Still Deeply Flawed
For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Hebrews 5:1-2
Occasionally, I run into a reader of my blog who believes I’m too hard on myself. I write about my drug addiction and my life struggles – that’s what the blog is about – but this kind of reader often feels that I have an unhealthy obsession with my flaws. I certainly understand that self-criticism can become unhealthy. I also believe though that failure to acknowledge my flaws is perhaps the worst flaw. I (of course) think that I strike a proper balance between the two extremes – obsessing about my flaws versus being oblivious to them.
In today’s passage, we’re reminded that we all have weaknesses. We’re all imperfect and we all have struggles. In the passage, the author of Hebrews spoke about how priests once acted as an intermediary between God and man. The useful priest used his own flaws to make him better at helping others with theirs. The effectual priest has been there and knows what it’s like to struggle. Maybe he was even honest and open about his own life struggles, using that experience to build bridges with those who needed help.
I’m no priest, but I believe God wants me to use my addiction and recovery to help others find recovery. To point the way, I must have had some success myself. I must also communicate this success without pretending that I have life all figured out. I don’t write a blog from the point of view that I’m a saint trying to help all the other sinners. I’m still deeply flawed. My pride still chafes when someone tells me I’m doing something wrong. I still snap at my wife when I’m crabby. I still eat junk food, even when I know it’s addictive, self-destructive behavior. These ongoing flaws don’t exclude me from service to God. In fact, God uses my flaws to build bridges. I must be careful here though. If I’m drowning in my flaws, it is possible that I would need to step back from serving others. If I relapsed into drug use, I’d have to stop practicing as an addiction medicine (or any kind of) physician.
We all have weaknesses and struggles. We don’t need to live enslaved to them though. The Christian life is one of continually recognizing and abandoning our flaws so that we may better follow Christ. In recognizing our struggles and in daily working on them, we live as Christ asked (Luke 9:23). In doing so, he uses our flaws to help those around us.
Author’s Note: I’ll be out of contact for the next two days. I’ll be back on Tuesday, September 6th.