Criticizing imperfection is a traditional way of approaching theatrical character makeup. First, you memorize the proportions of the features of the ideal classical Greek face. Then you look at the features of the face you want to reproduce with makeup. It's nothing but defects, every feature falling short of perfection.
Then, carefully, you criticize. Measuring how and where each feature misses its ideal counterpart, you collect all the faults, shepherding each failure firmly into memory. Then, using your makeup, you slowly, precisely copy them, until by reproducing a thousand tiny criticisms you create your character's face.
Do we do this to our friends? Do we etch mortality into our sense of them, noting sadly how they've aged or how they've lost their sense of purpose in life? Or do we look instead for their native spiritual beauty and see it as in fact their only true character?
How we view -- and treat -- our friends can depend on what we think about perfection. If we think it's impossible, as remote from daily living as that ideal classical face, then our friends, like life, can never measure up. Instead of rejoicing in their true loveliness as God's likeness or reflection, we're stuck with the pain of our own perfectionism. Hurt by our friends' apparent loss of grace, their fall from promise, goodness, or beauty, our eyes may dim with criticism.
But Christ Jesus teaches us different view: character portraiture through immortal love. This love is vivid and vital because based on the spiritual fact that perfection is man's true condition, not remote but real. "Be ye therefore perfect," Jesus urged, "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." n1
n1 Matthew 5:48
How on earth do we start understanding spiritual perfection? Paul had the answer. By living it as much as we can each moment -- recognizing ourselves to be God's faultness image and bringing out that image day by day. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord," he said, "are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." n2
n2 II Corinthians 3:18
We find the perfection of living by studying the glory of God, not the faults of mankind. God-illumination brings new awarenesses. If hurts surface, we heal them. If faults become apparent, we don't criticize and memorize them (we don't ignore them, either). We reverse them, replace faults -- our own or what we see as others' -- with specific truths of man's spiritual nature, and then live these truths.
As we do this -- see the truth and live it more and more in our lives -- we keep moving into broader views. Life opens up for us, becomes dynamic. The action switches from perfection as stagnation, with our sense of faults accumulating, to perfection as unfolding aliveness, with fault preoccupation fading.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes this glory-to-glory action: "All the real is eternal. Perfection underlies reality. Without perfection, nothing is wholly real. All things will continue to disappear, until perfection appears and reality is reached." n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 353
Exploring perfection as the true environment of God and man is never boring. Perfection -- seen as God's truths glowing at the heart of thought rather than as distant dreams saddening living -- makes us life-lovers instead of involuntary critics. Life-loving releases that loveliness which sees beauty in others instead of focusing on faults.
Mrs. Eddy tells us, "Deducing one's conclusions as to man from imperfection instead of perfection, one can no more arrive at the true conception or understanding of man, and make himself like it, than the sculptor can perfect his outlines from an imperfect model, or the painter can depict the form and face of Jesus, while holding in thought the character of Judas." n4
n4 ibid.,m pp. 259-260
When perfection is loving instead of faultfinding, we bring our lives of immortal beauty. This is character makeup, Christian Science style! DAILY BIBLE VERSE This people have I formed f or myself; they shall shew forth my praise Isaiah 43:21