One of the greatest teachings in the New Testament is the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. In that talk, he clarified the Ten Commandments and gave two new commandments: (1) put God before all things and (2) treat others as you would treat yourself. In elaborating or clarifying the Ten Commandments, he instructed us to love our enemies. This was in direct contradiction to Mosaic Law which allowed an eye for an eye. It was a revolutionary concept in the West, although it was centuries old in the East.
I used to be an ordained deacon in the Southern Baptist Church. The church I attended was a fundamentalist charismatic version, which meant that it taught the inerrancy of the Bible, i.e. “The Gospel Truth.” The older I get, the idiocracy of a literal interpretation of the Bible becomes unavoidable. Then I got it, the Bible was never meant to be taken literally, it is a metaphorical story of human nature. When we read about people slaughtering the innocents, or sacrificing babies, it is only a metaphor for the darkness that lives in us. We are capable of great acts of compassion and mercy, as well as great acts of darkness and pain.
Keeping this in mind, I got a whole new perspective on the words “Love your enemy.” What Jesus was talking about was loving yourself. How many of us spend hours upon hours beating ourselves up for the past and limiting our future? I have written many articles about the importance of loving ourselves in order to have a fulfilling and happy life. I wonder if Jesus ever regretted anything or beat himself up because he might have done something differently or “better.” I would guess not.
One of the aspects of enlightenment I notice among most enlightened or self-realized beings is that they do not regret the past. They accept life as a great learning experience and everything happens for us to help propel us to a greater understanding of why we are here and what role we play. Most of them tell of the importance of letting memories go, to not judge ourselves and to detach from the experience. It is the only way we can let accept all of our being and integrate it into the whole.
Furthermore, obviously Jesus understood the concept of unity consciousness, and the notion that we are all one. If we hate another, then we hate ourselves. Until we can heal this hate, there will be no peace in the world. I pray everyday that we can all find peace in our hearts and that our leaders will quit using violence and armed conflict as our first resort. When we look around the planet and see all of the armed conflict, if we study history we will find ourselves at the core of those conflicts. We have been arming terrorists for years, and now we are giving “aid” to all of the countries in the Middle East that they use to buy weapons or US Treasury Bills. We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction.
Why don’t we stop sending money? Why don’t we send food, teachers, shelters and other compassionate resources? When will we learn the error of our ways and start to make this world a peaceful planet? Only God and a few ultra wealthy people know the answer to those questions. It is not too late, it is never too late. Let us let go of the violence in our psyche and find peace in our own hearts. Then we can spread that light out into the world.