My shampoo bottle is an indictment of all that is wrong with me.
Or, at least, the wording on my shampoo bottle boldly lists proof of the inadequacy of my hair. It tells me that it is a special product for ‘hair that is limp and stressed’. My hair is stressed. What about the rest of me??
But that’s not all. The conditioner describes hair like mine as ‘dry and lacklustre’. Really – this again? Now my hair is ‘lacklustre’??? I think my self-esteem just oozed down the drain with the second rinse.
In fact, if I look around at my cosmetics and ‘beauty’ products, they’re all blaring loudly about the problems I have that they promise to correct. All these products we buy, they sell us an idea – and, when you stop to consider it, it’s not a positive message.
Face cream jars promise to ‘fight signs of aging’ – telling us that we need to take pains to avoid a face with wrinkles.
Pantyhose packages advertise ‘controlling and smoothing’ abilities – telling us that a bit of tummy roundness is unsightly (and to hide the embarrassing evidence that we’re sporting knickers, it promises to ‘hide pantylines’, too!).
Even yoghurt containers spread the joy; our regular diet, they claim, is likely deficient in ‘healthy flora’ – therefore we’re probably undernourished and flatulent. But the good news is that we should be belly-dancing with well-flowered tummies by the end of our trial of their product.
Leave it to me, these products promise, and I will take all that is wrong with you – and there is a LOT – and make it perfect.
It’s pretty hard to feel good about yourself with these ubiquitous messages proclaiming your flaws.
Lucky for us, we don’t have to accept these assertions, no matter how slick the wording or how pretty the packaging.
We don’t have to believe that we need those things, and that by having those fixes we will achieve perfection.
We have the Bible, and the message of that good book gives the lie to those other claims.
It is a message of affirmation:
God deemed us worthy of his love even before we knew or loved him.
It is a message of wonder:
The Bible tells us that, in all our imperfection, we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.
God created us with care and purpose.
It is a message of love:
God made us perfect through the blood of Christ, and heirs to his inheritance.
Unlike the message on the bottles, the Bible affirms us. Through it, God assures us that we are works of wonder, loved wholly and sacrificially by him, and purposed for holy things.
Perfection isn’t found in a bottle, or a jar, or a package.
Perfection is being seen with eyes of love, through faith, and in grace.
This is the true promise of perfection.