EVERYBODY IS A “SCRATCH-AND-DENT” MODEL
Several years ago, when we were remodeling one of our bathrooms, we looked all over for new vanity tops. The prices were a little more than what we wanted to spend. In one particular store, however, they had a “scratch-and-dent” section that had various items you could purchase “as-is.” Some items were really broken, others had slight flaws. We ended up buying one of these “as-is” vanity tops that had two tiny, minor chips in it. And you know what? We were totally okay with our “as-is,” scratch-and-dent, slightly flawed purchase.
The “scratch-and-dent” section is where all of us belong, don’t you think? Don’t we all have flaws, and scars, and quirks? Don’t we all screw up and make huge mistakes and have moments of weakness?
Think about it…going clear back to the book of Genesis, people were messed up:
- Adam and Eve broke the cardinal rule of fruit-eating.
- Cain killed his brother Adam.
- Noah got drunk.
- Abraham lied about his wife being his sister.
- David committed adultery.
- Elijah was depressed and wanted to die.
- Peter chopped a guy’s ear off.
While it’s true that each of us would agree that we are “as is” people, it’s also true that it’s really hard to accept that others are as well. While I may be quite flawed, I expect you to be quite flawless. While I may have many imperfections, I expect other people in my life to be perfect. And when your flaws and weaknesses show—more precisely, when you let me down or make me angry because of them—let the judgment begin.
John Ortberg once said, “One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everybody comes ‘as-is.’” Everybody is a “scratch-and-dent” model. All of us. Every…last…one. “There’s not one totally good person on earth, not one who is truly pure and sinless” (Ecclesiastes 7:20, MSG).
Knowing this truth helps us understand a couple of things. First, we figure out pretty quickly that I’m not better than you, and you’re not better than me. We’re equally messed up. Second, we understand that because of our sinful selves, we will blow it with each other. We will let each other down. We will make each other angry. And last, but certainly not least, is the truth that though we all come “as is,” God loves us anyway.
I agree with the great country singer Kenny Chesney who sang, we are “a little messed up, but we’re all alright.” And I think he’d agree that we all come “as-is.”
I guess part of me wants to say, “I wear my ‘as-is’ sign proudly.” But the other part of me wants to say, “I don’t want to use my ‘as-is’ sign as an excuse to let you down or make you angry.”
So, here’s the deal…I will work at rising up in my maturity to embrace the “as-is” parts of you, if you’ll work at embracing the “as-is” parts of me. After all, Peter–the guy who cut someone’s ear off on a whim–later wrote, “Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly…” (1 Peter 4:8, The VOICE).
That includes all “scratch-and-dent” models…