Now what’s this about my second grade teacher?
“But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven in perfect.”
There is a translation issue in this verse. The word “perfect” literally means “be complete.” The Old and New Testaments describe people as being upright and righteous—not in the sense that they have achieved total moral perfection, but they did reach a level of spiritual maturity, a completeness.
Oh, lucky them.
It is also lucky for us. Why? Because we CAN be complete as our heavenly Father is complete. Long before the Sermon on the Mount, God required the people of Israel to reflect His character. Now of course they totally dropped the ball at times just like we totally drop the ball at times, but the message is this. The HOPE is this: the potential for us to be perfect is there. Our potential is real.
“Now wait,” we could be thinking. “Can a person be perfect? I can see the potential for someone ELSE to be perfect may be there. My churchgoing second grade teacher, for example, she was nice—I mean she was REALLY nice. But me? Perfect?”
Yes. You. Perfect.
Theoretically, you can be perfect. The New Testament tells us that with every temptation we meet, God gives us a way to escape that temptation. He always gives us enough grace to overcome sin.
So, theoretically we can be perfect—even though none of us are.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t try.
It may or may not have been your second grade teacher who encouraged you to try (and try again), but some teacher somewhere in your past gave you both the strength and the right mental attitude to try and try again.
There’s a teacher in your present who encourages you, too. He does it all the time. Listen to Him. Follow Him. Emulate Him. His name is Jesus.
Dear Lord, continue to teach me. Amen.