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Why perfectionism is deadly

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Thoughts?

"[Perfectionism] is deadly because those who pursue this way are convinced that it is possible, if only they try hard enough and find the right principles or techniques, to live without sin. Since it is not possible, they either deny that anything they are doing qualifies as sin, or else they acquire a veneer that gives a sinless appearance. It is deadly because it anaesthetizes any awareness of personal sin and therefore any awareness of Jesus in his primary and essential work of forgiveness on the cross… This is why perfectionists so often become workaholics; by ignoring the ubiquity of sin they persist in the illusion that if they accomplish just one more mission, master just one more act of devotion, successfully avoid contamination with just one more sloppily living Christian, get one more program up and running, they will emerge head and shoulders above all others. Some of them accomplish impressive projects and manage stunning achievements, but they also end up without friends, often without family, without forgiveness because they never need it, and without love. Perfectionism assumes tragic proportions when an entire community is infected."

(Eugene Peterson, 'Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places' p. 320)

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Hi,

Sorry, can't buy into that. 

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My own experience of perfectionism looks much different than that description.  But I can see that it may well describe *some* perfectionist's experience.  Any belief that righteousness can be established by  works is devastating to the life and walk of the one trapped in that lie.  Perfectionism is a bad one for sure.  Satan doesn't really care if he traps you on the "high side" of the truth  or the "low side".  As long as he can keep you from looking to Jesus.

Some perfectionists experience the lie as deep depressions, deep senses of unworthiness and inadequacy....despair at KNOWING they can never achieve the perfection necessary  to cause God to "approve" them.

The root of the  problem is believing "self" can save you if you can *just* be "good" enough.

Love knows no self.

As long as we believe it is our  works that make us significant to Him, no matter what  the  root of that lie is, we're doomed to a life  of striving and failure and have not entered His "rest".

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Jesus said be perfect as your Father is perfect. No one will ever be perfect. But we are to grow in character.  To put on the new man. The most important thing to remember is its the work of christ in us. Not our own works. 

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We are not, never will be perfect this side of Heaven so long as we are in this earthly tent, ...however, because of the Redemption Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross, ...we are BLAMELESS!!!  Praise God!!!

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I usually find those who claim to be able to live a sinless life are still babes in Christ and have not walked long enough in Him, still full of the zeal of first being forgiven.  The weight of their past life has been lifted from their shoulders and they feel like they can conquer the world.  Compared to how they use to feel, yes, they are now free from their old sin, but that does not mean they will never sin again.

There are many scriptures about being perfect, none of them claim we are prefect in the flesh.  Let's take a closer look at some of them.

Those who believe they can be perfect usually quote Matthew 5:48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."  Looking at this verse alone, one could theorize Jesus is commanding us to be perfect as our Father is perfect, yet, even Jesus would seem to contradict Himself when comparing the above verse with what He said in Luke 13:32 "Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’".  Why would Jesus claim to be made perfect only after His resurrection?  Even when Jesus prayed for us to be one as He is one with the Father, Jesus said "may be", not "will be".  John 17:23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."

We see all through the Paul's writings something different, as it being a goal to reach for?  Let's look at Galatians 3:3 "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?"  We are not made perfect by our works int he flesh, nor can we.  Paul ends his letter to the Philippians in this way:

Philippians 3:12

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

 

We live this life in the tent of our flesh with it's desires, desires we fight against daily as our flesh is sinful.  Not until we are with Him will we be made perfect.

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2 hours ago, nebula said:

Thoughts?

"[Perfectionism] is deadly because those who pursue this way are convinced that it is possible, if only they try hard enough and find the right principles or techniques, to live without sin. Since it is not possible, they either deny that anything they are doing qualifies as sin, or else they acquire a veneer that gives a sinless appearance. It is deadly because it anaesthetizes any awareness of personal sin and therefore any awareness of Jesus in his primary and essential work of forgiveness on the cross… This is why perfectionists so often become workaholics; by ignoring the ubiquity of sin they persist in the illusion that if they accomplish just one more mission, master just one more act of devotion, successfully avoid contamination with just one more sloppily living Christian, get one more program up and running, they will emerge head and shoulders above all others. Some of them accomplish impressive projects and manage stunning achievements, but they also end up without friends, often without family, without forgiveness because they never need it, and without love. Perfectionism assumes tragic proportions when an entire community is infected."

(Eugene Peterson, 'Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places' p. 320)

Hi Neby :) 
The proper response to God -IMHO- is to understand that obedience to God through His Word is received by God as Love back to Him... this is why Love is the greatest all essence and it will never fail us for God 'IS' Love :thumbsup:  I don't do to gain righteous standing before God but do to say to Him I love You Lord and want to please You in my walk and I believe this is the sanctification of His Life infused over our own 'His complete perfection for all of eternity'...

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Shalom Nebula,

Was the spelling of the title intentionally ironic? ;)

I think the debate may stem from the English word 'perfect'.  

Perfect (dictionary.com)

adjective
conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type:
excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement:
verb 
to bring to completion; finish.
to bring to perfection; make flawless or faultless:

 

Whereas the Greek word used in Matthew 5:48 for example is "teleios" which has a slightly different connotation...

Teleios (5046 @ biblehub.com)

Definition: having reached its end, complete, perfect
Usage: perfect, (a) complete in all its parts, (b) full grown, of full age, (c) specially of the completeness of Christian character.

 

It seems to me that the Greek 'teleios' is far more achievable (with Yahweh's grace) than achieving the English 'perfection'. For, with 'teleios' there is an indication of completion, full maturity or a correct fulfilling of your  expected duties, whereas 'perfection' indicates you need to be utterly flawless in every aspect.  There's a slight difference but one seems a lot harder! 

Love & Shalom

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On 2/12/2019 at 11:08 AM, Tzephanyahu said:

Shalom Nebula,

Was the spelling of the title intentionally ironic? ;)

Oops! Thanks, it was accidental. Fixed.

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On 2/12/2019 at 8:31 AM, Neighbor said:

Hi,

Sorry, can't buy into that. 

Care to explain?

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