Friday, July 11, 2014

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

“‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invited you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)

I don’t know how much clearer Jesus and other writers in the Bible could have made it.  And yet, we’re still not getting it.  What Jesus is saying is that he appears as each being on this planet and when we treat others bad, then we’re treating Jesus the same. 

It makes me really sad when I see so many various religious leaders and politicians doing so much harm to so many people all in the name of God.  We were commanded to love each other.  Jesus even made it a new commandment over all other commandments when he said, “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35)  Could he have made it any clearer?   Yet people instead pick verses out of the Bible that propagate hate and separation over Jesus’ greatest command of all.

It’s so easy to see people as less than or to make them outcasts or demonize them because that gives us an excuse not to love them.  We do it to the gays, undocumented immigrants, Muslims, the poor, homeless, sick, uninsured, anyone who doesn’t believe the way we do, and countless others.  We buy into what the religious and political leaders say because we think they know more than we do, that they’re smarter, or that they must have some special ties to God that we don’t have.  And yet in 1 John 4:7-8, it says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 

I have a picture on Facebook that shows the face of Jesus in the Universe looking down on the earth, a tear gently falling down his cheek, and with the caption, “What part of loving one another do you not understand?”

We are to learn to love others….unconditionally.  That doesn’t mean we condone the behavior when they harm others, and yet what’s ironic is that we’re condoning this very behavior from the leaders who are doing so much harm with their words and actions!  We still have to be accountable for our actions.  But it’s sad that so many leaders are teaching such hate, bigotry, and ignorance and so many blindly believe whatever they say.

Jesus and all the other great spiritual masters taught unconditional love and that we should be coming together in peace and harmony.  Yet there are so many who are working really hard to separate us, including some news stations and talk show hosts.  They teach us to focus on our differences rather than what we have in common.  They denigrate individuals or groups of people in order to keep those separations in place so that they can get the masses to agree with their own personal beliefs. 

Please don’t misunderstand.  There are many wonderful religious leaders and politicians who do get it, who really care, and know that if we want peace, we have to first learn to love.  They’re trying, but the media only focuses on the negative so we don’t hear about them. 

Buddha said “Radiate boundless love towards the entire world above, below, and across unhindered without ill will, without enmity.”  The Dalai Lama stated, “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”  And even Mother Teresa stated, “Spread love everywhere you go.  Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

We have our work cut out for us, friends.  There are many of us who are trying to focus on love and what’s good in the world.  We’re getting there.  As Aesop stated so well, “United we stand.  Divided we fall.”  Namaste`

Printed in the Cookeville Herald Citizen July 11, 2014.

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