I thought again about the scriptures, and our conversation about what it means to be “perfect” (as God is perfect…). Then an old song came to me. It’s a Billy Joel number with the line, “I love you just the way you are.” The essence of the word perfect as used in scripture is to be whole, complete, congruent human beings. When we are, our outward lives are honest expressions of our inner feelings. The inside and the outside are in harmony; without duplicity. We live with integrity and clarity. This is how God deals with us, meeting us as we are, and loving us. This is God’s perfection and is what Jesus asks of us – to be congruent and whole with one another, as God is with us
When we fear not living up to what we imagine are the expectations of others, we hide our real selves. Fighting with our disappointment, we show a face of competence, or what we think others admire in us. Not only is this a huge amount of psychological and spiritual work, but it masks the unique beauty which is each one of us. Can your true self be hard for others to take? Maybe. We are not all equally loveable by others all the time. But we are completely and unconditionally loved by God. Love is hard work. Trying to be without flaw or fault is our attempt to escape the hard work of messy love. There is a different perfection – to love one another, and love yourself honestly. This means making mistakes, but it is the essence of being congruent, being complete with God. Jesus didn’t say do perfect; he said be perfect. It is hard work. Practice that love.
I love you just the way you are.