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We Cannot Be Faultless (But May Still Be Blameless)

We Cannot Be Faultless (But May Still Be Blameless)

Shouldn’t we believe that God treasures what we do, however feeble, however immature, however bungled and blundered it is? For though what we do is most certainly not faultless, it is any father’s joy to count his children as blameless.

A devotional writer from a bygone era believed it was crucial to carefully distinguish faultlessness from blamelessness, for while we cannot live faultlessly in this world, we may live blamelessly. Even the best deeds we do cannot be faultless when we ourselves are so very imperfect and when this world is so firmly arrayed against us. Yet we may still remain blameless before the Lord, even in light of our many imperfections.

A fictional illustration may serve. Let’s suppose a day came when my father, a landscaper, was hired by one of our neighbors to design and install a garden. He dutifully sat before his drafting table to create the design, he visited the nursery to purchase the plants, he stood in the garden and began to create the shape of the different beds. But then a serious illness overcame him and he was forced to remain indoors for days or weeks.

And though at the time I was merely a child, I was a son who loved his father, so took it upon myself to surprise him by completing the project on his behalf. I studied the plans as carefully as I could, I carved the shape of the different beds, I put down a layer of topsoil, I planted the ferns and hostas, the roses and euonymus, doing my absolute best to lay them exactly where the plans dictated. When my father recovered sufficiently to venture out-of-doors, I led him to that garden and happily presented the work I had done for him.

His reaction was both joy and concern. He felt great joy that I had attempted to serve and please him, that I had done my best with the little knowledge and minimal skill I possessed. But he felt concern that the job was done more poorly than he would have done it. He noticed that the flower beds were not quite the right shape, that the edges were ragged, that many of the plants and flowers were a little out of place. He knew that he still had work to do in order to make it right.

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