Bent Nails

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” —Luke 2:52

I recently just released my first book entitled Priesthood Prayer: Learning to Pray Like Christ. The book is a 21-day devotional about the role of Christ as High Priest and the pertinent connection of His role to Christians as intercessors. During my launch party one of my very dear friends, Duke Hall, interviewed me. He asked me some questions about the content of my book, and how I arrived at some of the points I made. One chapter in my book is “His Perfecting for Our Perfection,” and it’s about how Christ walked this life out daily, without sinning, so that He can give us His perfection through the power He gained as He perfected this walk for us.

Duke gleaned a question from this chapter and asked me, “Were there any bent nails in Joseph’s shop?” I was first confused when he asked that. I thought to myself, “Who is Joseph? What shop does he own? And what does he and his entrepreneurship have to do with this interview?” I was completely lost. So, I asked him what he meant by that.

He then said, “Jesus’ father. Joseph. Were there any bent nails in his shop? Meaning, as Jesus worked with His father, do you think that He made any mistakes since He was perfect? Do you wonder if He ever bent a nail while learning the art of carpentry?” I had to pause and think because I’ve never thought that Christ may have made a mistake while He grew up.

We often make the life of Christ black and white. What I mean by that is we tend not to think about how Christ identified with us in every way. When we think about Christ being perfect, we always relegate His time here on Earth to a focus of never sinning. But we miss the beauty of the Supreme God who came and identified with us in every aspect of life. He had to grow into the person He died and resurrected as. This means that it is plausible Christ may have made some mistakes. Now, while there is nothing recorded in scripture that says He did, it doesn’t mean He didn’t.

Now get me on this. A mistake is different from sin. They are not synonymous. When someone makes a mistake, they have not necessarily broken a law or done something immoral. But if someone sins, that is a definite breach of law and an offense. So, when my friend asked the question, “Were there any bent nails?” again I say it’s plausible to say yes! There may have been. Christ, like us, had to learn things in this life. He “grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.” During the growth process kinks have to be worked out. Everything is not done perfectly the first time. Christ definitely never sinned, but a bent nail or two may have existed. This is beautiful because we can look at our Savior and say, “You do get me. Not only do you understand being tempted, but you also understand me not getting something on the first try.” Why is this an epiphany for me. Because I’m a perfectionist. If I don’t get something on the first try, I can have a hissy fit. Shut down. Become lazy and never try again.

When I was a little girl taking violin and flute, I used to slam them on the couch if I played a note wrong. I knew not to slam them on the ground and break them as I really wanted to, because my momma would have whoop’d my tail! God has even told me as an adult to pick the violin back up and start learning how to play again. He showed me in a dream that it is healing for the remainder of the insecure little girl that is left in me. The one that likes to get things right all in the first try or no effort at all. That little girl, living inside this grown woman, that hates process and working through kinks — she wants everything to be beautiful instantly. Anyone that plays a string instrument knows that violin is not something you learn overnight.

So, I write this for the perfectionist, I write this to the person who thinks that who they are is tied up in how well they do something. I write this to the person that feels like “why is everyone else getting it but me?” I write this to the person that is about to quit. Don’t! I believe Christ has been there and understands the growing pains. He knows our frustrations and insecurities. The only thing that we are commanded to do perfectly is love (Matthew 5:43-48). So, the next time you see a bent nail, remember that Christ gets it. Not only does He get it, He gets you!

Peace and God’s abundant blessings.

Adia Taliaferro is an associate pastor at Ebenezar SDA Church in Philadelphia and author of the book Priesthood Prayer: Learning to Pray Like Christ. In her spare time, she loves to cook and eat good vegan food with friends. Adia also loves to travel, hangout with friends, and do anything fun and adventurous.

This essay originally appeared on the author’s blog and is reprinted here with permission.

Image: Pexels.com

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9995
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Thank-you for this. Very encouraging.

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The author states, “. The only thing that we are commanded to do perfectly is love (Matthew 5:43-48).”

And does the author think they perfectly love?

In fact, this command is more comprehensive than any other commandment.

Sins of ignorance are covered by the blood of Jesus when we acknowledge that we are sinful by nature and everything we do is polluted with sin.

Jesus had no sinful nature and this does not apply to Him.

As for mistakes in the physical realm of cutting wood or bending a nail, this has no affinity to the issue of sin. And to draw some parallel in this context is a misnomer that leads to total and final confusion about the issue of sin and atonement.
Selfishness, pride and greed are no part of His spiritual nature that was “free from every taint of sin.” EGW

But all babies after the fall of Adam are afflicted with this element of sin.
While there is a true parallel to the human nature and ours, we must also defend the contrast that makes Him “separate from sinners.” Paul.

He had the same physical limitations we do. But no moral corruption.
He was hungry, tired, cold, hot…and all the elements of our physical nature. He also learned how to saw wood and drive a nail. This is not related to the sin problem with the exception that if you hit your finger with a hammer your sinful spiritual nature will react in a sinful way unless you are “born again.”

We see the parallel and contrast when we understand Jesus was hungry and Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread. This He could do, but chose not to as per His agreement with His Father to subject Himself to the Father’s will like we must do.
We are not likely to be tempted to try to turn stones into bread, but we are likely to go into a store and steal a loaf of bread contrary to the will of God.

The parallel and contrast must be maintained for Jesus to qualify to be both a sin offering and an example for us to follow.

Bent Nails –
It was my experience one time in Teen years to work for this
fellow for a few days.
We were dismantling part of a building. And pulled nails.
But then he asked effort to be made to straighten them out.
He wanted to re-use them.
We were able to straighten them out enough to use them to
build what he intended in the replacement of what we tore down.

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Your friend asked you a fantastically penetrating question. I am grateful for your insight into the question and for sharing this.

I believe that we make the life of Jesus black and white because this is what has been presented to us since childhood. We are also accustomed to ethereal pictures of the childhood of Christ that were shown in our SS lessons, etc. It would have been nearly impossible to conceptualize that He would have made “mistakes” and needed to “grow”.

“Loving perfectly” is something that we spend our entire lives working on. We first learn to love by how our parents and caregivers demonstrated this to us. We learn throughout our entire lives how to “love perfectly” through our roles that we either choose or that we are given to: child, husband/wife, parent, aunt/uncle, friend, etc, etc. All of these human roles teach us the different aspects of Love and how to love as completely and fully as possible.

We stumble…we fall, and we learn through it all. God is not expecting us to be “perfect” at every turn, but to use every opportunity to learn, grow, and to love better. We serve Him best when we try to love Him and those He has created with our whole being.

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Luke says, "Jesus grew! Infant, toddler, small child, older child, pre-puberty,
puberty, teens [12-20]. Grew religiously. Age 12-13 ritual to become a MAN
of the synagogue and took his place reading from the Torah.
Learned Joseph’s trade – “carpenter”. Working with wood, working with
stone. Making agriculture implements.
18-30 may have become a Man “of the world”. Large cities not far from
Nazareth. Bigger Jewish community. Apparently had memorized large
portions of Moses, Prophets, Psalms growing up.
SURELY Jesus was NOT perfect in learning his trade all the time. Hand
slipped – Splinters. Hammer on stone – hit finger or thumb.
Toddler, small child probably had chores around the house.

About the ONLY story we tell kids is Jesus in the Temple enjoying his
3 day visit with “old men”. [Anyone over 30 would have seemed “old”
to him.]

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Not only did Jesus bend some nails, God’s creation is never perfect as we define perfection. There are no straight lines in nature. Archeologists, when digging and diving, look for straight lines and 90 degree corners to find human activity. The earth is not perfectly round - it bulges in the middle. The earth’s orbit around the sun is an imperfect ellipse.

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In the story of Genesis 1 and 2 there is a Hebrew word that
means “Good” at the end of each day.
“Good” means OK.
“Good, Good” means very good.
“Good, Good, Good” means perfect.
Apparently even God when He was creating things here on
Earth saw that there was “room for improvement” in His creation.
Because the BEST God would say was “Good, Good”.

There is none “good” but one, and that is God.
“Who shall not serve thee, O Lord, for thou alone art holy.” (Self perfect.)
Rev. 15:4

“We are accepted in the beloved, we are complete in Him.” Paul
No one is “complete” in themselves as the Last Generation Theology spirituality would claim for the saints after the latter rain.

“Moral perfection” is relative to understanding and response. All those who come up in the first resurrection are “morally perfect” for they are perfect in Christ. They know this and are open for further instruction as they learn more about God’s kingdom. Otherwise, they are coming up in the second resurrection because they falsely believe they are sinless in themselves and don’t need the imputed righteousness of Christ.

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Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…

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The perfectionist in me resonates with this. Thank you.

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