Always striving for excellence is a great thing. But demanding perfection in all things is not only hard on our mental health, but it can also break or abort a romantic relationship.
Sometimes there are passages in the Bible that seem to contradict each other. In Matthew 5:48 (NIV), Jesus said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Then in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) the apostle Paul reports what God said to him: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”. Should we be weak or perfect? The answer: both!
When Jesus speaks of perfection, He is speaking here of acting with the perfect love of God. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45 NIV). To be perfect is to act as our Heavenly Father does. For this, we must have a good relationship with God, so that He inspires us how to act in all circumstances. So yes, we must aim at all times to act and react like God, therefore perfectly.
We will point out here that perfection in the eyes of God is not the same as perfection by world standards! In fact, when we follow the ways of God, we pass for fools in the eyes of the world. If we are firm in our Christian convictions, we will pass for an intolerant person before non-Christians who accept all the sins of the flesh done by their fellow man. A pro-life candidate will always have more opposition and criticism than a candidate that is liberal in their values. A construction worker who wants to declare all his income will be considered weak in front of his colleagues. So we must not seek to be perfect in the eyes of the world, but only in the eyes of God.
But God knows that we live in a temple of flesh and that we will miss the mark. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1 NIV). So, yes God wants to see us make the necessary sacrifices to follow His perfect path, but He has already provided help for our misconduct. Our weaknesses sometimes lead us to trials, but it is these trials that refine us because we are then forced to turn to God to be saved. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV). By turning to the One who holds all the solutions in His hands, we learn to listen to Him more. And it is when we follow His path, His word, that we make the right decisions and make fewer mistakes. “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8 NIV).
Therefore we seek to be at our best in all circumstances, but we must not hide our need for help and our dependence on God. We need this balance to have compassion for ourselves, but also for others. When a person demands perfection towards themselves, they also demand it from others, and it is one of the worst poisons for a relationship. Many singles stay single because there is never someone perfect enough for them. A misstep in their behavior and done! Fired! To be perfect like God means to be able to forgive like God. It is to be ready to help others in their weaknesses and to ask for help in our weakness. So don’t look for a perfect partner: look for a partner whose weaknesses are your strengths and vice versa. Then you will be an effective duo to build the Kingdom of God.