Kijong-dong is a village in Panmun-gun North Korea. It is a beautiful city full of beautiful apartments and beautiful streets and a beautiful school. The North Koreans claim that there are over 200 beautiful homes filled with everything that a perfect society needs. They have a kindergarten, day care, senior middle school, and people’s hospital. Everyday gardeners and small farmers tend to the flowers and the fields. By all accounts it looks and feels like a normal healthy North Korean Village. The problem is, nobody really lives there. Kijong-dong is known internationally as propaganda village because this village represents the perfect image that the North Korean’s desire to have. The truth is they are only fooling themselves because everybody in the rest of the world knows North Korea is anything but perfect.
After the Korean War ended and the north was divided from the south, North Korea went on a rambunctious building program. In an effort to make the South Koreans jealous of their great economy they built a completely fake city that still exists to this day. Lights come on and off in the apartments just like they would in a normal home except these lights come on at the exact same time and go off at the exact same time every day because they are set to timers. And every day the flag is raised by the soldiers in the DMZ and every night the flag is lowered. And every day the loudspeaker sings praises of Kim Jung-un. And day after day after day the North Koreans continue thinking that the rest of the world admires the great city that has no inhabitants.
The crazy thing is that you don’t have to travel to the middle of Korea to see propaganda village. All you need to do is take a drive down your streets. Propaganda village exists in every city in every state in the nation. We live in a world where people want to portray the perfect family. We manicure our yards, wash our cars, and even stage the room in front of our front window to show others we have it all together.
The truth is that when our life is falling apart we put on more makeup and pretend that everything is just great. When we have marriage problems we joke about it and laugh about it but heaven help us if we ever tell someone that our marriage is falling apart. And when it comes to our kids, we are proud as can be as long as nobody gets too personal and begins to figure out that our family has deep rooted issues.
If you don’t know it by now, I don’t want to shock you, but perfect people don’t exist. Everybody has failures, problems, and struggles. No matter how perfect we try to be, we can never actually be perfect. One of the things that makes the bible so unique is it never portrays people as perfect. The bible is full of the biographies of ordinary imperfect people. None of these people were perfect ,and in case there is any doubt, God tells us that no one is perfect. Not even one.
“There is no one righteous, not even one;” Romans 3:10 NIV
Once we admit that we are not perfect, it sure makes it a lot easier to enjoy life because we can be ourselves. We don’t have to have our best clothes on just to walk out and get the mail. If you are a woman, you don’t have to have the perfect body in order to be perfectly accepted by God. God loves us as we are, even with our imperfections and our problems. Imperfect people need a perfect God to make them perfectly accepted, flaws and all.
No matter how perfect some people may appear, we all still have problems. That’s why imperfect people like you and I need a perfect God to give us the internal peace that we desperately desire. The sooner we accept the fact that we are flawed, the better because as soon as we admit that we are flawed, the sooner we are open to receiving grace from our perfect Savior.
The Bible says:
“31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” 2 Samuel 22:31 NIV
God is perfect and Holy and willing to take an imperfect person and love them because they love his perfect son Jesus Christ. The good news is that Freshwater is a church full of imperfect people. Nobody in the Freshwater family is a super saint or a perfect person; we are all on a faith journey toward Christ-likeness. So if you have been residing in propaganda village, I want to invite you to step out of it and step into an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. With him we do not have to pretend or invent an image. He accepts us as we are. Jesus accepts us with messy hair, messy homes and messy lives. Jesus accepts us with financial problems and failures. People who have an authentic relationship with Jesus accept the fact that they do not have to be perfect in order to be loved and be secure.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he willingly came and died on the cross as a substitutionary atonement for our sins. In everyday life terms this means that Jesus took a bullet for you. He willingly laid down his perfect life for an imperfect person like you and I so that we can be united with God. It’s a simple concept really, God loves you and I so much that he was willing to die so that we could have a relationship with Him.
Because of God’s grace we can be real. We can tell God why we are sad, that we feel lonely, or that we crave hope. Because of God’s grace we can admit that we are scared and scarred. Nobody is perfect, imperfect people exist everywhere. No matter how much it may look like your neighbor has it together, they still live an imperfect life and need the perfect Savior Jesus Christ. I love being part of a church that is on the corner of transparency and grace. This is the intersection where the church needs to be.