“Since many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church and others are non-believers, from the bottom of my heart I give this silent blessing to each and every one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you but knowing that each one of you is a child of God.” –Pope Francis.
Religious conflicts have been a constant throughout the course of time. Many individuals possess a strong desire to have their religion or a particular set of beliefs to be seen as superior, which spawns anger and hostility, war, and perpetual dissonance. It is truly a sad existence when human beings refuse to be loving and kind toward one another.
Doesn’t the Bible address the need to love? I am fairly certain the last time I read the good book that I ran across many passages that shouted, “LOVE!” However, those passages are neglected or marred by the many who decide it is more important to relentlessly thrash different groups of people with their vicious words. Notice, I said different groups of people. Not bad. Not good. Not right. Not wrong.
What is it about some individuals that make them incapable of accepting someone else simply because they are a human being? Why must we attach a negative connotation to someone simply having a different religion or set of beliefs? Perhaps it is best if I let the words taken from the Holy Bible stand alone. I am certain that if reflected upon, even for a brief period of time, the main theme of the message can be easily and clearly ascertained.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8
You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but
You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
The contradictory ideas of what is classified as a sin, has many standing in the crossfire of religious conflict as well. We could spend an eternity in a verbal sparring match comparing findings in the Bible, but that solves nothing. The point of the matter is that we as human beings need to recall the words of Christ when faced with a difference of opinion on sin and how we deal with it. How did Jesus deal with sin?
When a woman committed adultery and was caught, she was brought to Jesus. They were saying that under the Law of Moses she should be stoned to death for committing such an act. “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” (John 8:7) The men turned away and left the woman alone. When they all had walked away, Jesus asked her “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus then replied, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:9-11) No one is without sin.
In Matthew 7:1-3 it is expressed how judging someone else for their sins and neglecting to see your own faults is a great offense and should be corrected.
Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
I firmly believe that if we as humans took the time to find likenesses in one another’s lives and beliefs, instead of the differences one could always find, we could live in perfect harmony. I challenge you to open your mind. Open your heart. Love your neighbor. Does it hurt you to love your fellow man? Absolutely not.
We are all in this world together. We are all children of God. Let’s act like it.