In 2003, Singer/Songwriter John Mayer released a song called “Something’s Missing” in which he lamented,
Something’s missing and I don’t know how to fix it.
Something’s missing and I don’t know what it is – no I don’t know what it is at all.
On Wednesday, Mayer wrote this on his Twitter account:
“In all sincerity, I really don’t like the ‘you’re perfect’ mentality in culture. It should be ‘nobody’s perfect.’ Both give comfort, but the first gives false permission not to have to work towards something better.”
I believe Mayer has stumbled upon an important observation and question. The observation is this: culture says “You’re Perfect!” However, we recognize we are not perfect. No matter what we go to bed with in the evening, we always wake up with the same man in the mirror every morning.
The idea we are perfect is comforting indeed. However, that straw man quickly burns in any heat. As he says, it gives “false permission.”
When this becomes apparent (which it quickly does), the pendulum swings the other way.
Nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. Therefore if I am caught doing something disagreeable, it’s not me it’s us. You can’t judge me because I am part of us, and we are all imperfect.
This may provide comfort, but “false permission” is in play here as well.
The problem is neither side of the coin seems to describe reality. However, to go any deeper than these permissive worldviews, you have to draw lines. This means some things are in bounds and some are out of bounds. This suggests an objective set of boundaries.
But boundaries create lines, and society says lines are bad. Whether those lines are political, sexual, or societal, lines simply become a way to show the barriers we must break through.
But are there lines we should not have false permission to break through? Is there an objective order? Is there something that provides true comfort, yet is not falsely permissive?
A world with no walls is great because it allows complete freedom to run with eyes closed. However, at some point, one must ask why we keep running into walls. We must ask if opening our eyes is good even if it causes definition; even if it brings light; even if it exposes uncomfortable truths.
The truth is we keep running into boundaries because boundaries exist. The Christian worldview holds that these boundaries belong to God and are expressed in the Bible. The humanistic worldview is that these boundaries belong to us and are moveable at anyone’s whim or direction. It says we are all perfect enough to define our own realities. The reason it doesn’t work, it claims, is that nobody’s perfect. Read that again. Do you feel a tension there?
Boundaries aren’t merely “do’s” and “don’ts,” but the fact that the world – social, physical, spiritual – actually works a certain way. It is not fluid. John 1 tells us all things were created through and for Jesus. It also tells us these boundaries are created for a reason: God’s glory and our good. Ignoring those boundaries is called “sin.”
Of course we aren’t God, so sometimes the lines don’t make sense to us. Sometimes we want a “good” when God has created for us a “best.” His boundaries might cause us to <gasp> restrain in an area. They also may call us to <gasp> work in greater discipline. They might even cause us to <faint> admit that we aren’t the be-all and end-all of creation.
Everybody’s perfect. Nobody’s perfect. Neither are true. One is perfect – Jesus Christ. He came to us. Not only to show us the way, but to BE the way.
When we learn the truth of Jesus Christ, we see the world the way it is. We see the order. We see the boundaries and celebrate the freedom therein. We turn from a world in constant flux.
We can quit waiting for the world to change.