“Be ye perfect,
as your Heavenly Father Is Perfect.”- Jesus Christ
Perfection. What an interesting word. We are called to perfection. Can you believe
that? But nonetheless, Jesus said to be perfect. How is that possible? I mean, we know that
our Heavenly Father is perfect because He is God. But how can we, human beings, be perfect? And how can we be like God?
Jesus must have known something we don’t know when He said this, after all, He Is
God. He must have known everything about His Heavenly Father and everything about us,
right? If this weren’t true, then how can he call us to the perfection of the Father of Heaven? Yes, Jesus knows us very well. And He knows our Heavenly Father perfectly as well. Jesus
knows the Father and you and me with Perfection. He knows what makes us different from
God. How are we different? God is perfect and we are imperfect. God is Pure Goodness and we are very often not good at all. God is three times holy and we are sinners, and hopefully not three times sinners. God is All-Generous and we are many times all-selfish. God is All
–Powerful and we are many times all-weak. God is All-Knowing and we are ignorant sinners
who often lack knowledge, prudence, wisdom and understanding. Is Jesus referring to one of
the above when calling us to be Perfect, or to all of the above? Or maybe He is referring to
none of the above. What do you think He is referring to when calling you to perfection? Let us
see what He may have meant.
What is Perfection?
To be perfect, by definition, means to be complete in every detail, to be without defect,
and to be flawless. It also means to be of the highest type, or to be exact, precise, thoroughly
learned or skilled. One might judge oneself according to this definition and say, “Boy, I am
definitely not perfect. I am way off.” We can’t blame that person if this statement was made. It’s true.
We are not complete in every detail. We lack so much. We are weak. Jesus was
right. Without God, we are nothing. If we are for a moment perfectly generous, we may at that
same moment lack humility. If we are working with great perfection, we might at the same time
be doing our work without love. If we are trying to help someone, we might also be impatient,
or we might be seeking a personal gain.
It seems like we could never possess all the virtues that are pleasing to God all at once. It is so difficult to be a person of faith, hope, love, humility,
patience, perseverance and obedience at the same time, with every person, in every place, at
every time. If we are very patient, even with excellence, and at the same time we are not
obedient, then we are with defect. If we are humble only in certain situations, and not humble all the time towards everyone, then we are not completely and perfectly humble. We might have a lot of knowledge in certain fields, but lack knowledge on how to interact or share that
knowledge with others. We might be very loving towards certain people, but full of hate or
coldness towards others. If someone needs our help, we might have the knowledge to help that person, but not the willingness. Or we might have the knowledge and willingness to help them,
but not the power to help them. We might even be able to resist certain temptations at any
given moment, but fall so easily into other temptations. Yes, that is so true for most of us. We
resist one sin but we commit another. This tells us a lot. We are not complete in every detail,
we are full of defect, we are not flawless, we are weak and we are imperfect.
Why are we not perfect?
One might say that you can learn a lot from another person, by how they speak or how
they act. But what do you learn from the other person? Do you learn good things, or do you
learn evil things? Are these things worth imitating? And of those good things you learn, are they morally good? Of the evil things, there is no need to even consider imitating it, for none of
these, by saying or doing them, can lead you to perfection, if they are evil. But of the good
things you see in another person, are they morally good? This we must ask ourselves if we are
to consider imitating someone. Let us suppose that they are not morally good. If they are not,
then we have no need to even consider imitating these as well, because these things are good
only according to the flesh, but not to the spirit. These are things the world considers good, but
are not good in the eyes of God, for it produces no fruit. That which is truly good before the
eyes of God produces fruit, helps to glorify His Holy Name, and will lead you to perfection. So
if you learn good things from another person, which are not morally good, and you speak or act
it in imitation, these things you learn cannot lead you to perfection.
And if they are morally good, how perfect are they? The manner of speaking or acting,
is it something we should consider as our only model? Can we honestly say that by imitating it
we would be imitating that which is of the highest quality? Is this manner of speaking or acting
better than all the rest? Does it surpass in excellence any other spoken words or expressed
actions by any other person in that particular field? If what we learn from another person is not
the highest excellence that exists, and we choose to have that as our model and our goal for
imitation, we could never reach perfection, for there will always be some flaw or some defect,
or something will be incomplete in certain details, or lacking in a certain aspect. So, to reach
perfection, Jesus does not say, “Be ye perfect as your brother is perfect,” or, “be ye perfect just as your neighbor is perfect,” but He says, “Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect.” So, to be perfect, we need to see how our Heavenly Father is Perfect...