In our religions there are two opposing points of views. I’m still trying to get a handle on this subject, but I wanted to share my thoughts so far.
My former religion, Christianity, tells us that we are all sinners. We are fallen. We need God. That God send His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.
There is a problem with this perspective. It is negative focus. If we tell ourselves we are sinners, and go through each day in this mindset, then we make ourselves to be what we say we are. Our focus is on sinning instead of the opposite, being free of sin. Not only that, when we look at others there is a tendency to judge. We think they are a sinner too, that we need to tell them about Jesus, that they need to be saved.
If there is anything we as humans should eradicate from existence it is our tendency to judge. This comparing of ourselves to each other or some ideal interferes, if it doesn’t completely block, our ability to accept ourselves and each other. Without judgment there would be no war!
On the other hand we have some “New Age” perspectives. We are perfect. Some even go so far as to tell us that we are God. Like imperfection this invites judgement and can filter or block acceptance. Worse if you are perfect you can do no wrong. There is no accountability, and plenty of room for delusion.
I believe both viewpoints are wrong. Both try to mold us, to group us, into some ideal that is not truly our nature. I don’t know about you, but I know that I have made many mistakes in my life. I’m pretty sure I can safely say, out of simple honesty, that I am not perfect. Nor am I God. But I’m also not some horrible, monstrous evil sinner in need of saving.
I think we should stop thinking in terms of whether or not we are perfect or imperfect. Stop judging, and simply accept ourselves as we are. Be honest with ourselves. If we do something wrong, touch a negative seed in another or ourselves, then we need to transform that negative into a positive. We need to make it right. If we are a Christian or some other sin-based religion, we should ask God forgiveness for the sin we have committed. But we should never look at ourselves as perfect, not in need of anything, or imperfect, and in need of saving.
Richard Rohr, in a recent email, brought to my mind an interesting question. Did Jesus really die on the cross for our sins? Or did He do this to show us that we need to die to ourselves? Our ideas of judging others and ourselves?
I’m not sure. But there are many ways to read and understand the Bible, assuming of course it is even true. I can tell you one thing. Jesus was not a Christian. He wasn’t a Muslim, a follower of Judaism, a Buddhist, a Yogi, or anything else. If we could put a label on Him we could call Him a non-conformist. If Jesus is to be my example, if I am to be like God, like His Son, then I think this is the path I will follow.
I will accept myself as I am, recognizing my flaws but not dwelling on them, recognizing what may be perfect in me when God created me but not dwelling on that either. I will not judge myself or others, I will leave that to God. I will take responsibility for my actions, if I commit a sin I will freely admit that to God. I will try to be God’s Hands here on earth wherever I can. Finally I will not conform. Jesus did not belong to any faith, so neither will I.
I choose to remain open-minded, non-judgmental, present and positive minded. This allows me to more effectively serve as God’s Hands, to touch the positive seeds in others and myself. It also allows me to be learn, grow and be who God made me. It frees me to access and use all the power that God has given me, and everyone else – power to change my life, the lives of others, and the world.