“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Get this and you get the whole Gospel and it changes your life. Fail to get it and the Gospel goes in one ear and out the other and your life is stuck in a repetitious cycle. The key is understanding the word perfect. Seeing it to mean that we are flawless both condemns us (to continuous failure and second-ratedness), and lets us off the hook (there’s no point in striving for the impossible). Perfection means not that we have not failed or won’t do so again but that we know what wholeness, integrity and completeness mean. There is a big, humbling gap here, of course, that is bridged by the other element of the Gospel teaching, which is forgiveness. When we think of it like this, forgiveness obviously has to begin with forgiving ourselves.
—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB