Matthew 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets”
Matthew 22:39(b) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”
Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”
What is the point of the teachings of Jesus – what is the core message – what is the ‘good news’? This is a central point I contend with on a daily basis in blogs – trying to get to the key points of Jesus’ message and their meaning. With this blog I plan to point out what I see as key in the ideas of the gospels.
I have put 3 quotes that seem to be very key to the message Jesus is teaching in the gospels – your relations with the ‘other’. In each quote there is a verb: (a) treat (b) love (c) judge – and how this relates to our relationships in life. Each time the idea is to safeguard those relationships and to ensure the best for both parties involved. For me, this is the ‘good news’ – God cares and now wants His children to care about one another – this is godliness (acting like God).
In your acts there is also a return effect – what you put out there will also come back to you. If you love, then someone will love you also. If you treat someone unkindly – they will also return that. This is also the same idea in the judgment passage – and trying to mitigate how we use our perspective on life towards another. The key being – you will get back what you put in – and God is asking us to care about each other (not really that hard a task) – and it also has benefits for us (ie: friends).
For some, the key message of Jesus is the salvation message – confess, accept, and be baptized – and this is what is the most important thing and needs to be focused on above all. I have found this focus on ritual later leads to more focus on ritual – until one gets bogged down in religious ritual they start losing sight of their compassion for humanity – which is the central theme of the gospels. I say ‘fine’ if this what we want to promote – I just see the writing on the wall – I don’t make anyone abide by it.
But it is in this we see the basis of the problem with what some deem ‘true Christianity’ and ‘churchianity’…it’s literally a battle of the focuses one puts into their faith – people vs. structure. But don’t be fooled – there is no dual message – the church actually upholds both (not in equal weight) but with the mass focus on recruitment – they lose out on retention – and we ain’t playing business here – we are dealing with human emotions and lives – and people get seriously burned. We also see a loss of community in this focus and a shift to a very ritual looking message versus something that resembles a humanity crying out (ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI – Matt 27:46). I think we lose the realness of the faith when the focus is shifted from ‘treat one another…’ to ‘be saved and join the church’.