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Blind To Imperfections

This past Sunday, I had the honor and privilege to officiate a wedding in Arizona. It was my very first visit to the state and I loved it. I didn’t know the place was so beautiful! When the bride shared with me that she was moving to Arizona, I was dumbfounded. I was like, "What in heaven’s name are you going to do in Arizona? What does the place have to offer you?"

As you can all probably tell, there are times when we fall in love with a particular place on our first visit, and all we want to do is to move and settle there. To me, it is a privilege to even think about moving to resettle elsewhere because you fell in love with that place.

The bride used to be a parishioner; her son was baptized and confirmed here at Christ Church and her daughter was also baptized here. It was indeed an honor to be invited to officiate and marry this beautiful couple - they are as beautiful as the state in which they married.

I have, since the bride shared news of the wedding with me, reflected on the life of the bride and the varying degrees of challenges that she dealt with before she finally moved to Arizona. It felt as if the move from Maryland was to leave the past behind and start afresh, in a new place and environment where no one knew her and where she could be herself, and live authentically and abundantly.

As I reflected on the wedding, I thought about an extemporaneous homily. But the more I thought about it, the more this phrase kept coming back to me: Be Blind to Imperfections. I don’t know where I read that or how that came to mind but that was my first interaction with that phrase. I felt deep within me that I had to remind the couple to be blind to the imperfections of the other.

There’s a story of a man named Zacchaeus. He was short. He heard that Jesus was in town and was eager to see him. But because he was short, he decided to run ahead and climb a tree so he could get a good glimpse of Jesus. He didn’t realize that the one who sees us for who we are, the one who knows us far more than we know ourselves, the one who is blind to our imperfections could see him.

When Jesus got to where Zacchaeus was, he looked up at the tree and invited him to climb down from the tree. Zacchaeus hurriedly came down from the tree which was supposed to hide him and his person. More importantly, Zacchaeus came down from the tree that was supposed to make up for his supposed handicap.

What fascinates me about this story is a man who wasn’t blind to his height - "imperfections," if you will - a man who boldly embraced who he was, but didn’t see any of his "imperfections" as a stumbling block in his desire to see Jesus.

Who is perfect? No one is - I learned that a long time ago. But I also learned that to be successful in dealing with the imperfections of others, not only do we have to embrace our own imperfections, but we have to be blind to those of others. To accept who you are, how imperfect you are, to be blind to your own imperfections opens a path for you to be as open and accepting of others.

At the heart of it all is this question from the psalmist: “If you, O Lord, should mark our iniquities, Lord, who could stand?" The psalmist doesn’t end his wonderings with a question, the psalmist concludes thus: “But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.” Our reverence for God isn’t based on God’s judgment of us; instead, it is based on God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, God’s compassion, and God’s desire to be blind to our imperfections.

The truth is, if we learn to accept that we are imperfect beings who have lots to learn and improve in life, the power of that gift itself, that power will help us to be more focused on our faults and our mistakes than on others.

What then does it mean? Should we be blind to all our imperfections, or some? If only some, then which ones can we be blind to, and which ones should we not be blind to? These are difficult questions, and I don’t pretend to have any answers to them.

I believe we cannot be blind to imperfections that border on crime. But for those that have nothing to do with a crime, the plea has always been for us to turn our eyes towards mercy.

As your pastor and friend, I always consider it a privilege to be involved in your life and that of others. And nothing satisfies me more than knowing that you are experiencing the joy of the Lord in your life. This joy is alive because of Easter, and I hope you feel its power in your life. 

This is because Easter’s power is such that it opens our eyes to acknowledge our blindness. And the more we can tell how blind we are, the more we can be blind to the imperfections of others. And the more we are blind to the imperfections of others, the more we will all desire to walk on God's paths of mercy.  



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