Wednesday, August 08, 2012

how many of us love our enemies?

The Christian tradition became so concerned with making Jesus into its God and making sure everybody believed that Jesus was God that it often ignored his very practical and clear teachings. (How many of us love our enemies?) Instead, we made the questions theological and metaphysical ones about the nature of God (which asked almost nothing of us!). Most of our church fights have been on that level, and no one ever really "wins,” so it goes on for centuries.

What Buddha made clear is that the questions are first of all psychological and personal and here and now. We created huge theories about how the world was saved by Jesus. I think what Jesus was primarily talking about was the human situation and describing liberation for us right now. Clearly the Kingdom of God is here and now, as Jesus said. However, we turned Jesus' message into a reward or punishment contest that would come later, instead of a transformational experience that was verifiable here and now by the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). For Jesus and for the Buddha both rewards and punishments are first of all inherent to the action and in this world. Goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment, and then we must leave the future to the mercy and love of God, instead of thinking we are the umpires and judges of who goes where, when, and how.

Richard Rohr

I have to stop and think that Love is not just a feeling. It is a behavior--a verb.

"…Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

(Matt 5:39-40, also see Luke 6:29-30)

And wasn't it nice of Paul to give us vengeful humans another reason to do good when he said:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.

(Romans 12:20, citing Proverbs 25:21-22)


Before you get too excited, it doesn't appear that "heaping burning coals" upon the heads of one's enemy is really about revenge. It is about waking them up. Among those who are truly seeking the divine--it will wake them up and cause them to feel remorse for their own bad behavior.

I get so sad when I see how badly we treat each other in the name of the divine. Truly.

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