The following was originally posted by mistake on June 17th, 2016. It was scheduled for the incorrect date and this is why it is now being re-posted to the correct post date. Thank you for reading.
"Love your neighbor as yourself" - AKA the Golden Rule. This commandment is expressed a number of different ways, and in my tradition we first see this commandment in Leviticus 19:18.
This expression of the Golden Rule makes me wonder if our acceptance of violence on others is a result of the violence we accept on our own selves.
Many of my people believe that humans are sin sick souls that can do no good and are all hell bound. As a result we do all sorts of spiritual violence to ourselves in order to try to purify our souls.
Culture shames people for their body and we do all sorts of physical violence to our bodies in order to meet these unreal standards.
Pressures from all places show us how we are all not as smart or as wise as we need to be. We do all sorts of mental violence to our minds in order to try to put on the front that we are not idiots and are worthy.
When there is tragedy we are given a time period to grieve and then move on, but if we are not able to move on in that window then we begin to think there is something wrong with us. We commit all sorts of emotional violence to ourselves in order to try to "move on" and "be better" since it seems "everyone else has."
We beat ourselves up because we are often our own harshest critic. However, doing so much violence to our own selves results in accepting it and then assuming that a certain level of violence on others is also acceptable since we tolerate a certain level of self inflicted violence.
The point being that as long as we are continuing to tolerate self violence then we will continue to tolerate violence on others.
Among the last things that Jesus said to his disciples in the gospel of John (13:34) we read: "I (Jesus) give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."
Jesus loves without violence of any kind and this slight modification of the Golden Rule for me is more significant than just semantics. This modification of the Golden Rule moves the center of the love from the individual to Jesus the Christ. Rather than Love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus frames this rule as Love one another as I have loved you.
I wonder what it would look like if we stopped loving others as we love ourselves and love one another as Jesus the Christ loves.