How many of you reading this blog, think that everyone else reading this blog thinks, feels, and votes politically, the same way that you do? are probably in the same camp? are with you on your side? How many? Go ahead and raise your hands. Okay… 1… 2 … 5… 12…
Now step back – how many of any group of us believe that everyone else reading this blog – or in any group we belong to, church we go to, school we attend or organization we are involved with – believe the same way we do about politics, political parties and our elected officials? Of course the answer is “No one thinks that everyone believes, thinks, feels and VOTES – all of these – the same way we do. Similar – sometimes yes, but exactly the same? God, no.
The diversity of feelings, thoughts, beliefs about politics, political parties, and voting is truly, truly diverse, even among like-minded people.
Yet, we all gather together and attend our own church together. We all gather together and attend school, go to work, support organizations, and read this blog (well, maybe not gathered together to read the blog.) We all still gather together in our groups, and families, and jobs and etc. etc. Usually, we gather together, because we don’t talk politics and religion.
(Speaking politically about the different political parties, or different churches or different religions, I say, if you want to rant and rave, and rage against the political and religious machines, go ahead.)
It’s just that I’m reminded that Jesus never once spoke out against the Roman government or Roman officials, who were ruling the area. Jesus never spoke out against any government or government officials. Nor did he speak out against the Roman religion or the Samaritan religion or the Gentiles’ religions. Christ never spoke out against the established forces and religions of the day.
What Jesus called the Romans was “Brothers”, as in “We are all brothers and sisters.” Jesus had Roman followers. John the Baptist did the same – he called the Romans brothers and had many Romans, even soldiers, come to be baptized – and they stayed Roman soldiers afterwards. John’s instructions to the Romans were be honest with each other – don’t mistreat one another. Do your jobs with respect for others.
Jesus’ directive was “Follow Me.” And we follow someone by walking on the path they walk on. Jesus walked the path of Loving kindness. He walked the path of knowing everyone was His brother and sister. He walked the path of understanding, patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and mercy. He walked the path of helping one another. He walked the path of brotherhood.
Jesus never condemned, criticized or spoke out against anyone, …
except hypocrites and those that buried the people with religious condemnation “from above.”
Jesus never condemned other religions, but we do. Jesus never condemned other political affiliations, but we do. Christ never spoke out against anyone who was different or from a culture or group that was different from his own. He never spoke out against Gays, Lesbians, or Transgendered and they existed then. Jesus never condemned prostitutes, alcoholics, or any subgroup or subculture in society, but we do. Christ never condemned other ethnic groups, immigrants, “illegal aliens,” people from other nations….
but we do.
Jesus Christ never condemned any other group – except hypocrites – those that said one thing but lived another – those that easily condemned others with their message “if you’re not like me, you’re evil” or “wrong” or “condemned” or etc…., or “if you don’t live as I think you should, believing as I think you should, you’re WRONG!”… or “if you don’t live as I tell you to, you’re condemned in the eyes of God.” How many of us have heard these messages expressed? How many of us have been on the receiving end of these messages? (Have any of us said these messages?)
Jesus Christ opened His arms for everyone, every culture, every subculture, every group, every subgroup, every organization, every political party, every religion, every everything, saying ‘Follow me on this path of Love, Kindness, Understanding, Patience, Mercy, and Forgiveness.’ ‘Follow me on this path I walk of Charity, of Brotherhood, of Tolerance, of Compassion, or Cooperation, of Humbleness, and Long-Suffering.’ ‘Follow me on this path I walk of knowing and seeing everyone being equal and deserving of God’s Infinite Love in the Infinite Eyes of God, and of everyone being brothers and sisters – children to Our Creator Father/Mother God – the God of all and the source of all Love, all Compassion, all Mercy, all Patience, all Forgiveness, all Acceptance and all Kindness.’
Jesus opened His arms for everyone that wants Love, Kindness, Mercy, Forgiveness, Tolerance, etc, and He still does. His only request is that we then share these things with each other, ….
and, I guess, patience and long-suffering with those that do speak “condemnation” (which I will admit absolutely takes God’s help to do, sometimes.)
“No one speaking judgement and condemnation, speaks for God. No one speaking punishment and retribution, speaks for God. The one speaking love, forgiveness, understanding, kindness, brotherhood, patience and mercy – this one speaks for God.” (The Rainbow Cards, ©, 1999-2015, Jodie Senkyrik)
Jodie, you bring up an important point here.
I have read in Ancient Chinese/Taoist/Buddhist scriptures that Sages do not criticize. Instead, they quietly accentuate the positive by showing everyone (through their own diligent and modest example) of what they should strive to reform and improve into.
For instance, in the Treatise on Response and Retribution (Kan Ying Pien), it states that:
“He (the Virtuous person) does not bring public attention to the faults, weaknesses or scandals of another person, and nor does he boast of his own virtues”
Thus, Sages don’t try to cut people down by ostracizing and nor do they create arrogant partisan exclusivity, they simply accentuate the positive, admonish generally out of kind concern and lead by modest example. Just like Jesus did.
Moreover, an Ancient Chinese saying also mentions that:
“Everyone has their own mind, and in each of those minds are different opinions, feelings and views.”
So we need to be mindful of this, especially as the Infinite Life Sutra states that:
“When interacting with others, we must know that even a small disagreement now may escalate into a mass of enmity in the lives to come. Thus, we should be cautious. Those who antagonize and humiliate others will eventually be reborn together with their victims and suffer their vengeance.”
Thus, there really is no reward for contention.
Lastly, I will like to recommend the biographic documentary of Ven. Master Hai Xian (1901-2013) of Henan, China. He cultivated Amitabha Pureland Buddhism his whole life through the tumultuous 20th century (i.e. Chinese civil war, WWII, cultural revolution….) and was the epitome of humility, modesty and unwavering virtue and diligence. Quietly bearing hardships and never contending, criticizing or breaching any precept. In fact, his success in cultivation could be seen by his excellent health, for all the way up to the eve of his Pure Land rebirth (on the wee hours of Jan 17 2013), he was still plowing the temple fields despite being 113 years old!
I recommend everyone to watch this documentary (English subtitles):
Thank You for the comment.
Matt, You’re Welcome
Thank you, Jodie! I whole heartily agree.