“If you live according to my teaching, you really are my disciples; then you’ll know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8: 32
The best thing we can do these days is to turn to the teachings of Christ Jesus and seek to follow our savior. We need to seek first the ways of God and then everything else will fall into place in our lives. Even if we get led astray by lies, we will not go wrong if we cling to what Christ has revealed to us about the ways of God. Of course, it is better if we also learn to discern when we are being told lies. Just because something is repeated many times does not make that something true. We are to test the spirits, see the fruits, and do our best to discern what is true.
Here are just a few of the prescriptions of Christ that you will find in our Christian scriptures. (If you are a newbie when it comes to scriptures, start with the Gospel of Mark, the first Gospel written, and get the basics, then go from there). These prescriptions are easy to find, but I am not going to give chapter and verse. I want to be plainspoken about this and put things in my voice.
Here is a simple list, but there is so much more:
Let your light shine for all to see. Let your goodness shine. Who are the blessed and happy ones in God’s eyes? The poor, the sorrowing, those who hunger and thirst for holiness, those who show mercy, the single hearted, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted, those who are insulted for God’s sake. Do not be surprised if doing things in God’s way seems foolish to other people. (start with the Beatitudes)
You are not to grow angry toward other people, or use abusive language toward them, or hold anyone in contempt. It is okay to feel angry. Feeling angry is neither right nor wrong, but we are not to let our anger grow. We are not to channel the energy of anger into violence, either physical or mental. Road rage is not of God. Domestic violence is not of God. Rushing to war is not of God. Torture is not of God. (Desecrating a Capital Building is not of God). Any kind of abuse is not of God.
Do not do to others what you would not have done to yourself. This prescription sums up how we are to relate to others. This is a way of life that could change the world immediately. Do unto others what you would have done to yourself.
Go first to be reconciled with people and then go to Church. Lose no time to make it up with your opponents. It is more important to seek reconciliation than to go to Church.
Do not look lustfully on other people, as if they are simply objects for your lust. People are always subjects, not objects in the way we relate to them. We are not to use other people. We are not to use other people sexually, we are not to use or exploit other people to get ahead, we are not to use other people to make ourselves feel good, and we are not to use other people as “cannon fodder.”
You should not have to swear an oath in order to be trusted in what you say. Be truthful at all times, saying “yes” when you mean yes, and “no” when you mean no. Be an honest person. We are not to be deceitful and “tricky” in any way. In other words, the common saying “buyer beware” should never be needed with a disciple of Christ.
Offer no vengeance or seek to “get even.” Let violence stop with you. Choose the cross and not the sword.
Give to those who ask and do not turn your back on the borrower. Lend to those who ask without expecting repayment. Forgive debts as you would like to be forgiven. Do not worry whether someone is deserving of your care.
Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors for that is how you prove you are the children of God. Do good in return for evil. Overcome evil with goodness.
Be compassionate as God is compassionate. Be compassionate to all people not just those you judge to be deserving.
Don’t perform religious acts in order to be seen. Pray in private, not making a show of prayer. When you give, don’t have someone put up a plaque or name the building after you. Give anonymously whenever possible. Do not make a show of your giving.
Forgive the faults of others in the same way you want to be forgiven by God.
Do not lay up for yourself earthly treasures for then your heart will be taken up with money and possessions. Do not be overconcerned with “The Economy.” You cannot give yourself over to two masters, God and money. Do not be greedy. Be content with enough and do not pile up or hoard more than you need. No one should have too much, and no one should have too little.
Do not be attached to anything that prevents you from following Christ. Even your family should not prevent you from doing things in God’s way. Do not put off until tomorrow entering the kingdom of God and taking up the ways of God.
No amount of sacrifice can make up for failing to follow Christ and doing things in God’s way. God cannot be bought off through sacrifice, gifts of money to churches, fasting, the multiplication of prayers, self flagellation, or pious behavior. God cares deeply about how we treat one another, and if this treatment is less than compassionate, you are failing God.
All that we have is gift and our gifts are meant to be shared with others, not hoarded for ourselves. All good things come from God. We are only the stewards of what God gives to us. It is our obligation to give to those in need, not merely our choice.
Unless you become like little children, making yourself humble, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. When you have gifts and talents they have been given to you to share, not to hoard, nor to aggrandize yourself.
We know that not all people enter life equal in abilities, in fortune, or in opportunities. These are the little ones who will always be with us. We are to accept them as we would accept Christ and raise them up to stand with us in God’s kingdom, not leaving them out. We have a special obligation to them. The good news of God’s kingdom is meant for them. The way we treat the least ones among us is a sign of our relationship with Christ.
So, go and sell what you have and give it to the poor and follow Christ. In other words, avoid greed in all its forms. Be free of your stuff and don’t let it own you. In every community there should be no one with too much and no one with too little. Each person with more than enough is obliged to give to those in need. It is nearly impossible for a rich person to do things in God’s way; it is nearly impossible for a wealthy person to enter God’s kingdom. They are too attached to their possessions and cannot let go.
The ways of God are not the ways of the world and “Nature” is what we are given to rise above. If “everyone is doing it” then it is time to stop and consider. The ways of God are often counter-cultural.
Those who exercise authority are not to lord it over others. Your power needs to be power with others, not over others.
Who is it who inherits eternal life? Those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome in the homeless, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison. Every nation will be judged by whether or not they cared for the poor and the little ones in their midst. Only those nations that care for and raise up the poor are “under God.” For God the only mark of greatness for a nation is the care and compassion that nation shows toward people. God cares nothing for the wealth, power, or prestige of a nation. God cares deeply about how we treat one another.
When you have done all that is asked of you, say: we are useless servants. We have done no more that our duty.
And God says, anyone who desires to come to me will hear my words and put them into practice.
My beloved ones, if we live according to the teachings of Christ we will learn the truth and be able to discern the spirits of those who try to influence us. We will know them by their fruits. We will not follow liars.