“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly
Father is perfect.” ~Matthew 5:48
I sat on the front porch last night discussing Matthew 5 with a friend. I’ve been having difficulty with that passage (as Collective email subscribers know). I intend to write more about my struggles with this passage, but that is not for today. For today I’ll just say this: Jesus blesses us with the same status in his grand mountain sermon–sinner.
“The law says don’t commit adultery. But lust in your heart has the same consequence.”
“The law says don’t murder. But if you call your brother ‘fool’, you’re liable to hellfire.”
“The law says don’t break your promise, but I say don’t even make a promise. You can’t know whether you’ll break it.”
See? Jesus reduces all of humanity to the same state of spiritual imperfection. At our essence, we are all the same.
As we began to hash this out, I asked my friend, “if we really believed this, how would it change our approach to community?” His response was quick–“we’d recognize that your sin is my sin, and we’d help each other bear up.”
We’re all in the same listing, tilting, capsizing vessel of flesh. What if we all recognized that the sail hoisters, rowers, and men overboard were all heading toward the same fate? What if we understood that the most ascetic devotee in the room was really a whore-mongering serial adulterer, as incapable of “being perfect like your Heavenly Father is perfect” as the next fella. (Matt. 5:48). Would it change our approach to “community?” Would it change the way we interact with the members of the body?
I’d like your thoughts here on “community” and the implications of Matthew 5. I do not anticipate that this will be an easy discussion, but feel free to wade in. As per the previous community posts, this is your chance to delurk and speak your mind.