“Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect,” Matthew 5:48.
This passage could lead to great discouragement. As Jesus faces the hypocritical religion of the Pharisees during his Sermon on the Mount, he tells his audience to be perfect like God. This is a great command. But every one of us deals with sins and mistakes. We struggle in life and often feel great guilt because we cannot live up to the standard that we desire. We may want to be perfect and without sin, yet we often see that we aren’t measuring up to perfection. With this being the case, many people feel like giving up their faith and just admitting failure.
Let’s take a moment and look at an illustration that can help us understand what Jesus is telling us to do. Notice over the past few years the regular season records of the Major League Baseball teams that won the World Series: the Astros (101), the Cubs (103), the Royals (95), the Giants (88), and the Red Sox (97). In other words, in a 162 game regular season, most champions won around 100 games. The best of these is the Chicago Cubs who won 103 regular season games and lost 59. Most of us would think that a 64% success rate would not be ideal. Yet just about every major league manager would be ecstatic to have that winning percentage.
But notice the mindset of the successful managers. You never see a manager who says, “Don’t worry so much about this game boys. As long as only try to win half our games we will be just fine. Let’s take a few games off.” The manager with that attitude would not have a job very long at all. Instead the successful manager tries to win every single game. When the team loses, he does what he can to make adjustments and to motivate his team for the next one.
We may make mistakes and we will never be without struggles in life. But each day we strive to be perfect just as our heavenly father is perfect.