If you are late to this party, I hope you’ll go back to the beginning and catch up. The idea of exile isn’t readily understandable and takes some time to sink in. But once it sinks in, everything starts to make sense…at least from a faith perspective.
The problem with most Christian faith is we try to embrace it through a secular grid of success. It doesn’t work. We should have caught on to that when Jesus said, “The last will be first.” But no one wants to believe that. We want to think Jesus was being clever. No, he was speaking Truth, we are just too blind to see it.
Exile will always be offensive until we understand life from God’s perspective. The author who has helped me grasp this the best is Richard Rohr. I’m sharing a number of his writings because I think he says it better than I can. Here is yet another post taken from his book, Falling Upward:
The Demand for the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good – Richard Rohr
We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.That might just be the central message of how spiritual growth happens, yet nothing in us wants to believe it.
If there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially our own. What a clever place for God to hide holiness, so that only the humble and earnest will find it! A “perfect” person ends up being one who can consciously forgive and include imperfection rather than one who thinks he or she is totally above and beyond imperfection.
We grow spiritually much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. – Rohr
It becomes sort of obvious once you say it out loud. In fact, I would say that the demand for the perfect is the greatest enemy of the good. Perfection is a mathematical or divine concept; goodness is a beautiful human concept that includes us all. People whom we call “good people” are always people who have learned how to include contradictions and others, even at risk to their own proper self-image or their social standing. This is quite obvious in Jesus.
Exile feels like “exile” because we insist on life being perfect. We expect things to go “well.” If you are a pastor, you expect your congregation to grow spiritually, your offerings to go up, your building program to succeed, and that you will make an impact in your community. If it doesn’t, something must be wrong. Fix it!
Sometimes the only way to break free from this “success” mentality is to experience “failure.” It’s a gift to “fail” and wake up one day and see that the world didn’t end. Life goes on. God is still God. The forecasts were wrong. There is life after failure, unless you insist on living in regret. You see the world differently on the other side of failure.
How have you grown spiritually by doing it wrong? How has the perfect been the enemy of the good for you? Leave a comment and share this with a friend if it you found it helpful. Thanks for joining the conversation.