the perfection that is love

If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. [Matthew 5:46-48 NLT]

I think that it is interesting that Jesus speaks of perfection in the context of love. Consider how John the apostle speaks to us about the nature of divine love in his first letter.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.
Perfect love expels fear. This sort of love is motivated by a sense of being loved. Paul also writes of love in chapter thirteen of his first letter to the Corinthians. Here is how he describes love.
  • patient: the older I get the more I realize the profoundness of patience.
  • kind: being kind when we are offended can be so challenging.
  • humble: pride is self focused and seems to be the enemy of everything loving.
  • forgiving: letting go of offenses may be the most divine thing we can do.
  • just: we are like God when we rejoice whenever the truth wins out.
  • hopeful: it is easy to lose hope when we forget that we are loved.
  • enduring: keeping faith in hard times reveals our love for God.
We are perfect, as our heavenly father is perfect, when we live, and love, in this manner.

Lead me Lord. That I might be complete in the way that I love.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

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