It it is a much repeated and intuitively evident reality that “Nobody is perfect!” and we are all “just human”. We sometimes appeal to that reality as a justification for our rather-less-than-perfect actions and attitudes. Jesus, however, used that reality to motivate us to be perfect in our personal godliness.

In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus gives us the starting point to perfect godliness. If you would love to have a perfect godliness, start with this: Be as nice to everyone as you are to some.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)

How would you react to the car trying to cut in front of you if it was your pastor? How would you speak to the person on the other side of the phone-call if it was your mother working at the call centre? How would you respond to a sarcastic remark if your best childhood friend had said it instead of your grumpy spouse? How would you play a situation over in your mind if the imaginary other person was Jesus?

If you will be perfect, go and live your entire life with the same generous kindness, smile, and goodwill that you would employ for those you love so much. Be as nice to everyone as you are to some, and you will be a lot more like God in your thoughts and actions.