“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

Matthew uses a particular word for perfect that we should learn: τέλειος (teleios). This word means complete or finished, in the sense that a work has been done to its conclusion. So when Jesus counselled his followers to be perfect, he was not saying “be flawless in your actions” as if it was something we do ourselves, but “be completed” as in, mature into completion, don’t interfere with the work God is doing on you.

No, you’re not perfect. But God is, so when we choose to do things contrary to his will, we disrespect the work he is doing on us for his own sake.

Ethan Kirl