When I was young, I was always nervous at the thought of Jesus saying, “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). I had this image of a Divine finger pointing at me, much like the strong, albeit arthritic, fingers of the nuns who taught at my grade school, indicating that I’d better get with getting it right or there would literally be hell to pay. Scary image for a kid, mainly because I had no idea how to get it (whatever it was) right.
Sure, there were some things at which I naturally excelled, and others I could readily learn. But if there was one thing I knew I couldn’t become on my own, it was perfect. This belief made me hesitant to even try things I didn’t know I could accomplish, and to overvalue the gifts I knew I had as the only gifts I would ever have.
Thankfully, I have come to see that text not as a proclamation, but a promise. If I let God control my life, it will become more perfect every day. God’s grace will make it possible for a better version of me to come into being. The things I am called to do I will be able to do. Any gifts or resources or changes I need in order to answer that calling will be provided. I have to be willing, but I don’t have to be perfect!
What do you feel called to do to help in the current crisis? What gifts do you have that you can share? What do you feel called to do without yet seeing how you could possibly make it happen?
Place all these requests before God and let Him open up the pathway. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking you have to be perfect before you ask God for help. God can work with each of us from the place in which we find ourselves. In fact, I think He may prefer it that way because we tend to make fewer demands of God if we have no idea what to ask for. Confusion makes us more open and teachable.
Be teachable at the hands of the Great Teacher! You become perfected in asking for help and receiving the gifts God wants you to share. And the ultimate perfecting will happen when you actually share what God gives to you! Love one another as God loves us!
God bless us, every one!