Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, February 21, 2011

CAN YOU BE PERFECT?

Jesus says, “Be ye perfect.”

He was giving an ethic of the Kingdom at the end of history, which he expected in his lifetime. He was a radical and not a practical man. He said this was the ethic of what it would be like in the kingdom of God. All would be perfect. We would love our enemies perfectly. Wars would cease. There would be endless forgiveness. There would be no hurting of each other. But he was wrong. The kingdom did not break in. And we see the ethic of Jesus and the Kingdom as goals toward we reach but never expect to achieve perfectly.

Sadly, there will always be war, prejudice and revenge. What do we strive for now? There will always be war. I will be against it anyway.

Jesus says, “Turn the other cheek. Don’t resist evil.” We will always resist evil. But I want to turn the other cheek and forgive. I will not do it perfectly but it is a goal toward which I strive.

We will always want to hurt. Christians strive not to.

Here is a non-violent response to 9/11. Danielle Gramm was at student at Harvard on 9/11. She was appalled that the U.S. went to a war of revenge. She founded a now world wide organization called “kids for peace global.”

A few years later her brother was murdered. Instead of revenge she deepened her commitment to non-violence as the way to respond.

Jesus says, “Love your enemies.”

Lawrence King was a 15-year-old schoolboy, call sissy. and faggot by the high school kids. Brandon McInerney also 15 wanted to get the other boys to beat up Larry. On Valentines Day 2008 Larry said to Brandon, “I love you.” Larry gave Brandon a valentine card. Brandon went home got a got a .22 caliber pistol, returned to school and shot Larry in the back killing him. Larry is dead. Brandon will spend the next fifty years of his young life in prison. Larry loved Brandon even though Brandon was his enemy.

Jesus says, “Forgive until 70 times seven.” Not once or twice. But endlessly. Forgiveness is never perfect. The ethic of the Kingdom is absolute forgiveness. Jesus calls for forgiveness without repentance or promises of good behavior. Perfect forgiveness is probably not going to happen in our lifetime.

Movie: The Kids are All Right with Annette Benning and Maryanne Moore is about two women partners. A sperm donor sired two children. One of the women had an affair with the man who donated the sperm. The women fought, came together, devastated. There was painful, slow tentative forgiveness. Imperfect forgiveness is really all that we can expect.

However we know that there is the perfect ideal. “Be ye perfect.” That is the radical ethic of Jesus. We live our lives with the grace of God in an imperfect yet wonderful world.

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