Are We All Called To Be Perfect?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5: 43-48
Jesus definitely holds His followers to a standard much, much, higher than the status quo. He calls us to love even our enemies. Jesus is Love and He is the standard. Jesus even makes loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us a condition of being able to be rightfully called one of The Heavenly Father’s sons.
Jesus calls us to love the unlovable and the difficult. To reach out and to love those who might disparage and oppose us. It does not matter how we are treated by others. It is all about us treating others as Jesus would treat them. Loving those who love us is easy. Extending ourselves out of love to benefit others is our highest call. We all need to live better lives than the pagans do because of the life and love He has given us so freely equips us to abundantly do so.
Finally Jesus calls us to be “perfect”. It sounds impossible because it really is. The Greek word translated as “perfect” here actually means whole, complete and mature. And those things are possible in this life, but only because Jesus grants us those attributes by abiding in Christ. If we are truly whole then it is possible to love the unlovely because then we are able to give out of our abundance and not our lack of love or compassion. If we are complete then we lack nothing at all and can give all to those who may have need. If we are mature then we can look beyond both our own shortcomings and the shortcomings of those we are seeking to love and serve.
Jesus extended Himself to the point of death on a cross. Now He is calling us to extend ourselves to others in the very same manner. Because Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. Luke 9: 23-24
Yes, Jesus has given us a very, very high call. A call that can only be accomplished by abiding in Christ. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, but in Him our potential to love and be loved is unlimited. Today I choose to follow Him and love others regardless of my own personal comfort zone or level of difficulty. Today I fully surrender to His great and Holy Love for all people, including the dangerous and the difficult.
Kirk Out !