Grace Through Imperfection

Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

Scripture Reading
Colossians 3:12-16 (NRSV)

Let me start with a confession that I was a very annoying perfectionist in my younger years up to my mid 20s. I trace it back to my very timid and obedient nature when I was kid. I was one of those kids raised to fully submit to authority. Anything an authority figure says, I consider as unbreakable. Syempre number one authority ang parents ko. I am very proud to say na sobrang sipag at disiplinadong mga tao ng parehong magulang ko. Naalala ko dapat may sinusundan kameng routine, schedules and particular ways of doing things para na din siguro mas madali sa kanila na alagaan kameng apat na magkakapatid habang nagbabanat sila ng buto dahil hindi naman kame mayaman. In short, I had a very structured childhood. Nakalayout na ang mga bagay bagay tapos susundin ko na lang PERFECTLY yung tinuro ng parents at older brothers ko para walang problema.

My mode is the same when I was at school. Private Roman Catholic school ako from preschool, elementary, high school and even college actually. Of course yung routine, schedules and particular ways of doing things andyan din talaga sa school. Hindi rin pwedeng nababali ang mga bagay bagay, otherwise you are subjected to specific consequences. May dagdag na pressure na bawal malate or magabsent. Bawal below 75 ang grades. Dapat palagi ako nasa honors. Dapat kasama sa class officers. Dapat clean and neat ang uniform hanggang uwian. Dapat laging prim and proper ang mga actions. I dreaded any type of punishment during that time because I felt like it was me being IMPERFECT.

Those are the backdrop of my formative years. I took so much pride from being able to follow the rules, routines, schedules and particular ways of doing things. I will also include the consistency in academic excellence. What was supposed to be amining and striving for self-discipline and excellence became a pursuit of PERFECTION to me. Anything less than ideal is not acceptable, good enough or something to be proud of.

Why did the goal transform to PERFECTION from something as positive as DISCIPLINE and EXCELLENCE? 

I would say it’s because I also had to overcompensate. I felt the need to be much better than the rest of my peers because I don’t feel like I fit in. I’m not straight, nor did I fully identify as gay during that time kase nga I also like girls. Hindi po uso ang bisexuality nung 1990s at early 2000s. Pausbong pa lang internet noon mga panahon na yun.

Ang tanong ko noon – SAAN BA TALAGA AKO BELONG? Instead of finding an answer to that question, I ended up focusing all my energy on what I do best which is to be a PERFECT SON AND MODEL STUDENT. Wala halos problem saken yung parents ko. I do my chores. I do my assignments with little supervision. Hindi ako mabarkada. Wala akong bisyo. Sa school naglalaro lang ako lagi sa Top 1- 3 . I was always in the Top 10 of the batch after each school year. I was always President or Vice President, leader sa mga group activities and projects at pambato sa interschool competitions. I lived the typical story of an overachieving but closeted batang accla wanting to belong and to be recognized. 

Siguro some of you would say na – Jun, that doesn’t sound so bad.

With all those achievements and in the pursuit of perfection, nagdevelop ako ng mga toxic mindset and behaviors that I wasn’t very much aware of until I was already in my mid 20s. Syempre if hindi ka aware, hindi mo naman alam na may need ka na palang ayusin hanggang sa naging habit mo na sya. Paulit ulit na ganun na lang ang nangyayare. These toxic mindset and behavior attacked not only other people but also my own self. 

  1. On one hand, I secretly craved for the attention and recognition of people around me. Kapag may ginawa akong PERFECT dapat marecognize nila yan. At the same time, I became easily discouraged whenever something I do is not reaching a minimum acceptable level. Kapag feeling ko hindi na ganun kaganda, kaayos or kabongga yung magagawa or matatapos ko, nawawalan na ako ng gana. Minsan ayoko nang tapusin. My pride keeps shouting that I am capable of PERFECTION. I became so hyper-critical towards myself that it was causing me so much anxiety. Feeling ko nga malaking factor yan kaya ako nagstart ng pimple breakout nung 2nd year high school. Prior dun sobrang kinis ko po talaga.
  2. I also became very judgmental towards other people. I used to get easily annoyed with people who I feel are not giving it their best when doing something important. Nung nasa high school ako, andami kong expectations sa mga classmates ko na para bang dapat alam na nila ang mga bagay bagay kase parepareho naman kame ng mga natututnan. At the same time, ayoko ng nauungusan ako ng ibang tao. I take so much pride in being better than other people. That mindset carried on even when I was already working during my early 20s. Sa call center kase ako mostly nagtrabaho nung panahon na yun. Secretly, ambobo ng tingin ko sa mga kawork ko na hindi nagagawa yung mga pinagagawa samen sa calls because I generally find it very easy after a few attempts. Again, my pride and ego were getting a big boost while some people are already feeling miserable.

As you guys can probably realize by now, andaming negative effects ng perfectionism on an intrapersonal (sarili) and interpersonal (with others) level. Actually, I started checking recent studies about perfectionism. Apparently, it’s already a big area of concern sa mental health. 

In their 1991 paper, Psychologists Paul Hewitt and Gorden Flett defined three forms of perfectionism: [2]

  • Self-oriented perfectionism. When someone demands perfection from themselves. (Check, meron ako nito)
  • Other-oriented perfectionism. When someone demands perfection from other people. (Check din ito! Yey!)
  • Socially prescribed perfectionism. When someone feels pressure from others to be perfect. (This is a typical pressure for so many accla while growing up. The pressure to perfectly fit in. And yes, I also had this.)

So Jun anung kinalaman ng reading naten today dyan sa personal story mo?

First of all let us be reminded that this letter was written to the early Christians in the city of Colossa. It was intended for them and not for us 2000 years after. This letter, also is a disputed letter of Paul. Meaning, mukhang hindi si Paul and nagsulat and someone else wrote either in his name or on his behalf. 

Ang titignan natin ay ano kayang chismis ang pwede nating makita at sa sulat na ito, and ano ang pwedeng matutunan sa pakikichismis natin sa letter to the Colossians? 
Sabi sa letter, “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” The demand for perfection from others is not compassionate. It’s not kind. It’s not humble. It’s not meek nor patient.

Perfection forgets the humanity that we all share. Wala naman perfect na human being. We are all flawed in some way and in varying degrees. Kase kung merong taong perfect in this day and age eh di sana wala na si Jesus. Sya na lang nagpapako sa krus, nilibing, nabuhay at nagascension.

Perfection demands that people will always be at their 100% with everything, everywhere, every time, all at once! Perfection forgets that people are rarely at their 100%. And even if they feel they are at their 100%, sometimes what we expect from them may just not be their own thing. Remember that we are all given diverse gifts that we can use to help other people in the communities we move around in. Iba iba yung binigay sa atin eh. Iba iba din yung dinevelop natin as we age. That’s why we all have different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – SWOT. Char but no char! SWOT and so many tools were developed to understand the diversity of the human family. Eh di kung pareho na lang lahat tayo wala nang diversity yun. Amboring diba? Diversity and inclusivity nga ang dalawa sa mga bagay na ineembrace at pinopromote natin dito sa MCC diba?

Let’s assume for a few seconds na kahit wala na yung Bible reading for today. Is it still not true that perfectionism is harmful to ourselves and also our relationships with other people. Hindi nakakagood vibes and PERFECTIONISM

And since some semblance of perfectionism was discussed by Jesus in the gospels and by Paul in some of his letter, and other writers who wrote in the name of Paul, it also only means, it is a problem even before lalo na among those who think they are holier than. Problema na sya na na-identify ni Jesus at na-identify ni Paul. 

Bakit sasabihin sa letter sa mga members ng Church in Colossa, “to clothe yourselves with compassion”? It only means nagsisimula sila maging less compassionate. There’s no point of saying it unless it was a problem. Baki babanggitin yung kindness, humility, meekness, and patience? Kasi there’s already MEAN attitudes among them; Binanggit yung humility, because meron na sa kanila na nagmamataas. Bakit meekness and patience? Kasi meron na among them na perfectionist na nagsisimula ng magtaray at manakit all in the name of perefectionism. 

Whether we’re talking about our families, schools, workplace, or simply group of friends, it’s unfair to expect that people will fit in impossible molds that we create in our heads. Diba ang unfair nga na may molde na para sa babae at lalake bago ka pa ipanganak tapos expected ng society na magcoconform ka na lang dun? Bakit mo gagawin sa iba yung ayaw mo sanang ginawa sayo? 

Although, let us be clear, when we say na wag tayo magin perfectionist would mean hahayaan natin ang mga abusive, manipulative, or other bahaviors na talagang masama. Hindi porket sinabi nating wag maging perfectionist, means to justify mediocrity and malevolent behaviors. Hindi yun ang ibig sabibhin natin. There are actions and behaviors that can be tolerated and easily forgiven. There are imperfections that na ang sagot ay patience, compassion, and kindness… kasi nga baka gutom lang or pagod si accla kaya mainit ulo. And then those imperfections na medyo mas Malala – they would require a matured way of communication, feedback, and accountability that hopefully leads to forgiveness and reconciliation  

Huwag na tayong lumayo. Let me tell you a little bit about how MCC was when I started. Aalog-alog ang MCC when I came in. It was January of 2022 when I first visited our last chapel in De Oro building in person. Kase 2021 puro online pa yun kase nga covid pa. The only people I saw for the first few weeks were of course sila Pstr Joseph, Jack, Sean, Chris, Ralph, Dandy, Josh, Kuya Vinz, Chase at Victoria. Ang konti lang ng mga tao and I noticed from the very beginning na andami dami dami dami dami dami dami nilang kailangan gawin.

But you know what, that imperfect state of Open Table was so attractive to me because I don’t understand why these people still do what they do considering the situation. Ang question ko nga nun ay bakit ba gumagampan pa etong mga accla na ito kahit ganito ang estado ng kanilang simbahan. I started observing and understanding the people behind Open Table in the next few weeks. Here’s what I figured out.


The church had very little resources. There is an ongoing pandemic with no clear end in sight. They recently lost beloved members. They had to carry the burden of the dark ages with its horror stories. Kaya tayo may mga reminders as read by Hermana if you guys were listening to the introduction. 

Ganun ang mga eksena. Gawa lang sila ng gawa every Sunday. Saluhan ng trabaho. Tanungan kung sino pwedeng gumawa ng ganito at ganoon. Paalala pag may nakalimutan at di nagawa. I’m sure nagaaway at nagkakagulo din sila. Imposibleng hindi. Andami kayang kailangan gawin at tapusin.

Syempre umabot sa punto na nakakahiya din naman na nakaupo lang ako dun every Sunday habang aligaga ang lahat ng mga tao sa paligid ko. Kahit bisita pa lang ako noon, hanap ako ng konting pwede gawin. Pasweet lang muna. Busy-busyhan school acting. Isa sa mga tumatak saken noong panahon na yun – HELP AS YOU ARE WILLING AND ABLE! TUMULONG KUNG GUSTO AT KAYA! WALANG PILITIN. HAYAAN MO NA ANG HOLY SPIRIT O KONSENSYA (kung di ka spiritual) ANG MAGTULAK SA IYO. 😊

Fast forward, two years. Our church’s size grew. Syempre hindi pa rin perfect ang state. Hindi pa rin perfect ang mga tao. Napakarami pa rin kailangan gawin. Ang kinaibahan lang ay mas dumami na yung mga tao na willing magshare ng load ng trabaho. Again, walang sapilitan. HELP AS YOU ARE WILLING AND ABLE pa rin!

May mga tumutugtog at kumakanta na bukod kay Jack at Josh. Hindi na si Pstr Joseph at iilang tao ang nakakapagpreach. May nakakapagasikaso na sa mga bagong bisita. May iba nang naglilinis ng espasyo natin. May iba nang naghahandle ng streaming. Naging mas consistent ang live hangout at online connect sessions. Nangyare ang mga ito at lumago ang Open Table kahit imperfect ang state at imperfect ang mga taong nandito, myself included.

Pwede naman pala yun. Pwede naman palang lumago at bumongga ang isang simbahan ng mga accla kahit ang imperfect ng mga tao at sitwasyon. Ang importante lang naiintindihan natin baket tayo nasa MCC, sinusuportahan natin ang bawat isa, tinatapik ng marahan kapag kailangan, nakikinig higit sa lahat sa mga nauna saten at kumikilos ng kusa para makatulong. 😊 

Marerealize lang din natin na mararanasan natin ang grasya, presensya, at pagpapasensya ng Diyos sa pamamagitan ng imperfection ng bawat isa – na merong mga taong magpupuno nung kakulangan ko. Na merong mga taong pwedeng tumugon sa hindi ko kaya o hindi ko pa kayang gawin. Nararanasan ko ang biyaya ng Diyos sa aking pagkakamali sa mga taong nagtutuwid o pupuna sa akin na may pagmamahal. Na ako ay natututo at nagiging mature sa aking imperfection dahil sa grasya at pasensyang ibinibigay ng iba. I’m able to fully experience and know what grace through my imperfection; Grace is God’s response to my imperfection and through the imperfection of others, because we extend grace to each other.

Sabi rin sa reading “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” kaya sana kalmahan lang natin.

Paalala po sa mga MCC minsters at regulars bilang ineembrace ko ang pag kuya kuya nyo saken. Kung may pagkakasala, pananakit, pagkakamali o pagkukulang ang isa man sa atin, normal naman mainis o magalit, valid yan, pero sana kalmahan pa rin natin. Sana tandaan natin na isa lang din syang imperfect na taong kagaya mo, kagaya ko, kagaya nating lahat na hindi laging nasa tamang wisyo. Minsan gutom lang or pagod kaya masungit o kaya naman na-ekis sa booking the previous night kaya mainit ulo ni badeng. Pagpasensyahan mo na. Kung talagang kailangan ng konting tapik at chika, gentle but firm feedback. Lalong mas kumalma kung marami din namang nagagawang maayos yung taong hindi mo gusto o kasundo. Huwag natin silang ipako sa krus kagad dahil hindi sila perpekto.  

Baka minsan nageexpect tayo ng hindi talaga kaya o hindi pa kayang gawin ng isa sa atin. We have to be extra careful kase minsan yung other-oriented perfectionism pwedeng magmukhang “good-will” or “concern” for others, pero self-serving pala para lang masatisfy yung need natin for perfectionism habang nakakasama na pala dun sa taong nageexpect tayo na maging perfect with everything, everywhere, every time, all at once!

Let us remember during this Lenten season that none of us is perfect. We are remembering the life and crucifixion of Christ because we need a role model to show us the best way to live a full and good life. We anticipate his resurrection as a triumphant testament of how he conquered this imperfect world and imperfect states we are in.

Pero baka may pwede ka din gawin. Baka may maiaambag tayo kahit kaunti. In any situation where you expect for something significant from someone, please check both your mind and heart whether it’s coming from genuine love and not mainly because of a personal need that is begging to be satisfied. If it’s out of love, I’m pretty sure the other party will be more receptive of you.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

I’ll end this preaching and leave you with an anonymous quote that I found on the net

No one in this world is pure and perfect. If you avoid people for their little mistakes, you will be alone in this world. So JUDGE LESS and LOVE MORE.  


Open Table MCC is a church for all, including LGBT+ people. All are welcome! Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news and events from our church community.

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