when the perfect comes…

by Pastor Mark Jordan

“but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.” (1 Corinthians 13:10, RSV)

This week we have looked at what it means to love our neighbor as we love self. 42313850-BE27-4A7D-8E8D-855AFEAF4155From loving with our words, beliefs, and actions, to learning to love like God loves, we have the call and challenge to treat others as we want to be treated. It all comes down to our motivation to love God with all we have and are, and to love our neighbor as we love self…to do the right thing for the right reason. Love!

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, believed in the perfection of love, and taught that this was something that could actually be achieved in one’s lifetime. This is the essence of pure motive and intention to love God and others completely. You might balk at that idea and say that no one but Jesus was perfect —and you would be in good company, because of the criticism Wesley received for his belief — but the concept is rooted in a teaching of Jesus himself: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48, NIV). A pure motive to love doesn’t mean you will live mistake free, but it does mean that your intention is to love in all ways and all things. The Apostle Peter referenced this himself when he wrote that love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Today’s verse, which Apostle Paul’s famous chapter on love, sums up these ideas. When Paul wrote that the imperfect disappears when perfection comes, he was speaking about a complete commitment to love. When we learn to love God and neighbor as we love self — and allow that to drive our motives and intentions — then even our mistakes and missteps become opportunities to show kindness and mercy. This is what truly makes perfect love the greatest of all (1 Corinthians 13:13)!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your perfect love that comes and causes all of my imperfections to pass away. Forgive me for the times I doubt this possibility, because of my own shortcomings. Help me to find the complete perfection of love that comes when I love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love my neighbor as I love myself. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.