What we call the "Golden Rule"
Is what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37,
When he was asked which law was the greatest.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
And with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest Commandment.
And the second is like unto it,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
On these two Commandments
Hang all the Law and the Prophets."
If there are but two laws
That are the basis for all laws,
Those two must be given all seriousness.
We should understand them,
Not dismiss them as simplicity.
If we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves,
That means... it is permissable to love ourselves!
That means... it is not vanity to love ourselves!
That means... it is good and right to love ourselves!
How else can we understand how to love another...?
We know what it feels like to be human
From our own personal experience of it.
As human beings we know
How we might wish to be talked to...
And how we might wish to be treated by others.
We wish to be respected
And to be allowed a sense of dignity.
We know that force is alien to our intellect,
And we seek to understand for ourselves...
And to reason for ourselves.
Science now tells us that a healthy person
Cares about the well-being and upkeep of himself.
It is healthy to have a respect for ourselves...
For our bodies and for our feelings.
We attend to our physical aches and ills
And consider them a warning
Of something wrong with our health,
And to not attend to them is unwise.
Likewise, we no longer nullify or suppress our feelings,
But we try to understand them...
Understand the wholeness of them...
Where they came from...
What to do with them.
It is also understood
That self-destruction is un-healthy.
It is not healthy to want to harm ourselves,
Or punish ourselves, or kill ourselves.
Those feelings arise when we are overwhelmed,
Or feel useless,
Or when we have lost our sense of human dignity.
Yet often, we are tragically aware
Of something wrong... somewhere...
And want very much to cure it...
But... just don't know how.
Punishing ourselves does not cure us...
Suffering cures nothing.
Light does not come through suffering.
If this were so we surely would have long ago
Had much light in the world.
Self-punishment is praised in some circles
As a sort of a cure for a problemed life...
Or for the refinement of the soul, as it were...
After all, pure submission even to pain
Is nevertheless a relief...
It is real... when reality confuses us...
It requires no bothersome understanding...
Especially if we believe that the truth,
Or whatever the problem is... is bad.
Yet, the perpetuation of this ritual
Gives weight to those who wish to numb their anguish...
Or their strong desires and urges...
By harming themselves and even killing themselves...
By thinking that the punishment of the body
Is a valid self-disciplinary practice.
In Isaiah 58:6, we read,
"Is not this the fast that I have chosen?
To loose the bands of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
And to let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry,
And that you bring the poor
That are cast out to your house?
When you see the naked, that you cover him;
And that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?"
The nullification of the "self"
Is akin to this same suffering ideal.
When the "self" of a human being
Is regarded as unimportant
Or thought to be the part of a human that is sinful...
Even though authority keeps their own "self"...
It establishes a premise for abuse...
The kind of abuse that allows no hope of complaint
As it is supposedly endorsed by scripture.
In Matthew 15:9, it is written,
"But in vain they do worship Me,
Teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
The "self" and "selfishness" are oftentimes
Ascribed as one and the same...
However... selfishness is an act wherein another "self"
Is not respected or given account.
Desiring respect for one's "self," as a human being,
Could hardly be wrong if it is mutually expressed.
Saying that selfishness is a wrong thing,
Doesn't make sense if it is spoken
By another who himself is acting selfishly or unmindfully...
No matter who it is that is saying it...
Or to whom it is being said.
To cure selfishness by nullifying our "self" is bad science.
Selfishness is cured by practicing respect for others...
Not by abandoning ourselves.
If we nullify our "self"
We become nothing but robots
Forever to follow someone else...
Always having to be told what to do.
It deprives us of our uniqueness and our intellect.
It deprives us of the maturing
Of our own truly felt feelings.
It is doctrine of untruth...
Because it forces us to be someone
Or something that we are not.
Rather than learning to understand humanity
And the beauty of our uniquenesses,
Mankind devised an idol...
One either fit the dimensions of that idol...
Or one was disposable... or to be punished.
How can light enter a fortress of absolutes...?
Such idols allow nothing else to exist.
If what is different and unique is nullified
Wouldn't all life be void of beauty and truth...?
Isn't the sanctity of humanity
Actually... in our wonderful uniquenesses...?
Why have we become so fearful of life...?
Isn't that a sign that mankind has not matured...?
That we can neither understand nor deal
Loving only ourselves... only what we are?
Eradicating "selfs" is a practice of abuse...
After all, what is the harm in abusing a robot...
A misbehaving robot...?
And... what is lost if a robot dies...?
There are plenty more to replace it.
Being destructive of ourselves
And being destructive of others
Is part of the same kind of insanity.
Why would we need to nullify anyone else...?
Or to degrade anyone else...?
Unless something was out of balance in ourselves...?
And what is judgment...?
But seeking to make less of someone...
Or finding one's own superiority
In the inferiority of another...
Or finding reasons why another
Is of no account and worthy of nullification...?
Punishment and judgment
Are false idols of destruction,
And many are its ministers.
Who can know all that has gone into
The life of a human being...?
That has taken the beauty out of them...?
Or that has taken their dignity...?
So that they appear quite awful indeed...?
Who can understand the heart of another person...?
Gaze at the nakedness of their confusion or blindness...?
After all, misbehavior is a symptom of confusion...
And... sometimes... it is a symptom of shame.
The premise of punishment
Is that civil order and law exist
Only by the power of force...
Or that the human soul is cured by suffering,
Even to the removal of an errant body part.
This idol of punishment
Assumes no responsibility otherwise over its inhabitants...
But is only the final arbitor
In the game of "the survival of the fittest."
Judgment and punishment
Have no regard for any underlying forces
Of injustice and cruelty
That breed criminality with their poisons.
Punishment is... blaming a bad fruit for itself
Rather than tending to the health of the tree.
Tending to the tree...
Creating a healthy society...
Takes more work and requires a diligent intelligence
That is only acquired with patience and understanding.
If the tree is truly healthy,
All rise with it in the light of its truths...
All flourish under its branches.
If a tree is healthy,
Who would be its enemy...?
Who would wish to destroy the giver of life...?
We surely must see...
That aberrations within life
Are only a sign of something gone awry...
Gone awry in life.
In Luke 6:41, it is written,
"How will you say to your brother,
'Let me pull out the mote out of your eye',
And behold, a beam is in your own.
First cast out the beam out of your own eye,
And then you will see clearly
To cast out the mote out of your brother's eye."
We hear it said, "You must earn respect",
But it may be more true that... as human beings,
We are entitled to respect and to dignity
By the simple virtue of being born.
Every one of us comes into the world the same way,
And every one of us is stuck here.
It makes more sense to respect someone
Who has had to struggle in his life... even to bad ends...
Than it does to respect someone
Who has never worried for his own life
Or how he is to survive.
And yet, we all have struggles...
Just in different ways.
It only makes sense, then,
To always respect one another...
Whether we think they meet our standards for respect or not.
"Honor" is different than "dignity".
Honor marks distinction of worthiness
Rather than basic dignity
Which is bestowed as a birthright.
Honor notes wisdom.
Respect... is the seeking of reason between living beings.
To deny respect to anyone is the same as nullifying them.
It is unnatural in all of this earth's creatures
To not heed or respect another,
And it is considered as a threat.
We too, are damaged and distorted
When we are not given respect.
Nullification by disrespect is a kind of murder...
And grows in the same garden as murder...
The concepts are the same.
The worst criminals convicted of the worst crimes
Are still living as human beings,
Whatever their sort of insanity may be.
We have the duty to protect ourselves from criminals,
And to protect criminals from each other,
But we do not have the right
To remove their humanity
By denying them their dignity.
We become as base as any criminal when we do.
We may even justify their criminality when we do...
When we demonstrate how even "righteous" men are cruel...
That one just needs the right excuse
In order to violate another human being.
The crime itself then, is no longer the issue...
The issue becomes having the right excuse
For committing the crime.
As civilized human beings,
Our regard for each other's humanity
Must be sure and clear, and not given to excuses.
We must master with reasoning
What we wish to prove by our laws.
If we violate each others' humanity
We are no better than dogs
With the biggest dog in charge.
As righteous men we must define
With all surety our regard for life...
For surely we can see that...
Spiritual sickness in a society
Begets again those who are spiritually sick.
The most innocent of children, at any age, are still human.
They are not "stupid" or "sinful."
They don't deserve to be degraded
Nor to be beaten into submission.
They are a reflection
Of what little they have learned in life.
Children are merely dancing
To the tune that has been sung to them.
They need to trust and to be trusted.
A shepherd's staff is not used
To beat the lambs and the sheep...
It is used to draw them up
And to encourage them along...
And to protect them.
We must believe in our own humanity.
We must believe that when we have dignity we rise,
And when we are denied dignity we fall.
Dignity... respect for human intellect...
Allowing each a respect for their manhood and womanhood...
Will prevent more imbalance...
Will heal more hearts...
Than any concept of rendering judgment
Or pointing out wrongdoing.
It is more predictable that human beings
Will portray an undignified existence
After the loss of their dignity,
Than the hope is to correct such an existence
By confirming their unworthiness to have such dignity.
To be your brother's keeper...
Surely includes preserving his dignity.
Those that we see walking our streets
Would not be there unless they had lost
Their hold on their own dignity... and their own lives.
Why would we assume that it is a fault in them...
And not a fault in the structure of society...?
Dignity is an integral part of our human nature...
Necessary for our health.
We thrive when our lives have purpose and meaning.
It is not laziness that we are seeing... it is suffering.
Judgment of others is falsehood.
We cannot possibly understand
What has caused the loss of heart in others...
Nor understand how their lives
Are masking their suffering.
And once we embark on a path of judgment
It becomes never-ending...
Like children arguing...
Saying "he did this" and "he did that"
Back and forth at each other.
Our personal sense of survival
Will always fog what is to be condemned or exalted.
We seem always to be sure that we are right...
Meaning that the other will be wrong.
The end of the path of a mentality of judgment
Is lack of life and is immobility of life.
It carves in stone that which is not stone.
It is untruth.
We are not the total sum of our mistakes...
More often... we grieve about them.
Judgment is the denial of life itself...
For in life, each day is new...
Each experience is change...
An attitude of judgment is death to the human spirit.
An attitude of constant forgiveness
Is life to the human spirit.
For in the end... after all our efforts...
It is the power of truth that will reign in our souls...
Not punishment from other equally fallible minds...
Not judgment, as a stick that pokes from one person to another...
Truth rules from the inner dignity
Of one's own humanity.
Life... springs... from... within.
Is not pushing down from the top,
It is pushing up from the bottom.