Loving “Nonperfectly” to Love Perfectly: The Moral Energy That Arises from Paradox

The two-fold commandment, defined as a principle in this paper, that Christians love God and one another is foundational to the Christian faith. The announcement of this principle is immediately followed in the gospel of Matthew by what I define to be a methodological admonition to be perfect in the accomplishment of this principle and, by implication, all others. The successful application of this principle is demanded by Jesus Christ, affirmed by his disciples, and practiced by all those who affirm the discipline of the Christian. This paper assumes that principles, such as this one, establish the basis for productive moral response. From this strong Principlist assumption, the purpose of this paper—activating perfect love—will be developed with four linked propositions: first, the accomplishment of moral change is potentiated with an increase in moral tension; second, the greater the increase in moral tension, the greater the activation of sufficient energy to facilitate moral change; third, paradox optimizes the tension required for moral change; and fourth, moral tension activates potential moral energy that is available for use to power moral change. By understanding a principlist design and methodological technique of Jesus and later Christians, one can assess a significant source of power for moral change available to the Christian even if that power is rejected by most as incomprehensible.

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