Are sinful and imperfect synonyms? If so, would confessing sins to each other be the same as confessing imperfections and would this make us more humble, understanding, compassionate, wise and one with each other?
When a person believes in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit comes and takes residence in that person (Ephesians 1:13). No longer being enslaved to sin, that person is now freed up to do God’s will, to please Him. Every circumstance in life is used by God to bring out the likeness to Jesus more (Romans 8:28-29). The new life in Christ bears the markings of a Spirit-led life, producing qualities like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on (Galatians 5:22). The old has gone (Galatians 5:19-21), the new has come (2 Corinthians 5: 17).
There is only one perfect person
However, even godly Christians are imperfect people because there is only one Person who is perfect and that is Jesus Christ. It is still possible to struggle with a temper, a bad habit, a wrong attitude. These things can be identified as sins, because when present in the life of a Christian, they need to be confessed and the Holy Spirit must be asked to work in that person’s heart.
Sinful and imperfect cannot be equated
However, sinful and imperfect cannot be equated as such. A sinful life implies a life in which sin has free rein. It would be a life as described in Galatians 5: 19-21. An imperfect life, on the other hand, can be a life of a godly person who fights against vestiges of sin with the help of the Holy Spirit. For instance, a person who commits adultery, is drunken every other night, lies to people all the time and abuses his children, clearly leads a sinful life. But another person who is faithful to his wife, works hard for his family, tries to obey God but sometimes loses his temper or struggles with temptations, is a godly man who leads an imperfect life. While living on this earth Christians will always have to deal with imperfections. Only in heaven will all sins disappear from our lives and will we be able to worship God in a perfect, sin-free way.
If we say we have no sin…
1 John 1:8 and 10 teach us that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and make God a liar! Thankfully, we can confess our sin and start afresh (1 John 1:9). But, this does not mean that we should not try to become more and more like Jesus, to allow sin no room in our lives when we can help it. We should constantly strive to be holy, as God is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16).
Imperfection should help us to be humble and understanding
It is true that being imperfect should help us to be humble and understanding with each other. We should always be ready to forgive others (Colossians 3:12-13). Paul exhorts believers to bear with one another in love, which clearly implies that we are all imperfect people. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul urges the brothers and sisters to count others more significant than oneself, in humility (Philippians 2:3). If there is one quality that really pleases the Lord, it would be humility. This, of course, does not mean that we should be content to be imperfect. But we do good to realize that we are imperfect, and we should give the Holy Spirit as much room as possible to mold us where He sees fit, because if we continue walking in sinful ways and are indifferent to the Spirit’s voice, we grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30).