created.
This is freedom.