We, humans, function better when we set up limits. We can maintain peace and order only by creating a rigid set of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are called laws. And we need to enforce these laws.
For every infraction that breaks the laws, we create a consequence to punish the infraction. We have to set limits… otherwise there will be chaos in a lawless world. We need to enforce the laws by creating a set of punitive techniques to maintain as much order as possible. We need to be fair. We must practice nonmaleficence and benevolence.
We need to reward people according to their deeds. The more people contribute to society, the more rewards they should have. This is how we come up with the concept of morality. Whatever helps to promote more peace, harmony, and thus benevolence, it is agreed to be labeled as “moral” and “the right thing to do.” On the other hand, whatever contradicts what already has been agreed as that which helps the continuation of society’s growth, is labeled as “immoral” and “unlawful.” This is why we develop constitutions, laws, monarchies, governments, and regulations. To remind us of the “wrong” things we need to refrain from doing and to avoid punishment, and enhance society’s growth.
The more people disrupt peace and harmony, and thus affect the benefit of society, the more punishment they should receive. Someone has to pay for the “wrong” that is made. This is also why there exists jails, prisons, sanctions, etc. The laws reflect the wrong that we can perform. The rules limit what we can do because it remind us of our flaws. They tell us how corrupt and “evil” we can be if we are not careful.
This is also how we create the notion of human rights. We create the idea that individuals have rights that need to be protected. The right to free speech, the right to practice religion, the right to vote, the right to equal employment, the right to not be discriminated, etc. This is how we maintain equality. And we arduously protect these rights because it is the “right thing to do.” This is how we humans operate.
But I wonder…. is this the highest possible way we can live our lives? Is there a better way than to punish defiance and reward compliance?
I believe there is something higher than our human ways of functioning. There is a much different set of operation that surpasses our limited human understanding. This something is what many choose to call “Higher Power,” “Supreme Being”, or “God.”
God does not operate in the human way. I believe He functions in a much higher level. His ways are not our ways. God does not operate based on laws and rules; He operates based on grace. He is not about punishment but about forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. God does not protect the rights of individuals, but the benefit of the whole. God is not fair or fights for equality. He reflects unconditional love and giving. God does not manifest in prosperity and power, but in poverty and humility. God is not found in ambitions and abundance, but in emptiness and scarcity.
This is why we don’t understand God. This is why we often call God “unfair”, “mysterious”, “uncaring”, “distant”, and “evil.” Because of our limited human understanding of the need to set rules and regulations, we also tend to limit God within this concept and thus justify our human regulations by claiming that God also operates based on our laws and policies. God simply does not meet human standards.
But God does not operate like we do. He is much more higher. So different, that we cannot comprehend how can He ever forgive murderers, rapers, thieves, child molesters, and all kinds of criminals. So much higher than our standards, that we need to create religions, rituals, and the concept of “hell” to maintain control of each other through fear and try to explain how “evil” people receive what they deserve.
God is so much more advanced than all of human beings combined, that the simple teachings of “turn the other cheek”, “love your enemies”, “walk the extra mile”, and “pray for those who persecute you” are totally foreign to us humans and almost impossible to digest. Who can really forgive a murderer? What human being can willingly submit to an unfair authority? Who can reach the point of putting their own needs aside to help those who are less fortunate? Who can surrender their personal agendas to benefit others in need?
We simply cannot operate like God does. It is not natural. It is not human. It is rather irrational. Unfair. Supernatural.
Can we ever reflect the character of God? In other words, can we forgive the unforgivable? Can we love our enemies? Can we set aside our individual rights and work towards the benefit of others even if it is unfair? Can we serve others who do not deserve to be served? Can we have the grace that God has? Can we even compare ourselves to God with all of our flaws and limited intentions?
My answer would be a simple no. We cannot possibly operate like God does. We do not even deserve to be compared to God. We are too limited and flawed to even begin to act like God does. We would need something outside of ourselves to even start practicing the kind of grace that God uses. We cannot possibly forgive and have mercy in the magnitude that God does …
Not with our own strengths…..