|The Bible: God's Love Letter To Us|
What is the difference between scrupulosity and a real, genuine relationship with God? Sometimes, I just don't know, and it can be very painful and frustrating. I really want to follow God, and more importantly, I want to please Him. I get confused though, especially when I read Bible verses, such as Matthew 5:48:
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." NIV
Now, I need to be very clear. No one would ever confuse me for a Bible scholar or a theologian. I don't read my Bible nearly as often as I should, so that may be the cause of my confusion. Maybe I'm just misinterpreting the Bible.
In any case, I struggle with verses like this. Perfection has been my enemy. At times, the pursuit of perfection has made me so very ill that I almost could not function at all. I truly do not know how to respond to Matthew 5:48. I want to do the right things in all circumstances. I also know it is impossible. I'm human, and I sin (behavior that offends and separates us from God).
I decided to look this verse up in the Matthew Henry Commentary. Henry explains this verse by stating:
"Which may be understood, 1. In general including all those things wherein we must be followers of God as dear children. Note, it is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press toward a perfection in grace and holiness, Phil. 3:12-14. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1 Pt. 1:15, 16. Or, 2. In this particular before mentioned, of doing good to our enemies; see Lu. 6:36. It is God's perfection to forgive injuries and to entertain strangers, and to do good to the evil and unthankful, and it will be ours to be like him. We that owe so much, that owe our all, to the divine bounty, ought to copy it out as well we can." Pg. 1635
The problem is that when I aim at and press toward a perfection, I don't know how to do it in a healthy, non-OCD way. Whenever I miss the mark, and I do all the time, I tend to be really cruel towards myself. Somehow, I get the feeling though, that is not the response God is looking for. I've written previously about my struggles with guilt. A bit of initial guilt, when I've done something wrong, is useful, but beyond that, it's just a hindrance to living the type of life I want to live for Him.
Because I just don't know what else to do, I've decided to focus on God's grace and forgiveness. I don't use this as a license to do whatever I want, but when I make mistakes, I've decided to believe that God does indeed forgive me, if I ask Him. Even at this moment, I wonder if I'm making a mistake writing this. I have a terrible fear of misleading people when it comes to a relationship with God. Maybe I'm saying the wrong things about the Bible right now. Nevertheless, I'm trusting that God's grace is sufficient to cover anything I might mess up.
You know, I wonder if that's why Matthew 5:48 is in the Bible. God knows we can never be perfect. Maybe He's just trying to remind us of that, and of the fact that His grace can overcome that too.