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Dave Brisbin

Rising Sun Falling Rain

Most of us realize we’re imperfect. Some of us are even willing to admit it.

When Jesus tells us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect, some of us are immediately off trying to follow every rule…perfectly. Some give up after a while, and others don’t even try. But if we’re going to take Jesus seriously, how can we be imperfect and perfect at the same time?

Right before he tells us to be perfect, he tells us to love our enemies, because our Father causes the sun to rise and rain to fall on those who are good or not, righteous or not. In the way of the poet, Jesus doesn’t spell it out—layering image on image to bring us to an inevitable conclusion. The way the Father is perfect is that he causes the sun to rise and rain to fall on everyone because they are here breathing and for no other reason. Before we can be imperfect and perfect at the same time, we need to learn to love and hate at the same time.

Seems the hardest thing to do in life is to love what we don’t like, what we hate. Scripture gives us a clue: love our neighbor as ourselves. How do we love ourselves? We don’t generally feel any affection for ourselves, may not even like ourselves, but we feed ourselves and clothe ourselves, shelter, educate, entertain ourselves. When we can see our neighbor as ourselves, a fellow fragile human, even with no loving feeling, loving as we love ourselves becomes possible. But is our enemy our neighbor? Jesus answered with the story of the good Samaritan—whoever is in our path is our neighbor, even if our enemy at the same time. To love and hate at the same time is to see the deeper connection that makes us all the same.

The Father’s perfection is to see us all as one, as those on whom sun rises and rain falls. His perfection is an indiscriminate love, unaware of boundaries or borders, and any moment in which we lose ourselves in a connection so deep our learned boundaries fall away, is a perfect moment. Imperfect people having perfect moments, able to love what we don’t understand or even like. In the moment we can love and hate at the same time, we are imperfectly perfect as well.

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