The perfection we should be most mindful of is mercy.
Striving to be an exemplary parent at all costs
The perfection we should be most mindful of is mercy. It consists in possessing an infinitely forgiving heart that loves everyone beyond measure, including our worst enemies. But this also requires that we begin by accepting mercy toward ourselves. Jesus is not asking us to become saints, but sinners who feel the need to be healed and saved.
He did not come for “exemplary parents,” who impress everyone with their virtues, as perhaps we ourselves have been tempted to do at one point or another. For example, there is a very subtle and lethal way of showing our family how admirable, devoted and righteous we are for tolerating their numerous failings. “Perfect” caregivers are both unbearable and demoralizing. But, shouldn’t we all strive to be better parents? Certainly, but not at any cost and not on any condition. Our purpose in life is not to win a prize for excellence; but to grow in love of God and others and be saved. So, we must recognize our sins and joyfully accept our salvation.
If we wish to be exemplary, to prove to everyone, including ourselves, that we lead a righteous life, we risk forgetting about the mercy and the joy of salvation. We might perform many good deeds, but they won’t have anything to do with God. We will become as hard-hearted as the Pharisees in the New Testament.
The best parents are those who put their trust in the Lord
So let us rejoice that we are not “perfect”, that we need the mercy of God and of those around us. This does not mean that we should be content with our flaws, quite on the contrary. If we have truly accepted mercy, we will give the best of ourselves, not for the sake of impressing anyone, but simply out of love. If we rely on mercy, we won’t conceal our flaws, but humbly accept them and ask God, our spouse, and perhaps eventually our children, to forgive us.
The best parents are those who walk in the footsteps of Christ. They realize that they are flawed and rejoice in His mercy. They don’t beat their breasts to save the appearances or worry about “what people might say.” They do not disguise their failings, but place all their trust in the Lord, who has come to save “the lost” (Luke 19:10).
If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.
Here are some numbers:
- 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
- Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
- Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
- Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
- Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
- We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)
As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.
Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!