“Be perfect, therefore, as your God in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48

As I’ve been watching the Winter Olympics, I am reminded of a meme that went viral in recent years. The meme stated that for each Olympic event, one random person should be pulled from the crowd to compete, so that those of us at home have a better idea of just how talented these Olympic athletes are. I can’t help but chuckle at the thought of an “average Joe” attempting the snowboarding half-pipe alongside Japan’s Yuto Totsuka, or figure skating after the performance of Russia’s Kamila Valieva.

Whether they place first or last, there is no doubt that Olympic athletes are elite humans. Their strength and skill are incredible, but it is not only these physical attributes that land them in the Olympics. According to experts, mental strength and psychological control are almost just as important to their success. Olympians generally display high levels of passion, commitment, determination, and resilience. It is these mental skills which help them to bounce back from defeat and keep pushing themselves to be the best they can be.

While most of us “regular” people will never rank among the world’s most elite athletes, we can still work on our mental strength. In today’s scripture, Jesus calls all who follow him to love not only their neighbors, but also their enemies or their adversaries. To love those who love is simple, he says. But it takes real mental strength and resilience to love those who are against you, those who have harmed you. Yet as Christians, that is our call – to strive for perfection when it comes to love. Is there anything that God is calling you to let go of so that you might love better?

May this year’s Olympics remind us all to live out our faith with that level of passion, determination, and commitment.