I Love My Perfectly Imperfect Ride in Forza Horizon 5
Learning what it means to be "made to be loved."
The sun is out; it feels like summer, and the roads of Mexico are inviting me to come out for a cruise. There are 223 cars in my garage that includes a $30 million Shelby and eleven Ferraris. So what should I take out for a spin today? The answer was clear, and I already knew before I started up Forza Horizon 5. It was the black 2001 Acura Integra Type-R.
The Integra was not the fastest car or the nicest. Compared to the many vehicles I have in my garage, the FWD Type-R was not the best for races, nor was it the easiest to drive around the canyons, but it does hold a special spot in my heart. The 2001 Integra was the first car I bought when I started working, I couldn't afford a Type-R, but I was content with my GS model. I would work on it every weekend for the next few years to mod it into my own design. The car wasn't the fastest, it had gremlins and issues, but it was my own creation. The car was tuned to me; I knew how to care for it and where its limit is at.
I loved cruising around town with it because it was my pride and joy. The sound of my HKS exhaust and the blow-off valve from my turbo was a unique fingerprint of my design. Of course, the Type-R in Forza Horizon can't replicate the exact feeling, look, sound, or even performance, but it was close enough to bring back memories of all those cruises.
Sometimes it is not about driving that perfect car, but rather, it is just about enjoying your own built–your own creation.
I imagine God thinks of us in similar ways. While human beings are infinitely more valuable and complex than machines, God also designs every one of us with distinct features. From our appearance, voice, attributes, and character, each of us bears a unique fingerprint, a fingerprint in our Creator's likeness.
Along with our uniqueness, all of us also have different strengths and weaknesses. Some of more physically capable while others are intellectual, some even have both. Yet, no one is perfect. Our capacities and tolerance for stress, pressure, work and pain are also distinct. One person's limit is not necessarily the same as the others, even if they are identical twins.
We are created beings with limits. And yet, God loves us just the same. The Psalmist writes,
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
- Psalm 139:13-16
We are loved not because of our strengths and weaknesses; not because of what we can do. But because we were created with love and for love. The writer of Psalms wanted us to see that even when we were in the most vulnerable state–while we were being formed in our mother's womb–that God already had His eyes and hands on us. His care for you and me was active even before we were able to do anything for Him. He loved us despite what we see as our limitations and inadequacy.
Today, in our society, we give higher value to those that can achieve more, have more important jobs, or are more successful. Even in games, we are more inclined to celebrate the more skillful players we play with; we value them more regardless of other attributes and flaws. But, on the other hand, we are also easily annoyed by the less skillful teammates whose mistakes and inadequacy quickly result in mistreatments by their teammates. Unfortunately, it does not matter if they are 12 or 55 years old; the expletive comments are often just the same. Your achievement or lack thereof dictates how you will be treated by others even in games.
If we, as Christ-followers, can't even play well with others? What does that say about how we might treat others in our work, school, neighbourhoods, or even the church? Even if we don’t say it out loud, what does our heart say about others around us?
John writes in 1 John 4:13,
"We love because he first loved us."
What would happen if we treat others the same way Christ loves us? To love first before weighing the other's worth and benefits to ourselves. To be gracious and loving to a human being even if we only meet them once in our lifetime and can only hear their voice through our headset. Can we wholeheartedly say #GG to everyone and every game, no matter who won or lost?
My Integra has many limits and weak points; if I hammer the accelerator too much, my engine may blow, the intake clamps may come off, or my clutch will smoke. At one point in time, my front bumper was utterly held together by a handful of zip ties. And yet I love being with it. Every so often, I would pad it on the dashboard and smile.
I think Jesus also smiles when He is with us—when we are cruising through life’s mountain top and valleys together. If God loves being with us—His children—regardless of our limitations and imperfections, how much more would He love to see us being with others regardless of theirs.
Who are you to love and be like Christ to today?