13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
I think that pretty much sums up perfection. Nothing about being free from acne, or typing 300 words per minute, etc.]]>
That’s a popular reading, but let’s go further by not proof-texting this verse. What’s the context? There’s a “therefore” in there. What idea does “be ye *therefore* perfect” follow from?
Love your enemies. Your Heavenly Father makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good. Love those who hate you, salute those who do not salute you. Treat everyone as if they belong to a big group called “us” – and therefore be complete like your Father.
In the Book of Mormon version of this verse, Jesus describes himself as being “complete” as well. He had just carried out history’s greatest merciful act, applied equally to everyone who receives it. Those who do become like him, and sit with him on his throne, to reign in equal power and glory. In his love for us all, he is obviously complete and whole like his Father.
The verse is about mercy, charity and benevolence, and the global extent with which they should be applied. Reading it as instructions to attain the unique maximum of some anxiety-induced fuzzy measure of goodness is just wrong.
Start reading in verse 43 for context. (Or start in 38, which begins a mini-sermon on how we should personally let our desire for mercy overcome our desire for justice or revenge. It’s related.)]]>
Here’s a reflection. I am different person than I was a couple of years ago, and a much different person than I was seven or eight years ago. I’ve subjected my personality to the changes that come through the gospel process to a substantial effect. There are many of my personality traits that have been ameliorated and some almost eliminated. And yet I experience that deep self the same as always. Although I’m a different man, I’m still very much the same man, I’m still in here with me in some way that I recognize even from my earliest childhood memories. This consciousness carries with it an identity, and that identity never goes away. And I think it is what we love in other people. ~]]>
I think part of the challenge comes in imposing too much of mortality onto God. Can we even comprehend His perfection? I don’t think we can. Can we comprehend the heights and depths and breadths of His character and existence, power and glory, joy and love?
The way I read Lewis, he suggests that choosing heaven really requires us to be willing to let go of how we think things are and to try to see things as they really are — including what He and His life really are like. I think as engage in that process little by little, in letting go, losing ourselves in Him and His service, we only come to find out more about who we really are and find that we lose nothing, but gain light and joy, glimpses of eternity and God’s character. We can come to discern what traits are really godly and what may need some refining…or even abandoning.
I have no idea how individuality works in the next life, but I just have to believe that whatever God wants to give us (all that He has) will exceed anything we could imagine. THAT was the crux of Lewis’ book. He captured the love and glory of the next life in a way that I have never really felt before.]]>
Jesus said, “be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”. He didn’t say be perfect full stop. He said be perfect in the *way* your Father in heaven is perfect.]]>
In this idea there are a few things to understand.
He gave us life so that we could live and have joy. Considering He made this world and everyone in it, He has a better sense of what happiness is than we do. As someone who has more than a fair share of ire and rapier wit, I can honestly say that I won’t miss it when it’s gone. The happiness He offers is better than anything I have.
Also, keep in mind that anyone who isn’t will to live with an eye single to the glory of God (i.e. away from all that s/he knows and all that s/he is) won’t be seeing eternal life anyway. Immortality, sure. But not exaltation.
I guess we each have to ask ourselves what’s more important; eternal rest and happiness beyond our wildest imagination, or a couple of snide remarks that we mistake for a personality?
I think it’s safe to say that He knows us better than we know ourselves and if we’ll let Him guide us to that best and purest part of ourselves, we’ll thank Him for it some day.
To which I would also add that God does have a sense of humor. A perfect one, in fact. Remember Elder Wirthlin’s last talk? Only a God that loves to laugh would instruct us to seek out wholesome laughter.]]>