I am a Chaplain at my church and each Sunday one of our Chaplains has the pleasure of being able to share what’s on our hearts for a few minutes, and each of us brings something special and meaningful to the service.
Recently, my topic was about how we need to honor and embrace the dark times that we may go through. It’s so important that we love ourselves through those dark periods just as much as we do through the good times. All of a sudden, tears started flowing freely down my cheeks as I spoke about how important it is to love not only others, but to love ourselves…unconditionally.
There are so many people going through the darkest of times in their personal lives. It could be because of an illness, financial or relationship issues, grieving over the loss of loved ones, a catastrophic event, or anything else that may happen to us. My heart became overflowing with love and empathy for those who are struggling just to get through each day.
I also thought of those who have to deal with hate and bigotry just because of their color, race, religion, sexual preference, or whatever. I read and hear stories of violence being committed towards others because of this and I could only think what are we coming to as a species that some have become so hateful?
We claim to be a Christian nation, and we claim that God is Love, but we sure aren’t seeing it much especially from so many pulpits or from many politicians. To some, in fact, Christianity as a whole is now being seen as a very hateful religion! When you hear some Christians speak, are they speaking of loving our fellow man? Or are they tearing people down and encouraging us to hurt others just because of our differences?
So many young gays and transgendered people (as well as young children!) are committing suicide because they have been so demonized, and some Christians and others celebrate their death! We also have news programs and radio hosts who propagate hate and bigotry and even encourage people to hurt others just because of a difference in beliefs, and they do so in the name of God and Christianity! This is NOT what Jesus or any other spiritual leader throughout time has taught!
There are those who are also trying to make Christianity the law of the land, but if any other religion tried to do this, it would cause an outrage! How about if we made Love the law of the land instead? Can you imagine?
I want to make it very clear that I am definitely not criticizing Christianity as a whole. There are many, many wonderful sincere Christians out there who do practice the teachings of Jesus which was unconditional love for all and caring for our brothers and sisters on this beautiful planet of ours. They want to live in peace and harmony with all people and they take very seriously the instructions of the Bible to love and not to judge. We just don’t hear too much from this side and it’s not their fault. Hate in the media sells. All religions have good and bad in them.
I am so grateful that I have friends who are gay, transgendered, Muslim, Hispanic, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, black, white, brown, and from all colors, races, and religions! I love the diversity of my friends and the many people I have had the absolute pleasure of meeting and getting to know! They’ve taught me so much! One of the biggest things they taught me was to not hold the actions of a few against the whole. If I had, I would have missed out on some of the most amazing relationships!
If our religions are not teaching love for all people, then what is the purpose of them? So many religions have gotten so far away from the teachings of their spiritual masters that they’ve pretty much become man-made religions. We need to get back to the teachings of these masters which was love, compassion, kindness, peace, and harmony for all regardless of any perceived differences!
There’s a great quote that says, “Buddha was not a Buddhist. Jesus was not a Christian. Muhammad was not a Muslim. They were teachers who taught love. Love was their religion.” This is so true. They all taught love and to harm no one.
We all search for God mostly through our religions, but Gandhi stated, “If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, don’t waste time looking for him further.”
Unconditional love really is the answer and I can’t say it enough. Namaste!
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper February 20, 2015.