Jesus commands us to do what He knows is impossile for us: “Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.” Matthew 5:48, TPT. But it’s not the result He’s after so much as the process. The command is for us to seek to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we will love Him and all of the people He has connected us to.
In 1 John 3:10-15, we learn about the imperative of love. How it works is seen in the contrast. When we fail or refuse to love even our brothers, other Christians that live and work and attend church and school with us, our immediate family of God, then we die spiritually. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love” our brothers and sisters in Christ. But if we can’t or won’t love them, we abide in death. 1 John 3:14, NKJV.
Now if we allow our feelings and emotions to run rampant, indulging in hate, then we are guilty of murder. “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15, NKJV.
Jesus doesn’t stop there though. If we want to follow Him, we can’t limit our love to our friends and those who act and think and believe like us. We must love our enemies. Jesus unambiguously commands us: “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44, NKJV.
This is the work of our lifetime, to seek to be perfect, whole, balanced, not doing those things we know are wrong, but quick to recognize our faults and ask forgiveness; allowing the Spirit of the One who sacrificed His life for each of us, while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), essentially still His enemies, to guide and direct our lives.
Each choice to love someone, especially those who hate and mistreat us, makes us more like God, who is perfect. We won’t fully attain this goal this side of heaven, but we will have joy for the journey. Practice makes perfect.
Amen and amen.