I struggle with perfectionism in my flesh, and this often seeps into my relationships. For the longest time, I thought that I had to be “perfect” to be loved. Along with this belief, I thought that my friendships could be “perfect,” too. I can remember many times when I was crushed beneath the impossible standard of perfection. This kind of pressure is paralyzing, and shame quickly follows, because if anything goes wrong, it becomes your fault. When you fall short of your standard, instead of trying again, you isolate yourself because it’s safer. But it’s also lonelier. I remember when I would meet a new friend, I thought of it as another chance to try perfection again. In the beginning, it was great, and I thought I was in control at last. But when the inevitable misunderstanding came and someone felt unloved, I would become anxious and afraid. Since I messed up, would I be valued anymore? 

I have discovered that no human is perfect, and no earthly friendship can ever be perfect. However, the interesting thing is that I learned this by coming face-to-face with imperfection by going through the pain of losing the ideal I had long held close. I can confidently say now that my sweetest friendships in the world are ones that are so imperfect. They have beautiful depth because of hardship and misunderstandings and messy times, and, ultimately, because of forgiveness. These are the kinds of friendships where two people commit to growing together and loving each other no matter what. When I look at these friendships, I see God’s hand on them, for only He could have had the power to reconcile the immense amount of brokenness within them. 

2 Corinthians 7 is a powerful passage. While reading it, it is evident how the body of Christ needs each other and was created to encourage, long for, and walk beside one another. Verses 9 and 10 reveal the power of repentance and how it leads us to a place of reconciliation with people and with God. To come to a place of reconciliation, many emotions and real pain will surface. Many tears are shed. There’s a painful moment when we realize we have hurt the other person, and it is sad. But this sadness is not something we have to regret because it paves the way for deeper connection and truer love stemming from the act of forgiveness. And the beauty of this is that, when we admit to God that we are sinners and receive His gift of forgiveness, we are reconciled to Him and saved; we have eternal life forever and abundant life now. 

Friend, Jesus gave His life to reconcile us to Himself because He so badly wants to be our best friend. We can admit our imperfections and flaws in a safe place of no judgment, for Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). He knelt from heaven to meet you where you are. He loves you more than human words could ever express. So, I gently encourage you to give up the lie once and for all that you must be perfect and unblemished to be loved and accepted by God. No matter how far you have run away, He is a Father who receives you with open arms, just as you are. He is desperately in love with you and longs for you to receive the fullness of His love. This is the truth, and any other idea is a lie from the pit of hell. 

In Acts 2:38, Peter passionately tells the people of Jerusalem to repent and turn away from their sins and receive forgiveness. Anyone could have said this, and it would hold power because these words are true. However, it is so powerful that God anointed Peter to proclaim the gospel to these people, for Peter was one of Jesus’ best friends—a man who got to walk with the Messiah on earth. We know that Peter made many mistakes and that he could be fiery and impulsive. But because of Peter’s awareness of his imperfections, he said all the louder that Jesus, the God of unconditional love, was ready to forgive and save those precious people of Jerusalem if they would only repent and acknowledge their sin and turn from it. Because we know that Peter himself experienced the forgiveness of Christ—that what he was preaching about he had been the recipient of first-hand. we can have full assurance that these words are truer than true. God is madly in love with you. Repent and be reconciled!

Week 5 Challenge:

This week we will focus on Joseph’s process of testing his brothers, as well as their reconciliation. Is there someone with whom you need to reconcile? Take steps to forgive them first, and then, if possible, seek reconciliation. Record how God works in your life and how you see His faithfulness in the process.

Week 5 Reading Plan

Week 5 Memory Verse

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Grace Ann Hopkins

Grace Ann Hopkins

Grace Ann Hopkins loves Jesus. She is currently a student at Liberty University, excitedly studying Interdisciplinary Studies, concentrating on Business, Religion, and Christian Counseling. She has a deep love for God’s Word and seeks to share it with whoever crosses her path. Grace Ann loves her family and friends deeply, and her mission in life is to make sure the person next to her feels loved. She wants you to know that you indeed matter because God hand-crafted you specifically with a special purpose and loves you just the way you are (Ps 139:13-14, Eph 2:10, Jn 3:16). You can connect with Grace Ann on her website and blog.

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