“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 children 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 own people, 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
I don’t know about you, but I find this last line very intimidating – like I might as well throw in the towel before I even begin to try to be perfect as God is perfect. It’s not happening, no matter how hard I try. Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount with quite a zinger, “Be perfect…” Doesn’t He know that even the greatest saint who ever walked the face of the earth cannot measure up to God Almighty?
God’s love is perfect. He wants us to love Him in return, but He does not force us to do so. He gives us complete freedom of will. His love does not come with strings attached. His love is unconditional and everlasting. It is boundless and all encompassing. It’s beyond amazing.
Can you imagine if we could possibly have this kind of love for our children, our spouses, our parents, our neighbors? How about the person who cuts us off in traffic, the person who criticizes us. Hmm. How about the person who has hurt us indelibly, the murderer, the thief, the terrorist… and the list goes on. Wow. That would be perfect love. But do we even desire to love on that level? How far out of our comfort zones would we have to step?
Being perfect as God is perfect is to love as He loves. Can you imagine what great changes would take place in our world if all Christians took this challenge seriously? We would be helping to usher in the coming of the Kingdom and bringing a little bit of heaven to earth.
(a very interesting house that can be seen from the I10 interstate in New Orleans)