Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Perfection versus Morality

I had the privilege of listening to a discussion about Perfection, Wholeness and Morality today. I didn't contribute I just let the words soak in and then mulled them over during my evening run.

Matthew 5:48 says:

"Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect"

Or does it?

The word translated as perfect is the word Telios which can be better translated as Whole or Complete.

I think telios leads to morality, but morality does not always lead to telios. The church's definition of morality has changed a great deal over the centuries. We would consider a man who owns slaves as immoral, but that has not always been the church's view. As a child I knew Christians who considered going to the movies as immoral. We may laugh at their position now, but it makes me question what actions that we consider immoral now will be viewed as acceptable in the future.

There were times in my life when I was very concerned with pursuing morality. Anything immoral in my life was rejected. Locked away in a corner of my psyche and not touched for fear that it would contaminate the good.

By rejecting those parts of myself I lost the ability to be telios. The shadow side of myself can teach me many valuable lessons, but I have to be willing to embrace the immoral part and bring it into the light and listen. It took me time to realize that acknowledging and accepting the parts of myself that I labeled immoral was different from giving myself a license to act upon them.

By accepting that there are parts of my life that I would label immoral it allows me to speak to them and listen to them. They have become warning lights on the dashboard of my life. When I discover one is flashing, it is an indicator to stop, look deeper and examine what is going on in my life.

Morality is just a pale reflection of the beauty that is Wholeness.

1 comment:

JWebb said...

poignant . . . perceptive . . . beautifully said, Peter. You've articulated a perspective so counter to common understanding that I'm afraid many will find it difficult to embrace. Until a person experiences this reality deeply, it's very hard to comprehend.