Your weekly inspiration
Rev. Jeffrey H. Petten offers this week’s study of The Bible
In Matthew 5:38-48 we hear about turning the other cheek when we are offended by people. We are given the recipe for living a good life that is wholesome in the Kingdom of God. Some could say that Jesus gives a tall order to live up to, especially; when we hear those words, “be prefect, just as your heavenly father is perfect.
Prefect. Well if we have to be prefect, I do not think that we will live long. If we look at the crucifix we see what humanity can do to perfect people. In doing some background reading, I have come to the realization that the word “prefect” might be the incorrect word to use in gaining the essence of what Jesus is teaching. The word that we should use is “whole.” Be whole just as your heavenly father is whole. In essence what Jesus is saying is that we are to have a wholesome relationship with God and with one another and; it has to be within the context of love. Jesus is not saying we got to like each other; Jesus is saying we have to love each other.
So who is perfect? Who here has never made a mistake or forgotten to do something? That is why Jesus says be whole. We can take that word whole and change it into something else. We can change that word from whole to holy. In both the Book of Leviticus and in the 1st Letter of St. Peter we hear these words ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’
This is what the Kingdom of God is all about. The Kingdom of God is about making the dream of God a reality among us. The Kingdom of God is about turning everything that is wrong with the Church, the world and ourselves into something that is for a good purpose. Imagine if we did what Jesus says not to do. Half of us would be walking around with one eye or no eyes. The other half of us would be walking around with broken arms and maimed bodies. In reality is getting revenge with those who have done something to us worth it? No because the kingdom of God is not about revenge, the Kingdom of God is about living wholesome – living holy. Is it our human nature to see revenge yet; what Jesus is pointing out is that we are to take the high road. It may be painful to do but; it is a lot better than loosing eyes. It goes to show that there is truth in the saying: “to err is to be human, to forgive is divine.”
So how are we living holy lives? How are we living wholesome lives? Are we making the kingdom of God a reality here and now or are we too concentrated on how the Kingdom of God will be in the future. Dallas Willard states it best in saying: “The Gospel is less about how you get into the Kingdom of God after you die, and more about how you live the Kingdom of God before you die.” Pointing to the wholesome life – the holy life in which we are called to live. After all part of the Church’s prayer is “Your kingdom come, Your will be done…” Where????? “On earth as in heaven.” Here and now as well as in the future.
Make the impact of a wholesome life with God today. So…. be perfect. The Rev. Jeffrey H. Petten, B.A., M.Div.
Rev. Jeffrey H. Petten, B.A., M.Div.