Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Can Any of Us Become Perfect?

My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Matthew 5 and Luke 6 and a lesson titled “Blessed Are Ye.” The lesson was introduced with the following paragraph: 

By this point in His ministry, it was clear that Jesus’s teachings would be unlike what the people of His time were used to hearing. The poor will receive the kingdom of God? The meek will inherit the earth? Blessed are the persecuted? The scribes and Pharisees were not teaching such things. And yet those who truly understood God’s law recognized truth in the Savior’s words. “An eye for an eye” and “hate thine enemy” were lesser laws (Matthew 5:38, 43). But Jesus Christ had come to teach a higher law (see 3 Nephi 15:2-10), designed to help us one day become “perfect, even as [our] Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  

As with most scripture blocks, there are several principles found in scriptures for this week. In fact, these chapters contain a famous presentation known as “The Sermon on the Mount,” which has a multitude of lessons in it. The principle that I wish to discuss tonight is found in the last verse of Matthew: “Does Heavenly Father really expect me to be perfect?” (Matthew 5:48).

Many of us, myself included, drive ourselves crazy trying to be perfect – the perfect spouse, the perfect parent, the perfect friend, or the perfect employee. It is impossible for us to become perfect in this life! However, we can become perfect in some ways. I am perfect at flossing my teeth every single day. I am perfect at paying a full tithing. I am perfect at living the law of chastity. However, there are many areas where I am not perfect and will not be perfect until a long time after I pass from this earth.

I studied the talk from which the following quote was taken and found it to be helpful to me to be less demanding of myself and of others. President Russell M. Nelson taught the following about the term perfect.

“The term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means ‘complete.’ … The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means ‘to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.’ Please note that the word does not imply ‘freedom from error’; it implies ‘achieving a distant objective.’ …

“… The Lord taught, ‘Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now … ; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected’ [Doctrine and Covenants 67:13].

“We need not be dismayed if our earnest efforts toward perfection now seem so arduous and endless. Perfection is pending. It can come in full only after the Resurrection and only through the Lord. It awaits all who love him and keep his commandments” (“Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86, 88).

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