The Power of a Flawed Performance

Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor

If you didn’t already know, this season of American Idol is the last and final season of this long running show. As part of the final season, they bring in different artists and past winners to perform on different weeks. A few weeks ago, season one winner Kelly Clarkson got up and performed her original song “Piece by Piece”. Kelly is an incredible musician and performer, but that particular performance, she was just off. She dropped out a few times, missed some starting points, and struggled to get through the song. It was a flawed performance by a very talented woman. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to watch it here.

The song is a very personal song written by Clarkson when she was pregnant with her first baby and lamenting the very strained relationship between her and her father. It is an incredibly powerful song lyrically and musically in and of itself. But as you likely have already seen it, her “flawed performance” made the experience infinitely better. That’s because she was not performing, she was sharing with the world perhaps her most intimate pain in the most authentic way possible. As she shared in later interviews, she couldn’t believe she made it as far as she did. Even the judges were moved, some to the point of tears, by the raw emotion and power of both the song and the performance…as flawed as it might have been technically. In fact, before her performance, the album also named Piece by Piece was at 120 on the billboard charts, but after her American Idol performance, saw a 682% increase moving all the way up to number 6!

We are a world that is increasingly about performance and excellence, and generally speaking this is a very good thing. Still, many people and organizations don’t strive for that and it shows. But there is something even greater, something incredibly stirring when great performances are elevated by authentic expressions of vulnerability and authenticity…people are moved to respond.

One of the things I often hear from people when it comes to sharing their faith, is that they “don’t know the bible enough” or “don’t want to mess it up by saying the wrong thing.” These are very real concerns and should be given our full attention. As followers of Jesus, we should be knowledgable about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. However, the most compelling thing a follower of Jesus can do is to genuinely and authentically share who Jesus is to them. If Jesus has captured your heart, an authentic and heart stirring sharing of that story, even if you mess up the delivery, is far more moving than a flawless presentation without any heart. 1 Corinthians 13 opens with these powerful words:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

The Apostle Paul was challenging the Corinthian believers to be mindful that all of the best performances, no matter how charitable and sacrificial they are, if they lack genuine love, ultimately amount to nothing. He isn’t saying don’t strive to do all those things, which some can choose to interpret it as, but rather, make sure you do those things out of love. And when we do; when we truly display authentic love in our efforts, the impact is magnified exponentially. Authentically sharing in word and deed a personal relationship with Christ is far more effective at moving people than professionally presenting right information about Christ. Strive to share your love of Jesus authentically and accurately, rather than accurately sharing Jesus without love. It can make all the difference!

The Power of a Flawed Performance

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