I always had a problem when I heard the scripture Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. I say problem, it’s more like an “O M G” reaction of “How in the world would I be able to be perfect?” Then I read the footnotes on that scripture in my Dake Bible and he described the word ‘perfect’ as ‘mature’… MATURE?? What does that mean exactly?
I looked in the Merriam-Webster to find the definition and there were five! The first one said “based on slow careful consideration <a mature judgment”, mature judgment? I’m already in the hole because slow and careful are not usually in my vocabulary! I run headlong into situations and then think, or my mouth says something before my brain has processed it! That doesn’t sound very mature in that sense, does it? I think that to be mature is to be able to handle a situation with tact and consideration for another person’s feelings.
I have always tried to do that, and it has gotten me in trouble because I have not found a way to speak my mind, in some cases, without being blunt. Two examples come to mind; I was pregnant with my daughter, very pregnant, when one of the ladies at church came to me, tears brimming her eyes, as she touched my arm and shared this “pearl of wisdom”, “You are the kind of person that God gives a retarded or handicap child to, because you are so full of love!” I couldn’t believe my ears! I looked at her in disbelief and said “What! Is there a certain amount of handicap children that have to be born so God chooses someone to give them to?” I was stunned, didn’t know what to think! At first I wondered if she was giving me a prophetic word! Would God give such a word to someone who was not in authority over me? I believe if you have a child that is handicap, in any manner, God gives you the grace to accept and deal with it in the way you need, but I refuse to believe that there is an allotted amount and he chooses families in which to place them. I felt bad at my quick reaction and her face showed that she was surprised at the side of me she had never seen!
Another time was when a young man came into my office with a “message from God”, it seems that God had told him that he was to marry me and take care of me for the rest of my life. Now bear in mind, I had never dated this person, I had also talked with the girl he had married and divorced, so I had no intention of ever dating him, much less marrying him! My mouth fell open and I told him that God would have had to tell me that personally and that I had no intention of dating him much less marrying him. I felt sorry I had spoken so harshly and tried to soften my answer without giving him hope, but honestly I don’t remember what I said, I was just so embarrassed!
Back to being perfect, or mature, I looked up the scripture in the Message translation, “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Ahhh I can live with that, in other words (and Jesus had already said it) “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Mine is a four-generation household, the eldest is 90 and the youngest is 13 and there are a lot of ages in between. If we didn’t “do unto others” in our home, there would be mayhem at all times! I watched how my parents dealt with each other, the same with my children with their spouses and my grandchildren in their relationship with each other and their friends and I honestly see a lot of genuine maturity in them, does that mean we are perfect? I laugh to think of it, but it is something to strive for, isn’t it? So my word for you is Grow UP!