I have learned recently about the importance of “Emptiness” as a way of living the Kingdom of Heaven. I am currently reading the book “The Different Drum” by M. Scott Peck, the writer of the famous book “The Road Less Traveled”. Peck teaches that Emptiness is one of the steps that must be taken in order to experience true community, and community is necessary for peace. He writes “So it is that the moment we become empty something comes into our emptiness”. Also “the ultimate purpose of emptiness, then, is to make room. Room for what? Room for God”. I would say further that emptiness is getting rid of all the selfish habits, old ways of living, so that then we have room to be filled up with the new habits of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is exactly what Jesus meant when he commanded us to experience “self denial” and to follow the “narrow path” which leads to Salvation (living the Kingdom of Heaven). Jesus also called it “carrying the cross”, “lightning up our candles”, “being born again” and “being the salt of the earth”. All of these symbolize starting something new, even if it takes some sacrifice, some suffering, which is experienced by emptying first and then filling up with something different, something new. Jesus taught about “the new wine in new cups”, comparing this material example to our decision to get rid of the old selfish way of living and starting the New Life of the Kingdom of Heaven. We have to empty ourselves from everything that makes us selfish so that then we can fill up with the habit of serving others. He then talked to Nicodemus about “being born again”, which is another description of emptiness. I could go on and on about emptiness, because Jesus’ teachings are basically based on this theme. God wants us to start fresh, a new beginning, deny everything about ourselves that makes us “naturally selfish” and be more like Him.
Monthly Archives: May 2010
Once we meet someone and we like the person, we can “fall in love” with the person and base the interaction with the person on a romantic relationship. We all know, or I hope we all know, that being in a romantic relationship or “being in love” is simply living a fantasy, hoping that the other person remains the imagined ideal person we fell in love with. Of course, every relationship experience disappointments, which is the awakening to the realization that the other person had undesired qualities that were not seen during the romantic phase of the relationship. This happens to everyone. At this point, it is up each partner to make a commitment to maintian the relationship in spite of the disappointment, or move to separate ways, hoping to find their next “fantasized ideal partner” elsewhere, only to experiene the same cycle of disappointment all over again.
This is the same with our relationship with Jesus. Living the Gospel is erroneously perceived many times as a “romantic relationship” with Jesus. Not in a sexual nature, of course, but in the “fantasy nature” by perceiving Jesus as the “Savior” , “Best friend”, and “King”. Although these adjectives can be applied to Jesus in some way (not personal but indirectly), it does not apply to what Jesus actually taught us to do. Jesus made it very clear that we are supposed to “Love our neighbors as we love ourselves” which he identified as equal to “Loving God with all of our being”. This is the main message and number one commandment. Under these commandments ” is the Law based on”. And then he used His own behavior as primary examples of how to “love our neighbors”. So living a lifestyle where we adore and praise Jesus for saying nice things, and identifying Him as “our Lord and Savior” does little to manifest his True Message. I have quoted this before and I will quote it again, Jesus said “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation , but “he who does the will of my Father”.
Jesus did not command us to praise him with words and a “romantic relationship”, but to praise Him, adore Him, and Honor Him with our actions: Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves”. Love and Praise Jesus “In Spirit and Truth”. In John 3:19, right after Jesus spoke His most famous words (John 3:16) Jesus says something that reflects His true message evenmore: ” 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (selfish lifestyle), 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth (serve others) comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” Jesus made it clear that we must “live by the truth” of loving others as we love ourselves (through serving) in order to please God. Let us praise Jesus, not by lifting our hands alone, but by putting them into action.
I met Jesus the other day. He was staying in a mental health hospital, depressed and lonely. He was crying and feeling unworthy. I also met Him again today, as I was feeding Him lunch, because He cannot use His hands and is wheelchair bound. I have met Jesus in many situations. Not in a church, or in a supernatural experience. But in everyday life. This is what I have to learn in life: that Jesus can be found in every person that needs help. He can be any neighbor, friend, stranger, and even enemy who is needy and is giving me an opportunity to serve Him. He does not have to be friendly or likable, but simply needy. He can be male or female, black or white, child or elderly, friend or foe. Yes, this is what Jesus taught, that “If you visit the inmates, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the sick, we have done it to Him” Jesus regarded the needy as Himself. He loved them so much. It is the same way as a parent who perceives someone that hurts his or her child as hurting them personally. You hurt my child, you are hurting me. You help my child, you are helping me . Jesus perceived it the same way, and commanded us to do the same for those He loves: the needy. So, every time I meet someone in need, instead of thinking about myself by emphasizing on how inconvenient this person is to me, I rather think and be reminded about Jesus. If I ignore the needy ones, I am ignoring Jesus. I am looking forward to continuing to meet Jesus.