Following what Jesus Actually Said.

I read something this morning intended for women married to active alcoholics:

“They are not ‘bad boys’ who must be directed, disciplined or punished by us. They are sick, confused and guilt-ridden human beings with badly battered egos. God has given no one the right to humiliate another. In every one of His children there are qualities that should command our respect, and to withhold it is a wrong that will return to wound us.” (One Day at a Time)

I thought of a whole list of applications besides the one intended here. I thought about the way jails and prisons are set up. From being on the inside of a jail, I learned how effective respect is in gaining the cooperation of those who have to go there and how counterproductive are actions and words intended to discipline or punish. I have been in court rooms where the outcomes would have been totally different had those involved, including defendants, those who brought suit and judges and lawyers, had respect for one another.

I thought about raising children and how respect changes the parent-child interaction and smoothes the path to cooperation.

I thought about the way citizens approach their public officials and the way public officials approach those they serve. Even when a person is judged to be coming from the “wrong” position, “God has given no one the right to humiliate” that person.  We are all God’s children, even those who don’t know that they are.

For those who need the Bible to give reason to listen to my ideas, think about how Jesus threw out the law about “eye for an eye”. Instead, he recommends that we control the urge to return a hurtful action with another hurtful action. Then there is the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.” Don’t we all want respect? If we do, simple universal rule should lead us to our respecting others. He countered another belief: “You have heard that you should ‘Love your friends and hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

One of my biggest frustrations over the years has been people who claim that they are Christian but fail to follow the teachings of the person they say they are following.  I notice that they rarely quote Jesus himself.  I think they do that because they don’t want to draw attention between what they do and what Jesus said. I don’t know. Sometimes I wonder if they ever actually read the Bible. My frustration has broadened to people of other religions who do the same with their sacred scriptures. They pick and choose passages that justify their own thoughts and actions.

I don’t know what to do about these folks. I try to apply the principles I have suggested above by respecting them because they are God’s children. And I keep reading what Jesus said. I seem to see new ways to apply his words every day.

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