Let us check ourselves before we wreck ourselves

This message is to and for ALL of my friends, loved ones, neighbors, acquaintances, haters, and strangers alike regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, socio-economic status, religion, spiritual practice or whatever part of the spectrum of good or bad behavior you may believe you are on:

Bigotry, intolerance, and hatefulness reside on both sides of every fence. I profess to be a Christian, but at times it is a scary prospect and at others it is a shaming prospect, if I only consider what other humans do and say to and about each other in the name of Jesus and God. The thing that concerns me in this present time of ever increasing division and strife in the US and other nations, in this era of expanding economic division and downturn, and in the rush and desire to place the blame on the “other” is that Jesus left us with the directives to love God and love people and to leave judging up to God.

This is most clearly demonstrated when the religious leaders of the day brought the woman “caught in adultery” and tried to get Jesus to pass judgment on her then and there and offer her up for punishment according to Old Testament law.  In actuality, they were doing then what many do today, taking it out of context and applying only to one and not to all, because the actual Old Testament law would have had her male partner also brought up for judgment and punishment.  All sin is sin, and no one sin is greater than the other, regardless of our human oriented ranking system.

So, Jesus called them on it.  “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

One by one all the accusers slipped away until none were left.

Lesson 1) It doesn’t matter who you are, how high or low you are on the hierarchy, at some point in your life you have made or will make a choice, take an action, miss an opportunity or in some kind of way say or do something that is unloving and mean spirited that will be acted out in what is known and understood as sinful behavior. Unlike the human justice system that says we are to be tried by a jury of our peers, God’s justice system says, if we can’t do right in our own lives for our own selves then we don’t have the right to judge another.

What happened next?

“Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No,” was her reply.

“Then neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

She was caught in an act of sinful behavior, yet Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you.” He came to save and not condemn. He is the redeemer, the restorer, the bridge between humanity and divine.  Yes he gave her a directive to go and sin no more, but he didn’t attach it as a condition to whether or not he was going to condemn her.

Lesson 2) If Jesus isn’t going to condemn a person while they are alive and walking around on this earth and final judgment happens by God at the end of the earth, then NO ONE in the HERE and NOW is CONDEMNED.

New Testament biblical principles for holding one another accountable, in love, is for those who have chosen and decided to join in community with other believers “in Christ”. Going and making disciples of the nations and spreading the good news of Jesus’ restoration and reconciliation, does not happen by pointing fingers, placing blame, and seeking to defend our position to justify why we are right and “they” are wrong, why we are “saved” and “you” are cursed and damned.

Regardless of which side of the matter we fall on, which doctrine or theology we believe, returning spite for spite is the one thing that may have existed in Old Testament governance, but we were directed to leave up to God to avenge our injustices according to what Jesus taught and did.  If we call ourselves Christians and claim the name of Jesus, we need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves and continue to heap burning coals on our own heads.

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24 comments

  1. And that is what makes you a real Christian. You preach love and tolerance. I am not a Christian, although I do believe Jesus spoke to me once and told me that either we are all the sons and daughters of God, or none of us are. The closest I come to a real spiritual affiliation is Buddhism. And as a psuedo-Buddhist, I believe we are all one–all the living and dead, plants and animals, animate and inanimate. Or as John Lennon said, “I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together.”

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    1. Mary,
      I tend to agree with you. I keep stating that when that “end” comes, in whatever form it happens, each and every one of us is going to found out how wrong we were in our certainties and assumptions, beliefs and precepts. But, we’re also going to find out what is right and true, won’t that be fun?
      Be well,
      Kina

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  2. Hi Kina,

    Just a clarification with respect to your reference to “heaping coals on someone’s head” – I used to think it was “holy retribution” by acting lovingly toward someone who has hurt you.

    On my journey into grace, I discovered what it meant. At the time it was written, people would carry hot coals in vessals on their heads back to their homes when their fire had gone out.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “hurt people, hurt people”. They need to restart their fire because they are cold and probably “hungry”. It is a great love to absorb the hurt of another’s sin, cast it on Jesus, and repay evil with good, giving a needy person hot coals to restart the fire in their life.

    No one said love would be easy……but dispensing grace is so much more pleasant….even if only eventually….

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    1. Tom,
      Thank you for that clarification. Having that clarification actually makes my point. If we are to offer kindness in return for wickedness, and thus heaping coals on their head as a way of refilling their fire and thereby serving to provide for them what they can’t provide for themselves, in that moment, then by withholding the kindness and meeting hurt for hurt we are trying to keep those coals for ourselves and when we can’t see what we are doing, those coals aren’t staying in the vessel, they are coming down around our ears and causing us harm.

      I am intimately aware of hurting people hurting other people. It is a daily reality for me, if you choose to go back through and read my prior posts, especially the Home Time series, I think you would see that I am choosing and have chosen to be on the rocky path of walking in love and grace when others around me are not.

      Not that I do it well or perfectly and I certainly have a long way to go on my own personal journey into grace. insofar as I am battling resentments, frustrations and wounds inside of myself, because I am a stubborn and difficult soul.

      I have just reached a point where all the vitriol that exists in all forums of daily life seems to go unchecked and unanswered. I realize that my post may not affect grand and great changes in the world at large, but by me stating my position and letting the people I am in contact with where I stand, then they know where they can stand in relation to me.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate your efforts.

      Be well,
      Kina

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  3. So many people who call themselves Christians make me feel embarrassed. Horrible things have been done in the name of Religion. But those people weren’t really doing anything out of any desire to forward their religion. They were doing what THEY believed was correct and should be the only acceptable way of living.
    Love the post!

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      1. That’s interesting, and I hadn’t thought of anger in those terms. I’m not sure I agree (which is not to say I disagree; it’s just that not having occurred to me, I need to chew it over before I can have an opinion).

        I will say that I’ve always regarded anger (and here I don’t think either of us mean “getting angry”–I don’t think that the emotion is bad in and of itself any more than is fear or joy or pleasure) as similar to addiction in one way–I think it’s something of a sickness.
        And–and this lends itself to your point–if unchecked it grows.
        As to overcoming anger with rational thought–well, if you intend rational thought as meaning based strictly on empirical observation (as I think you do), then I wholeheartedly agree. But I do believe anger can be overcome with thought–an understanding of ourselves and our motivations.
        I will think more about anger as addiction. A provocative notion.

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        1. There is a physiological and neurological response that comes with anger. Anger is a secondary emotion, usually in response to some kind of fearful thought, whether it is fear of danger, fear of loss, or fear of some other thing happening.

          Just like there is a biochemical level that goes into defining most behaviors and substance use that are classified as addictions, The anger response can trigger a biochemical addiction or high as well.

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  4. Thanks for this beautiful post, Kina. I am grateful for voices like yours urging for less judging of others and more recognition that we all have our less than perfect moments. Bless you!

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  5. I’m not religious–far from it, in fact–but this post resonates with me just the same. So many people are quick to judge without knowing any back story (myself too, at times, I’ll admit). And often, they do so without even looking at themselves and realizing how hypocritical they’re being.

    I always find it interesting when very religious people are really hateful. They follow the teachings of a deity that teaches love and forgiveness, and yet they preach hatred and sometimes act on it. I actually find it hard to wrap my brain around most of the time.

    I like the use of the term “check yourself before you wreck yourself” here. Nicely done 🙂

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    1. Thanks. As someone who does have a faith belief system, I try to walk and not talk, a lot of the time. What gets to me though is that many of the biggest hearted, most rational, non-religious and liberal minded people have a knee jerk response and can turn into as vile and hateful as anything Westboro Baptist has done at the mere mention of Christianity, on the basis of a few “key” and “prominent” wolves cloaked in sheep’s clothing. I ranted on that here: https://humaninrecovery.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/too-stupid-to-understand-science-try-religion/

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Be well,
      Kina

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