I like hanging around with the scruffy ones, I just do. When I was drinking I was always drawn to folks living life at the edge of the envelope, and the ones with, at best, a tenuous grip on the edge of the envelope were my favorites.
So there, I have a fondness for scruffy.
A few of us scruffy types were sitting around last night talking about Mathew 5, particularly the last part where Jesus tells us to love our enemies ‘cause there’s no style points for loving those that love us. Turns out even sinners and pagans can do that. We were pretty much on board with the love your enemy thing although none of us thought it possible to do in our own lives short of divine intervention, which after all is what Jesus is all about.
But then we got to verse 48 and things got really difficult. Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Seriously? Do you really think that highly of us? That we could ever, even with divine intervention, come close to hitting that mark? Dictionary.com defines perfect as “excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.” Really? Us? Our collective response reminded me of a comical bit on ESPN in which they show sports bloopers called “C’mon Man”.
C’mon Jesus, perfect seems like a really high bar to set. If you send a crowd like us on an impossible quest for perfection, why bother trying? It’s not that we lacked the desire to be obedient, we just couldn’t see how this command, “Be perfect”, was possible to achieve.
Here’s what we decided to do. Rather than not try and fail completely, we decided to give it a shot and see if we couldn’t get closer than if we didn’t try at all. We’re not sure that’s what Jesus was looking for, but it’s the best we could come up with. So for now it’ll have to do.