Daily Delight

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

There is a part of the Sermon on the Mount that has always stumped me. In Matthew 5 filed under Love Your Enemies, it says, “Be perfect, therefore as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NIV). 

I hear that and I feel like I am being set up for failure. Be perfect? I am just trying be a 20-something that doesn’t eat too much take-out and overuse dry shampoo. More than that, when we push past the surface-level flaws there are very present parts of me struggling with forgiveness, hate and humility. My growing up process is all over the place and I am trying. Trying is a verb that does not feel like it belongs with perfection. 

I went to a yoga class and a couple of complicated bendy poses later our instructor said, “Alright class, don’t become obsessed with perfecting the poses, I just want you to think these three words over and over as we enter stillness, happy, healthy, whole.” My first reaction was to make my escape and sneak out early as everyone closed their eyes, but for some reason I stayed. When I finally focused on her words, they suddenly formed an invitation to revisit Matthew 5:48. 

I dug up the soil around the words. The Hebrew translation for perfect in this verse is tamim and it means, among other things, whole, healthful and complete. In Hebrew 2:10; 5:8-9 we see the word “perfect” show up again, as Jesus was made perfect through suffering. He wasn’t made perfect by culture’s standards of success, Jesus was made whole through suffering. In the context of teaching how to love one’s enemies, Jesus is saying let your love be as whole, complete and inclusive as our Abba Father's love. Let your love be the kind of whole love that doesn’t hinge or limit itself based off who loves us back. 

Here’s what I realized, entering the process of becoming whole does not mean that I won’t make mistakes. It means when I follow Jesus with wholehearted love, I am surrendering my growing to the Spirit and letting my heart know and be known by the perfect love of God. I am not being invited to be stainlessly perfect, I am being invited to enter the process of spiritual growth, maturity, transformation and wholeness through Jesus Christ.

Amy Werner

Amy grew up near the mouth of the Appalachian trail in a northeastern town in Georgia. She now lives as a writer and science nerd in our nation’s capital, navigating life as a 20-something obsessed with finding sanctuaries in nature on the edges of the urban hustle of D.C.
This new transition to D.C. has been a season of learning a posture of surrender and peaceful silence found with God even amid the noise of cultural expectations and standards.

Amy is passionate about seeking justice, finding faith in all of life's details and championing young women to see and appreciate their divine value and worth. Amy loves stories, campfires, donuts and strong friendships, often the combination of all these elements equals her happy place.


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