“Be Perfect!” – It’s Not What You Think

 You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Uh, what!? Have you heard that? Had it thrown in your face? What in the world does it mean?? Who can be perfect? And is that a reasonable goal?

No, it’s not. And it’s not what you think the verse means.

Perfect” in the original biblical language means “whole, complete, fully matured, ripe, lacking nothing.”

When you love your enemies (settle down about those you dislike or disapprove of, give them room to be), then you are acting as God does, you are fully matured and whole as God is. And that suits you because God is your creator! People who rest and stop trying to manipulate everyone into who they think they should be are acting as God does. That’s what Jesus is saying.

Perfect does NOT mean “without error.” Is it any wonder so many Christians are high-strung and exhausted? Is it any wonder that to try to keep up you feel as if you’re spinning your wheels? The more we try to be without error, the more we miss the entire point.

Being whole, being complete means to live as you were created to live. In the fullness of God’s love, grace and freedom for you. Just being. As you are. Full, complete, whole… perfect.

Can you breathe and rest in that? Whew… Do not strive for perfection — it’s a losing battle. Instead, be at peace.

Pink’s wonderful song, Perfect, expresses this beautifully. Listen to it (here’s the clean version), and read the lyrics (they are also below). Let it wash over you. Let it be God’s voice to you, inviting you into wholeness.


Wholeness fits you. Love suits you. Rest nurtures you.

It’s a beautiful gift.

“Perfect”  by Pink

Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that’s alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss, no way it’s all good
It didn’t slow me down
Mistaken, always second-guessing
Look, I’m still around…

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel, like you’re less than
less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel, like you’re nothing
You are perfect to me

You’re so mean when you talk about yourself
You are wrong
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead
So complicated
Look how big you’ll make it
Filled with so much hatred
Such a tired game
It’s enough
I’ve done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons
See you do the same

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel like you’re less than
less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing
You are perfect to me

The whole world stares while I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in lying and we tried tried tried
But we try too hard, it’s a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cuz they’re everywhere
They don’t like my jeans, they don’t get my hair
Strange ourselves and we do it all the time
Why do we do that?
Why do I do that?
Why do I do that?

Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel like you’re less than
less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing
You are perfect to me

[To read more from Susan Cottrell, visit www.FreedHearts.org]

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SUSAN COTTRELL is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: Mom, I’m Gay – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faithas well as How Not to Lose Your Teen and The Marriage Renovation. Through her nonprofit organization – FreedHearts.org – Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that “loving God and loving others” are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said.

She is the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin, and her “Mom, I’m Gay” book has been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign and others. Sharon Groves, PhD, HRC’s Religion & Faith Program Director says, “I often get asked by parents for resources that can address the struggles of raising LGBT sons and daughters without having to leave faith behind. Susan Cottrell’s book, Mom, I’m Gay, does just that. This is the kind of book that parents will love.”

She and her husband have been married more than 25 years and have five children – one of whom is in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at FreedHearts.org and here in IMPACT Magazine’s FreedHearts and Jesus Blog columns.