Just would would Jesus say or do?
In response to Steve Bartholomew’s July 18 letter to the editor, “Liberals v. Conservative Perspective,” I agree with his observation and those of others recently, both syndicated and local that “... these two groups can look at exactly the same facts and arrive at entirely different opinions ... that the division between them is a canyon.”
Whether the subject is abortion, guns, immigration, LGBTQ, education, law enforcement, the FBI, CIA, “fake news,” the armed forces, climate change and so on. Liberals and conservatives tend to hold opposite points of view. Even different Christian sects take differing sides on the above issues.The cause of these differing points of view no doubt stems from the difference in what we hold important and how we see the world. People tend to believe in what they value.
The differing point of view among liberals and conservatives applies also to the way these two groups interpret the words of Jesus. Take for example these statements attributed to Jesus. “Love ye one another as I have loved you; whatsoever ye do to the least of these, my brethren, ye do to me; come unto me and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden light; love your neighbor as you love yourself; love your enemies; do good to them who persecute you; feed my sheep; judge not, lest ye be judged; forgive [others] 70 times 7; whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye reap; he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches us that the “good” person is the one who shows mercy, who comes to the aid of a person in distress; do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Jesus is asking us to love others with an unconditional love, not only our family members, but all people. He advises us not to judge, but to forgive, endlessly, and warns us about the law of cause and effect — what goes around, comes around.
These teachings are sobering and frightening. How in the world are we to be able to love in such a way? Without discrimination? Without discernment? And who among us is without sin? Who are my sheep that I should feed them? Should I show mercy to a rapist, a murderer, a child abuser? These are hard teachings!
He does give a comfort, however, when he invites us all to turn to him for succor. He will comfort and encourage in our times of stress and confusion. Still, it is a hard law to follow. He is asking us to be like him when we are mere mortals. I guess he means we should try to be like him, knowing we will fail, turn to him in our failure and try again and again.
Or, we could just reinterpret Jesus’ words. We could put our own spin on them and make them easier to follow. The choice is ours. I contend that whatever values we bring to understanding politics will be the same values we bring to understanding the teachings of Jesus.