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.
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.