Why Can’t We Perfect? (Like Jesus Said.)

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Imagine how wonderful it would be if we all did this. I would never lose patience with my children. I would always listen deeply to my wife. I would never give into temptation and eat the forbidden fruit in the pantry at midnight. My sermons would always end on time, and all of my relationships would be healthy and wholesome.

a_nice_place_to_visit_still

The Twilight Zone, “A Nice Place to Visit.”

This world reminds me of an episode of the Twilight Zone, where a criminal dies and wakes up in the afterlife. Everything is perfect: He has a nice house, a  beautiful girlfriend, an endless supply of money and unlimited success.  The criminal eventually becomes bored with having his whims instantly satisfied. He is tired of heaven and wants to see “the other place.” He is horrified to learn that this “paradise” actually is “the other place.”

As we know, perfection does not exist, and yet Jesus says it should. Would Jesus require us to do something that is impossible for us to achieve?

Theoretically, perfection is possible. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God gives us a way to escape every temptation and overcome sin. At the same time, sin is inevitable because of our weakness and because of the multitude of opportunities we have to sin.

None of us can claim perfection, but we shouldn’t live in perpetual guilt because of our imperfections. Forgiveness is available through Jesus Christ. However, we must acknowledge that on any given occasion, sin is never unavoidable.

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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One Response to Why Can’t We Perfect? (Like Jesus Said.)

  1. Pingback: Why Can’t We Perfect? (Like Jesus Said.) « HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

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