Be perfectMatthew 5:48a
Are you a perfectionist? I am.
Just misspelling the title of this devotion causes me a little grief. I’m not the type who has a perfectly clean desk and a perfectly empty inbox. I’m more the type that frets about making little mistakes, or big ones.
It comes from my upbringing. My parents didn’t come down hard on me when I messed up, but they praised me so much when I succeeded that I just got it into my head that there was no other way to live. I needed to excel at everything I did.
Oh, I’ve screwed things up royally a few times, but the hours I’ve spent worrying about not being perfect surely exceed the hours I’ve spent actually messing up.
In my life, I’m trying to chill out a little. To let things happen as they may. To not overdo it. Easier said than done. I still feel that pressure to get it right, whatever it is. I know God doesn’t want me to live my life stressed out and overachieving, but then I read Matthew 5:48 and I have to wonder:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Well geez. Maybe God does expect me to knock it out of the park as often as possible. Maybe God wants me to push it to the limit, to kick myself when I fail, to strive for perfection even at my own peril.
Except, that’s not the kind of perfection Jesus is talking about here. That particular statement is the conclusion to a powerful paragraph where Jesus admonishes us to love our enemies as much as we love those who love us. God wants us to be perfect with our love.
There’s only one test that God wills us to get an ‘A’ on, and that is our ability to love. Love is the one thing that should consume our efforts and occupy our thoughts. Not running the perfect meeting or fixing the perfect meal. Not making the perfect speech or completing a perfect project. The truth is, we’re not perfect. Time and time again we’re going to mess things up. While that’s not fun, or something to aspire to, it’s part of our human condition.
God wants us to adopt a God-like condition when it comes to Love. Everything else falls to the wayside. So give yourself a little break. (God did on day #7, after all). Do your best and learn from the rest.
Love is worth the extra effort, but as for the rest of it,
embrace your immperfecctionsn, knowing that God never stops
Have a good week,