Matthew 5:48 – Therefore, be perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:48 is one of the many radically empowering verses in the New Testament. There is no reason to take offense to this verse – unless a person is looking to their own strength and ability to walk in such love and generosity. Father commanded Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect, and He also commands us to do the same (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 5:48; Ephesians 5:1-2).
Specifically, our Heavenly Father has asked us to treat others just as He does. Many will say, “I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt; but once they have done me wrong, I will never trust them again.” Yet, this is not the way our God teaches us to walk. He is a God of mercy, not only forgiving, but extending His love and mercy to those who deny Him and even hate Him. Even His own children that have been purchased with the blood of Jesus and born of the Spirit constantly let Him down; but He remains loving and faithful, and forgives and restores us as soon as we ask. The command of our Heavenly Father is that we show mercy and love to those who hate us and want nothing to do with us, and that we forgive everyone that asks forgiveness of us (Luke 17:3-4; Leviticus 19:17; Habakkuk 4:2).
If we are going to properly represent our Father and be partners together with Him, then we must be willing to be merciful and forgiving just as He is. We are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who say and do terrible things to us. Look how Father treats such people. He blesses them with life, and causes His sun to shine upon them, and sends His rain to refresh them. We are commanded to bless and not curse, so that we can inherit the blessing (1 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:14; Matthew 5:44-45).
We are also to forgive from the heart just as our Father forgives (Matthew 18:22-35; Luke 6:37; Ephesians 4:32). Carrying a grudge or an accusation is evil and should never be allowed to reside in the heart of one of God’s children. In view of this, there should never be a single broken relationship among God’s people. There should never be fighting and fussing and evil speaking one against the other (Ephesians 4:31; Titus 3:2; James 3:9-10, 4:11; 1 Peter 2:1, 3:10; Leviticus 19:18). If we do become entangled in such evil practices, we must realize that we are behaving worse than the person who trespassed against us. If we expect Father to show us mercy and forgiveness, then we must be willing also to show the same mercy and forgiveness to those who trespass against us (Matthew 6:12-15, 18:35; Mark 11:25-26).
Pastor Mark Spitsbergen