But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:44-48 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/mat.5.44-48.NET
God is perfect. No one argues that. He must be to be God. Or at least a good God. But men are not perfect, and no one argues against that either! The idea of being perfect seems impossible, yet God requires such from His people here. What does He mean by perfect? We think of tedious obedience to hundreds of laws. God explains here that perfect is loving people justly regardless of how just those people are to us. God loves everyone and does good to everyone. We get angry that the murderer, the thief, and the abuser seem to get away with their evil. God warns that all will face His judgment to determine their eternal destiny, whether heaven or hell, but He desires all men to reconcile with Him and to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and their neighbor as themselves. This is perfection. Loving God and loving our neighbor. Love for God is expressed by loving our neighbor. When we genuinely love others regardless of their love for us, we are perfect because we love people like God loves people. Most people reject and disobey God, yet He continues to love them, showing them mercy and kindness, patiently waiting for them to repent. So too, when we show kindness and mercy to others, patience and grace to those who wrong us, we live perfect lives like God, loving people until they love God and love others as they love themselves.