Contempt Lite

Read: Isaiah 6:1-13

And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, . . . for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (v. 5)

Perfectionism, expecting yourself and everyone else to measure up to your high standards, is a way to protect yourself from weakness. Failure and contempt are the inevitable and ugly result of perfectionism.

Perhaps you only have “contempt lite” like I did: in other words, contempt for weakness in yourself—and perhaps also for others who show weakness. I have to admit I was there for a good portion of my life and thought showing weakness or vulnerability was surely a disgrace to God, my family, and especially myself. I expected perfection, an attitude that was hard on others around me too. God had to do a lot of work to break me of these inclinations.

I’m not trying to say there’s something noble about being weak, and I’m not suggesting that we act weak even though we feel strong. What I am suggesting is that when we draw a little nearer to “the King, the LORD of hosts” as Isaiah did, we will have a sudden epiphany about who we are and who God is. We see ourselves in contrast to God’s total, glorious, and very large perfection and realize how shallow our attempts at the same are. That is where Isaiah found himself, and it is where we will find ourselves too. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, ask for a glimpse of what Isaiah saw that changed him forever.

About the Author

amy clemens
Amy Clemens

With a bachelors in journalism from Texas Tech University and a masters from Western Theological Seminary, Amy Clemens enjoys all things writing, particularly about the life of faith. She is blessed with a family that includes husband Fred, five children, and five grandchildren.

Amy has just published her first book, "Walking When You'd Rather Fly: Meditations on Faith After the Fall," which weaves her journey from childhood abuse toward healing and spiritual growth with a practical theology for the big story of God. You can find out more about the book and author at walkingwhenyoudratherfly.com.