“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, love your enemies…Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus points to the heart of what Israel’s law and prophecies teach about love. There is to be no boundary between us and the beneficiaries of our love. Who are they? Everyone. And there is a barrier between us and the targets of our vengeance. Who are they? No one.
This would strike me as abstract idealistic nonsense, if I didn’t remember that when Jesus spoke these words he had enemies in mind; the oppressive Roman Empire and the religious rulers who, considering him a threat, wanted to kill him. Thus, Jesus, acknowledging the concrete socio-political particularity of his day, by these words, advocated no naïve do-goodism.
Taking Jesus at his word, even, especially when I am wronged, I am called to render unconditional benevolence to everyone, while restraining my desire to avenge myself and refraining from my tendency to comfort myself by calling my vengeance justice.
Does this mean I never voice an objection? No. Does this mean I never advocate war? No. It does mean that I seek perfection. Not in the Greek philosophical sense of absolute moral goodness or rectitude untainted by involvement in the material world. That’s impossible. But rather, in light of the Hebrew word, tamim, meaning wholeness or completeness, striving for perfection points to a larger context, a greater concern than my individual interest. To search for perfection is to serve the purposes, to embrace, embody in thought and action the best interests of the whole creation, all of humankind.
Is this perfection difficult to discern? Yes! Even when discerned, is it hard to do? Doubtless. Yet nothing is simple or easy when grappling with the ambiguities and relativities of life in this world. Nevertheless, this, I believe, is the call for any one – whether individual, family, community, yea even nation. This is the meaning of independence from (perhaps always) our greatest overlord, our selfish self-interest, be it personal, familial, communal, or national.
 Matthew 5.43-44a, 48 (my emphasis)