Monday, April 12, 2010

Matthew 22:37

The passage reads:
Jesus said unto him. Thou shalt love the Lord with all they heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
I am probably not known to be the most religious person around, but this passage came to my mind on Easter, as I thought about what Easter means. I wasn't at church, as you may expect, but on my way to Hooters for a few beers. I didn't want to take up space, so that all the C&E folks would have plenty of room. But, what does that passage mean? I grew up in the Church of Christ, so it was expected for you to read the Bible, and make your interpretation. No, intermediaries, like in other religions. So I says to myself, "Johnny, what do you think?" How can one keep this greatest of commandments? Can you just say, "Oh yea, I believe that." Or should one show demonstrable action. I felt that one should show action. How would you? The answer is there in verse 39. " And the second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. " What does it mean to love thy neighbor as thyself? Here is where my thoughts begin.
I think we are all inherently selfish. Some may disagree, but if you really look, what drives any action that you take. Whether it be helping someone, working hard, drinking beer, it doesn't matter. We pursue ends for our personal fulfillment. Someone may benefit, but in the end, we would not do a thing if we didn't benefit more, or at the very least we were indifferent as to whether or not someone else benefited. If God made man in his own image, and if God is a selfish God, then would it stand to reason, that this proposition is true? How would we keep the commandment in verse 39? Follow the golden rule. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Or to state the same rule in the negative, Do not do unto others the things that you would not want them to do to you. By this time, you may be asking, where the hell is this guy going? Good question. It is an a priori, self-evident truth, that we have free will. Whether or not it's God given is irrelevant. So, what could be more unjust, more unloving, more un-God like than to impose your will upon someone else? Or for a person to impose their will upon you? Could you agree that it is just for a person to make, influence, and or direct you to do a thing which is against your will? I would answer in the negative. So, in my mind, I think that to keep the golden rule and the commandments in verse 37 and 39 we must allow our neighbor, loved one, etc... To choose. To choose wrongly or rightly. To love one, is to allow them to fail or to succeed on their own merits. To love another, is to allow them the freedom to understand, to exercise their free will, regardless of how much sorrow or happiness it may bring us. What is a more beautiful feeling, to know that you have "saved" someone, or for them to come to you and say, "Hey, now I get it. I had to learn the hard way, but I understand now." The "teach a man to fish parable". The lesson I drew: To love God, allow your fellow man his freedom of action, his free will, as God has allowed you the same.