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Erase the Anxiety of Perfection

Perfection means something different to Christ than it does to us.

Does your heart rate jump when you hear the word perfection? If it does, you’re not alone. Many of us panic at Christ’s mandate to “be ye therefore perfect.” Being a good disciple of Christ already involves service and patience and love and sacrifice and generosity and—cue the panic. How can he expect perfection after asking so much of us already?

In her blog post “Perfection Is Our Potential, Not Our Present,” RM Jennings stresses two points. First, that Christ does not expect perfection in this life; and second, that our idea of perfection is not what Christ means when he says, “Be ye therefore perfect” (see Matthew 5:48).

A plate of pasta against a black background with a quote by R.M Jennings that says, "I don't think that God is concerned with how spotless my house it...or whether or not I knew how to make homemade pasta."

Photo by Heather Gill

We have an image of a perfect person: 

  • Fit
  • Successful
  • Pinterest-perfect home
  • Doesn’t wear pajamas to the grocery store

But Christ doesn’t care about worldly success or how clean your house is, according to Jennings. He cares about your happiness, the happiness of your family, and your eternal salvation. 

Christ’s image of  a perfect person is more mellow:

  • Takes care of themselves
  • Is patient with themselves
  • Loves those around them
  • Tries to be kind and repentant

Christ promises that we will become perfect in the eternities beyond this life, and that we will reach it by his grace. So we don’t have to feel anxious about the principle of perfection. Our heart rates don’t have to spike. All Christ wants is for us to be happy and to achieve eternal salvation. Then, as Jennings puts it, “One day we’ll be surprised and amazed to discover…how different our understanding of perfection is from what the Savior has taught us about perfection.”

RM Jennings presents more thoughts on Christ’s idea of perfection, which you can read in “Perfection is Our Potential, Not Our Present.”

Source: ChurchofJesusChrist.org Blog

—Anna Freeman, Latter-day Saint Insights

FEATURE IMAGE BY HARI NANDAKUMAR

Find more insights

Read Elder Russell M. Nelson’s words on perfection in this life and in the world to come in his General Conference address “Perfection Pending.”

Consider Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s explanation on how we can be at peace with the principle of perfection without living “undisciplined lives” or “dumbing down our standards” in his General Conference address “Be Ye Therefore PerfectEventually.” 

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