Perfection, Jealousy, Grace
Captain America: Civil War
By: John D. Pepe
Excerpt from the movie:
Tony- “I’m a handful.” (speaking about his relationship with Pepper)…dad was a pain in the ass, but he and mom seemed to make it work.”
Cap- “I’m glad Howard got married. I only knew him when he was young and single.”
Tony- “Oh really? You two knew each other? He never mentioned that. Maybe only a thousand times. God, I hated you.”
Cap- “I don’t mean to be difficult.”
Tony- “Of course not because you’re a very polite person.”
Cap- “If I see a situation pointed south I can’t just ignore it. I wish I could.”
Tony- “No you don’t.”
Cap- “No. I don’t.”
Tony- “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.”
Have you ever felt like this about someone? Maybe not wanting to punch them in their “perfect teeth” but feeling jealous about what they have, or who they are? Whether it happens to be a relationship, personality, money, a material object, or maybe perfect teeth, they get under your skin because they seem to have what you don’t.
Tony can see his own flaws and seems to be jealous and infuriated with Captain’s perfection, or at least his perception of his perfection. The perfection that his father, Howard, probably spoke of often. Getting only from him the ever-present criticism. I’m sure wishing that he could have gotten a little of that praise that Howard bestowed upon Cap.
But what is perfection? Isn’t it simply a subjective view we have of others? How can we define this concept of perfection if it is viewed through flawed human eyes? Does it even remotely compare to heavenly perfection? If not, how can we, as humans, truly understand perfection?
The bible calls for us to be perfect: “…be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48). But God created each one of us to be our own unique person, so maybe, we are suppose to strive to be the perfect as it pertains to our uniqueness. Not in the way we view it as human beings, i.e., having perfect teeth, but in our personal relationship with God; which is different and distinct for each and every one of us. Maybe the perfection we should try to emulate, and I do mean “try”, is to be what Jesus saw as perfect. Trying to perfect ourselves in our compassion for others. In doing unto others as we would have done to us. Not this flawed concept of worldly perfection, which seems to focus more on the veneer as opposed to making our hearts as pure as possible.
I think that is what Tony might be jealous. It’s not necessarily Cap’s perfect teeth that he envies, it is that Cap has a purer heart. Cap does what he thinks is right, not for his own gain or glory, but because he thinks it will help humanity in the best possible way.
The reality is that we are human. We are all flawed, even the great Captain America, with his perfect teeth, has flaws. We should always be pushing to be perfect, as Jesus saw perfection, from the inside out, not from the human point of view, which seems to be the other way around. But knowing that we will fall short. Because we are human. Because we are flawed. Because we were born in sin, and we can’t escape that. The best we can hope to do is minimize it.
In the end, that is why we need God. His grace. That is what makes up for our imperfection. So, don’t be jealous or envious of others, they don’t have perfect teeth, even if your perception is that they have perfect teeth. Accept God’s grace, and know it’s okay not have perfect teeth, as long as you keep trying to better yourself.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”