Have you ever read or heard someone quote the scriptural advice to “be perfect” and thought to yourself, “I’ll never pull that off. How can I be perfect? Isn’t that why I need a Savior?” If so, you’re in good company.
Some translations of the Bible use the word “perfect” when Jesus tells us to be like our heavenly Father. “Be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Fortunately for us, there are other versions of the Bible as well as Hebrew and Greek dictionaries that help us understand what the word really meant in the original text.
The word ‘perfect,’ as it relates to God, means integrity, true, without blemish, undefiled, upright and entire. The word that best describes what the Lord meant when He said for us to be like our Father is “complete.” It means to be mature, complete, and restored, to have the moral character of our Father, and to grow up in this completeness in Christ.
In the growing up process, there is room to make mistakes. You can be perfectly mature and make mistakes, have bad days or say the wrong thing and so on. The difference is that a mature person handles mistakes differently than an immature person.
It takes a mature person to go back and apologize when they are wrong, when they’ve messed up, made the wrong decision, said the word thing or when they have hurt somebody else with their actions or words. Being mature means that if you mess up, you fess up, get up, and go on with growing up (see 1John 1:8-10). It means that you do your best to live your faith, keep a pure heart before the Lord, and obey Him.
In church as well as in many secular circles, people expect leaders to be perfect. When they mess up, people condemn them. Jesus never condemned people for messing up, only for unbelief in. He always forgave people and extended grace and a chance to repent.
Perfection is a myth that leaves people doubtful of ever getting this Christian life right. We cannot arrive at God-like perfection in this life, but we can be mature and complete in Christ.
If you are trying to be as perfect God you’re probably living in a great deal of unnecessary condemnation because we all fail and fall short daily so if you think the only way you can be like Him and be pleasing to Him is to be as perfect as He is you are never going to measure up.
Beloved, Instead of trying to be perfect let His love work in you and be known to others through because that’s the closest you are ever going to get to being like God. In fact, that’s the way He planned it. 1 John 4:7 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”