My wife and I had the privilege of taking the “Marriage and Family” Seminary Course while at Dallas Theological Seminary back in the 80’s. Dr. Howard Hendricks, along with his wife Jeanne, led that class and it was truly amazing. Dr. Hendricks, The Prof, passed away last week. He will be missed by thousands of ministers around the world who have benefited from his ministry. When I took Nick Bank to visit DTS back in April several years ago, we just happened to sit in on the Prof’s last class of Bible Study Methods. I was grateful that I had the chance to sit under his wisdom once again and that Nick had the experience also.

I remember how he used to address us young prospective ministers. He knew from many, many years of experience how capable we were of messing up our own families. One of his quotes is “any man with a little bit of money, a Christian education, and some popularity can with great style make a mess out of his marriage.” No one is exempt from the struggles, strains, and stress associated with relationships with imperfect people. There is no such thing as a perfect husband or a perfect wife or a perfect son or perfect daughter. Thus there is no such thing as a perfect family. When Curt Isaacson opened his sermon on Sunday he began with Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” No one is perfect except God. We all fall short in each and every relationship in our lives. We all must learn to live with imperfect people. I always enjoy telling the congregation, “Men, you married a sinner! Women, you married a bigger one.” It’s this truth that requires healthy effort on the part of each person in a relationship to make it work as God intended.

Donald Grey Barnhouse was Howard Hendricks mentor in his younger days. The Prof’s students would hear him frequently tell stories about Barnhouse and quote him in class. In his commentary on Romans 3:23, Barnhouse writes, “This is the flat declaration of the Creator of the universe and the Author of the supernatural Word. All have sinned. It makes no difference what your thought is about the matter: all have sinned. It makes no difference what your religious ideas: all have sinned. It makes no difference if you declare that sin is an error of mortal mind: all have sinned. You may attempt to do away with the idea of sin by philosophical speculation. It makes no difference: all have sinned. When the Communists came to power in Russia they published a new dictionary. Under the Russian word for ‘sin’ was the definition: ‘archaic and bourgeois word denoting the transgression of a mythical divine law.’ Such definitions make no difference: all have sinned.” When we grasp the reality of our own sinfulness we can finally stop expecting, and or demanding, perfection from others. Only those with a low view of their own sinfulness demand perfection from others.