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Be Patient God Isn't Finished

The church is full of hypocrites, but then again so is the world. We as people often claim to know or do things that we don't. Researchers call this the halo effect. This is why when pollsters survey people they take into account that people will report themselves as better than they truly are. Some see this as a malicious conspiracy, but I wonder if it's often just a case of wishful thinking.

Our wishful thinking has a lot to do with how we perceive ourselves. Let's say that today I make an effort to be less sarcastic and keep my mouth shut every other time I want to be smart. Later when I look at this snapshot of my life I will say, "I'm less sarcastic! I'm making progress!" But, what if you're one of the people who got the "every other" time I was sarcastic. You look at that snapshot and say, "What a sarcastic jerk!" If you know I'm a Christian then you might say, "What a hypocrite! That guy claims to be a Christian, but he's just a cynic!" We're looking at the same snapshot, but we're coloring the picture with different lenses. When we look at ourselves we use the lens of hope and understanding, but often when we look at others we use the lens of doubt and skepticism.

No one this side of eternity will be perfect. In fact the Apostle Paul tells us this in Philippians 1:6 when he writes, "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ." In other words, God is working on us, but he won't be finished until he's finished. This means that we'll all be perfected in the same day, the day of Jesus' return.

So, in the meantime, what if we gave each other the benefit of the doubt? What if we said, "I'm not perfect and I know he's not perfect. We're just each a work in progress, so let's slow down and be patient because God isn't finished." I think that we would find patience is a gift that we give to others and also to ourselves. Patience allows us to enjoy this moment with hope, believing that the next time we meet will be even better as God continues his work in all of us.