81. Giving and forgiving means reproducing in our lives some small measure of God’s perfection, which gives and forgives superabundantly. For this reason, in the Gospel of Luke we do not hear the words, “Be perfect” (Mt 5:48), but rather, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you” (6:36-38).
An exact imitation of God isn’t ever possible. God’s mercy, however, is something to which any believer can aspire. In our lives, we will have opportunity after opportunity to demonstrate God’s mercy. Miss this one? Then pick up the next.
Not that I would ever slam mental orthodoxy, but the Gospels seem clear enough: orthopraxis, especially in the case of mercy, seems called for. The path to eternal life?
Luke then adds something not to be overlooked: “The measure you give will be the measure you get back” (6:38). The yardstick we use for understanding and forgiving others will measure the forgiveness we receive. The yardstick we use for giving will measure what we receive. We should never forget this.