“You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)
My dad is 82 years old today. I think about my dad a lot. As he gets older and as his birthday approaches, I think about him even more. When I think back over the years, I remember the various stages of what I thought about my dad. They’re probably not much different than most of our thoughts concerning our fathers. When I was little, I looked at him with such reverence, he couldn’t do anything wrong. I just took in every word he said. But, as I grew and became more independent in my teenage and early adulthood years, though I loved and respected him, I wasn’t always as eager for the advice he had to offer. As I’ve aged, now having children of my own, I realize how often his advice was right.
“You therefore must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” The central theme of this passage in Matthew is not about how to be a good father, but on emphasizing the perfection of our Heavenly Father. The Greek translation for the word “perfect” means to mature. In the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7), Jesus taught about the high standards in which Christians are to live. Though it’s unattainable in this life, we are to pursue perfection. God’s standard is His own perfect character. Well, the truth is, my father can’t meet that perfect standard. Nor can I or any other father, we never will. That fact, however, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be our hearts desire. But at best, earthly fathers are but a dim reflection of our Heavenly Father.
I know I have a great father who loves me. I’ve always known that I can count on Him for anything, but like we all do, I have an imperfect father because all earthly fathers are destined to be just that, imperfect. I know the mistakes he made along the way, he made loving me. I’ve made plenty of my own. God’s Word teaches that in our pursuit of Him, we will always fall short. Thankfully, our Heavenly Father never does. He’s the perfect Father who never fails and because He loves us, He gave His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. It’s our Heavenly Father who should be our role model. As your Heavenly Father has dealt so graciously with you, honor Him and extend that same grace to your imperfect earthly father. Thank him for what he has done for you, but also forgive him for what he has failed to do. That will bring glory to the Father who loves you the most, the Father who awaits you in heaven.
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for my earthly father. Thank you for the wisdom you gave him in raising me. Though imperfect, he loves me. Father, in the ways that he may have failed, I forgive him. We all have failed. You are the one perfect Father and we adore you. Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me to show the grace you have shown me, and by the power of your Holy Spirit, give me a desire to be perfect before you. Amen!