In Christ’s time, the faith of Israel, as it was practiced, had become corrupt. He stated that He was not sent to overthrow the law, but to put it back in its rightful place. His greatest ire would be directed at the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the scribes who dominated worship of the faithful in the temple. After all it was they who were leading the sheep astray.
Why do so many Christians today not question the authority of their religious institutions or even the written testament of Christ’s life and teachings? It’s as if God would ensure the integrity of the faith despite apparently, before Christ’s time, neglecting to do the same for Judaism.
History teaches us that early Christians shared an attribute that made them unpopular in the ancient world – complete and utter pacifism. The Roman Emperor Constantine was a warrior and a conqueror. He was instrumental in forming a unified Church – the universal Church we now call Catholic. During the papacy of Sylvester I, the first churches were built and first Masses recited, 300 years after the resurrection.
This Catholic orthodoxy remains the foundation of Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy and most other faiths ascribed as Christian. Since the time of Constantine and the Council of Nicaea, Christianity has most obviously become more and more a tool for those who use violence to attain their worldly ends.
Indeed an outsider religion scorned by other faiths had gone “mainstream” under Constantine. It seems that Christianity may have changed more than its followers and in a real sense a religion of slaves became an institution for slaveholders.
This degradation into an acceptance of violence is among the striking aspects of the change we can see in Christianity – if for no other reason than pacifism was among its most distinguished and notable credos.
The Christ we see in the written gospels appears purely a man of peace. Could it be that His message and life were so pure of any sort of aggression that this is an attribute that simply can’t be turned on its head or truly obscured in any effective way?
So this Christ of our gospels told us that if we are struck on one cheek, to then turn the other cheek so we can be struck there as well. He also told us if asked for our cloak, to offer our coat as well.
Is this just crazy or maybe something reserved only for Christ and His closest followers? Does Christ actually expect us all to act this way? Have you ever considered this?
How do you feel about that? What does your heart (forget your head for a moment) tell you about that?
Look around you and see. Hatred breeds.
It’s like the complaints of “reverse racism” we hear in the white community of America today. This is some sort of racism that whites perceive that they experience from people of color.
Forget for a moment what you’ve heard or seen about this issue. Hatred breeds. Sure, we are asked to go down the racist road and forget that it is those with the wealth and the power who are the masters of the oldest games in the book such as Sun Tzu’s classic: “divide and conquer”.
So one side hates and then the other side hates. One side ravages and then the other side ravages. What’s happening and where does it stop?
Christ knows this doesn’t work. He told us it doesn’t work and look around you. It doesn’t work.
Remember, this is the teacher who told us that although we had heard to love our neighbors, we were to love our enemies!
Is this more outrageousness… or actually something all Christians are expected to aspire to?
This is what works – it’s a little secret knowledge although it is something that should never have been secret and should never have been held up as a secret. Yet this mystery seems so obvious from His teachings even if we are so very distance from the time and place of His mission on Earth.
When one does what Christ says and gives love when hatred is received it is exactly like a mirror. The person projecting hatred feels it come back to them three-fold. You have just given that person something…something that they refuse to give themselves. This is Love.
Simple, but very critical this is. It is powerful and it is highly effective. Look around you. Hatred doesn’t work and it simply breeds more hatred. Give that same person hatred. You won’t win even if you’re otherwise in the right or at your best and you may even think you’ve won, but the war isn’t one battle and if you’ve believed that it is then you certainly haven’t thoroughly studied Sun Tzu after all…much less Christ.
The one who is projecting hatred and violence is self-loathing and reveals this in his or her projections. This feeds the self-loathing as one realizes this truth on some very real level or another and can finally reflect that they are most fundamentally acting in a self-destructive manner through their aggression, hatred and violence.
Love conquers all in the end as this is God. We are being had – every single one of us in this society. Never forget that either. We are being conned and only a very few of us recognize this.
No one said this was the easy route. No one told early Christians it would be easy. There have been plenty of martyrs. There has been much blood and tears and toil all for peace and justice. It is not expeditious, but it is the only way to bliss and to joy.
In the end this isn’t some system of arbitrary good and evil or right and wrong. There are good feelings and there are bad feelings and bad feelings generate bad feelings and good feelings make for more good feelings. This is also Karma or “you reap what you sow”.
You are what you project.
Brothers and sisters, be at peace and give your love freely. While the enemy will plant violence in your ranks to justify the violence brought upon you, don’t do their dirty work for them.
Choose violence and we all lose. This is their craft and their means, not ours. The Devil always wins his own game. Of course, it’s rigged. When one truly surrenders to God and becomes His perfect tool, a shield, well then the Devil will always run and hide.
Love will win this war against war. The first battle is the one between your heart and your mind. Do what you feel. Make it love – not hate.