Getting It All Together

missing piece“Therefore, you shall be complete just like your Father in heaven is complete.” –Matthew 5:48

Is there something missing in your life?  What Jesus seems to be saying to his followers is that we can be whole.   Some Bible translations use the word ‘perfect’ instead of ‘complete’ but that completely misses Christ’s intention.  (Be perfect!?!)  What a horrible way to translate a perfectly good word.  The Greek word means completion or wholeness.  It gives the sense of having all of the pieces in place.  There is no way that Jesus calls us to be perfect!  He is human.  He knows what we go through.  How can we be perfect when it is so easy to spill milk or stub a toe?

Yet Jesus wants those people who climb the mountain with him to be complete, not flawless.  What does that mean?  Being complete, or whole, means that we have integrity.  We are whole when we are able to integrate all that we think, feel, and act together.   To use the great psychologist, Carl Rogers, phrase, Jesus wants us to have ‘congruence’ so that our actions match our beliefs, and vice versa.  “Congruence,” explains Rogers, “Is . . . an accurate matching of experiencing and awareness.”  It is ensuring that all of our inner desires and thoughts go along with our life experiences.  A baby has congruence.  It is perhaps the only time in our lives when our emotions match our actions.  We smile, giggle, and coo when we are content.  A baby cannot hide her or his feelings very well.

Another way to explain Jesus’ imperative is to remember the flight instructor in the movie, Top Gun.  Do you remember when he says, “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash”?  I am not completely sure what he means by this funny phrase but I am pretty sure that it means to have integrity or congruence.  It is being complete.  It is doing what we believe.  It is not sounding like Isaac and feeling like Esau, to use an Old Testament reference.  Being complete is putting it all together.  It is believing, acting, speaking, and feeling all the same thing.

Jesus explains that we are complete when we love.  To be a follower of Christ, up the mountain, we can be whole, just like the Father, when we affirm the importance of others.  It is one thing to say we want to be a Christian.  But unless we act like Dad, and love, then we are missing a very important piece.


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