“I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
“Do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn and you will not be condemned, pardon and you will be pardoned.”
“For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The more I speak with non-believers or God haters I’m astounded by how little they know about what Jesus taught or how far they will go to forget what he said. Their argument that religion “poisons everything” is thin when you read the words above from Jesus. What part of “love your neighbor as yourself” is toxic to the world? How could, pray for your enemies, don’t condemn others and give freely, be considered venomous? I suggest that if more people practiced these teachings we would have less of the problems in the world for which the haters blame God. And yet by hating God and denying his blueprint for life they inevitably create the world around them in which they don’t want to live and blame God for it rather than themselves. An alcoholic can’t blame his sponsor for the DUI he received.
When the instructions above are spoken and taught by Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa you would not hear people saying, “I hate MLK!” or “Mother Teresa’s teachings are responsible for evil in the world.” No, they are honored or at the least respected and no one hated them for what they taught.
If we agree that love, forgiveness and selflessness are good attributes then why the rancor for Jesus? I can’t answer this. I hear “Crusades” mentioned every now and then. “Pain” and “suffering” are thrown around a bit but I don’t recall Jesus dishing out too much of that while he was on the earth. On the contrary he healed people of blindness, paralyses and even brought his buddy Lazarus back to life. Some say religion causes all the wars but Jesus instructed his disciples not to resist the guards arresting him because as he told Peter, those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
Regardless of whether Jesus is the son of God or whether his miracles are truly historic, still why are his teachings rejected? G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and find wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.” I submit this is why so many reject Christ’s divinity, his teachings and even his historical existence, because they can’t endure the shame of stumbling on the path on which Jesus wanted Christians to travel.
Alice Cooper once said, “Trashing a hotel room is easy, getting drunk is easy, being a Christian, that’s true rebellion.” Resisting the lusts of this world whether they be sex, alcohol, money, lies, slander, whatever it is that so easily holds you in bondage, is more difficult than Jesus’ way. As many struggle each day with their addictions and shortcomings they learn that stumbling short of Jesus’ expectations for them is one more fall they can’t handle. Dismissing God’s rules or even God himself and declaring oneself a “good person” is far easier than bending a knee and asking God’s forgiveness for falling in the traps we incorrectly accuse God of setting.
Jesus loves you. He knew long before your grandparents were born that you would fall short of the sinless life he lead. This is why he submitted to dying on the cross for you which I suggest was much harder for him than asking for his forgiveness is for us. God’s path is more difficult but don’t think no reward is waiting for you at the finish line.
The next time you are tempted to reject Jesus and therefore his teachings of love, compassion, selflessness and peace, ask yourself this question:
Does no evidence truly exist for the existence of Jesus, the empty tomb and his resurrection? Does no evidence really exist for a creator? Before blurting out “no” I encourage you to watch one or two of these videos with an open mind and an open heart. The speakers in all three of these videos were once staunch atheists until they were challenged to examine the evidence. God bless!