We had a spirited discussion this past Wednesday at our Bible Study. Like I have done many times, I welcomed those present to discuss with me how we ought to interpret Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5:48 (Be therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
You see, adding words like “strive” or “do your best” don’t cut it. They don’t cut it simply because those words aren’t there.
But everyone knows, they always tell me, no one is or can be perfect. I challenge this assumption, and someone in the room automatically assumes I am thus declaring myself perfect. I am not; it’s just that I can’t imagine Jesus telling us to do something that we can’t do.
So, the morning following this great, lively discussion, I heard someone telling a friend about it. “Steve actually believes we can be perfect,” he said, half chuckling, half still in shock. The friend shared the humorous disbelief that I would make such an assertion.
I suppose they had a nice little chuckle. I can’t help but wonder what has happened to the church that laughs at the idea of taking Jesus at his word.