Giving up on Perfection
Why did Jesus tell us to be perfect in Matthew 5:48? We humans do not have the ability to be flawless, yet strangely we gladly criticize shortcomings in others. How then can Jesus expect any mortal human being to be perfect? Does he require the impossible from us? The Greek word translated as perfect is misunderstood in modern English. Jesus was actually telling his disciples to become mature -- full grown -- adults of full age. So, rather than faultless behavior, Jesus suggested that we simply grow up. The context was about loving our enemies. Because we are imperfect, and need grace and mercy, we ought to extend it even to our enemies. Let's grow up and stop condemning others, but rather be like God in heaven. Let's give up on expecting impossible perfection -- in ourselves and others. Let's instead grow up, extending loving mercy and grace, even to our enemies.