Wholeness not perfection
“Great crowds followed him.”
With his disciples by his side, Jesus climbed up the mountain and began to preach. He spoke of mercy, humility, compassion, and purity of heart. He spoke of turning your cheek and loving your enemies. He spoke of the superficiality of materialism, the depth of God’s forgiveness, and the dangers posed by false prophets.
He spoke not of perfection, as some believe, but of seeking wholeness and completion, which is to seek to be close to God . . . to follow God.
“You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy,” Jesus preached. “But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be teleios as your heavenly Father is teleios.”
Jesus knew that perfection is beyond the grasp of human beings. But in our desire to be merciful, humble, compassionate, and loving, we can be “teleios” or, as the word is correctly translated, “wholehearted” (but never quite “perfect”) in our search for spiritual growth and fulfillment. Wholehearted but never quite perfect, for we will always and inevitably discover another bend in the road, another mile in the journey.