YOU ARE MORE THAN YOU THINK OR CAN KNOW
By Rev. Dr. Arthur Chang
Journeying successfully through life involves innumerable mental forks in the road where we must make good choices to keep on our desired path. For instance, we learn we must be confident but not egotistical; be responsible but not think selfishly. We must not imitate although learning involves a good deal of imitation. Although some people are smarter than others, we have learned being smarter does not guarantee goodness.
While most spiritual teachings urge humility, some affirm we are no less than God’s image. Further, this awesome God of the universe makes His home in our souls. The poetics of spiritual teachings are often reduced to prose. It is then read and debated and is ultimately understood as, “Here it is in black and white. End of story!”
Whatever mental identity we assume for the face we present to the world, it will be tentative as we attempt to adjust to the context of each occasion. In some measure, it may be impossible to be right for all occasions. Many people share, for example, the opinion that we must love unconditionally because that is how God loves us. Yet, is the Judaic/Christian God, as portrayed by the Hebrew Bible, not judgmental?
Genesis 6:5-10 says,
5The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Although the Hebrew, Christian and Moslem God are one, each religion’s opinion about God differ.
In his teachings, Jesus said in Matthew 6:1-5,
1Do not judge, or you will be judged. 2For with the same judgment you pronounce, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? 5You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Jesus seems to be saying, “Do not criticize others hypocritically when you have greater faults in yourself to be corrected which are not.”
John 7:24 quotes Jesus as saying,
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
On the issue of judgment, the Koran says,
Every soul will be rewarded according to its merit.
As is evident, the influential immutable God, “the Unmoved Mover,” which we inherited from the Greeks, also plays a vital part in our understanding. It seems, without some effort to disentangle some of the many different strands of meaning woven in our ideas about the Sacred and about the role of judgment, many of us may be pretending to know much more than we do.
Yet, the amazing depth of our potential to think does match the task of sorting through the complexities of living a spiritual life. We are far more than we can think.