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Last fall, I had the opportunity to preach a sermon at the Church of the Good Samaritan. In it, I look at the verse Matthew 5:48: “Be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect.”
automatically start with physical ideals. I might say, for instance, that an
ideal version of me would include four or five more inches of height or twenty
correct my appearance, I might next consider my abilities. An ideal version of
me, for instance, would be able to paint. Would be a better gardener. Would be
able to kick a soccer ball with accuracy. Would be able to hem pants and sew on
buttons. From there, I move to aspects of my character. An ideal version of me
would be more patient with our children. Would feel more compassion when a
friend is in need. Would employ greater self-control over food and sleep and
exercise. Would give more money away. Would have more contact with people who
are different from me. But the question for us is whether this is the type of
perfection Jesus is talking about. Does he want us to be perfect like a Lexus
is, supposedly, perfect? Is he talking about me becoming a more physically
attractive, self-sufficient, morally upright human being? Is he talking about
me becoming Wonder Woman? Or is there something else going on here?