Some of those you teach may feel that they do not measure up when it comes to living the Savior’s teachings. What does Elder Holland teach that can comfort and encourage those who might feel this way? You could invite Relief Society or quorum members to look for something in this message that they might share with someone who is struggling to feel that they are “good enough.” Or they could find something in the message that inspires them to feel “greater love and admiration for [Christ] and a greater desire to be like Him.”
Feeling good enough
My brothers and sisters, except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call “toxic perfectionism.”
What does the command to be perfect actually mean?
Perfect – ‘This word commonly means “finished, complete, pure, holy.” ‘ (Barnes Notes on the Bible)
‘The Savior’s declaration to be perfect even as Father in Heaven is perfect would have reminded his Jewish audience of familiar concepts from the Old Testament. The most obvious example was Noah, described in Genesis as “a just man and perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). The Hebrew word translated as “perfect” is tamim and means, among other things, “whole, sound, healthful” and “having integrity.” The Septuagint—the Greek translation of the Old Testament—uses the word teleios (the same word used in Matthew 5:48) to mean perfect in the sense of “complete” and “entire.” Neither the Hebrew word nor the Greek word carries the connotation that Noah had somehow achieved a state of flawlessness. Certainly the example of Noah’s drunkenness would argue against that interpretation (see Genesis 9:20–21). (Be Ye Therefore Perfect – The Elusive Quest for Perfection, Frank F Judd Jr)
woman to become perfect on this earth. It is written “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matt. 5:48 Again, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2 This is perfectly consistent to the person who understands what perfection really is.
in heaven is. He cannot be any more perfect than He knows how, any more than we. When we are doing as well as we know how in the sphere and station which we occupy here, we are justified in the justice, righteousness, mercy, and judgment that go before the Lord of heaven and earth. Ps. 89:14 We are as justified as the angels who are before the throne of God. The sin that will cleave to all the posterity of Adam and Eve is, that they have not done as well as they knew how. James 4:17. (Brigham Young December 1853, Journal of Discourses)
A greater love and admiration for Christ
I testify of that grand destiny, made available to us by the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself continued “from grace to grace” until in His immortality. He received a perfect fulness of celestial glory. I testify that in this and every hour He is, with nail-scarred hands, extending to us that same grace, holding on to us and encouraging us, refusing to let us go until we are safely home in the embrace of Heavenly Parents.
D&C 93:13 And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from agrace to grace, until he received a fulness;
‘This is so helpful, especially in view of how the Father and the Son have encouraged us, afresh, to become more like them by developing the requisite qualities in our lives. (See Matt. 5:48 3 Ne. 12:48 3 Ne. 27:27 What Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount about striving for this grand goal was said in earnest. Moreover, having been advised that we are to become childlike, we are firmly told of the specific attributes needed. (See Matt. 18:3 Mosiah 3:19 Alma 7:23 Alma 13:28) (Neal A Maxwell, General Conference, April 1986)
A greater desire to be like Him
Brothers and sisters, every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human. May we refuse to let our own mortal follies, and the inevitable shortcomings of even the best men and women around us, make us cynical about the truths of the gospel, the truthfulness of the Church, our hope for our future, or the possibility of godliness. If we persevere, then somewhere in eternity our refinement will be finished and complete—which is the New Testament meaning of perfection.
See Perfection Pending by Russell M Nelson