Does Stephan Molyneux contradict the New Testament on forgiveness?

February 13, 2018

Evil always wants forgiveness without confession because that’s the final nail in the coffin of the conscience of their victims. Evil people always want forgiveness without confession–without an admittance of wrong and a genuine seeking of restitution

Forgiveness is created by the restitution of the abuser, of the wrongdoer. It is not something to be squeezed out of the victim by further acts of conscience-corrupting abuse.”

–Stefan Molyneux

You can watch the entire 53-minute YouTube video here.

These are strong words–and powerful words for an abused person to take to heart and begin to heal. I realize that they seem to fly in the face of many Christians’ view of forgiveness, and since forgiveness is such a central topic to Christianity (the majority religion in my society, and the religion I grew up in), I wanted to examine Scripture to see what it really says about this subject.

This examination is a brief, but hopefully sufficient, look into the subject of “forgiveness” in the New Testament. At the end, I will compare its findings with Stephan Molyneux’s statements above.

John the Baptist in Mark and Luke

There is more than one context or meaning of “forgiveness” in the New Testament. One meaning indicates the individual’s forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD, and another refers to the individual’s forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE. In a few instances, a third-party individual seems to BROKER (or facilitate) the first type of forgiveness. The first section of our study will examine this latter context.

Chronologically speaking, our study in the Gospels begins with John the Baptist “preaching a baptism of repentance [METANOIAS] for the forgiveness[APHESIN, “REMISSION”] of sins [HAMARTION, “ERROR”]” (Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3). We see here that forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD (at least as John the Baptist brokered it) involved two steps: first repentance and then baptism. Presumably, these two steps were enough “for the forgiveness of sins” (at least until Jesus came a bit later).

This is the first instance of forgiveness in the Gospels. In this case, John the Baptist was not forgiving SOMEONE ELSE of sins, errors, or offences committed against John himself; rather, John was apparently BROKERING forgiveness for others, GIVEN BY GOD.

Jesus in the Synoptics

Jesus acted in a similar fashion when speaking to a “paralzyed” man who was brought, lying on a mat, to Jesus:

When Jesus saw their faith [PISTIN], he said…“…your sins [HAMARTIAI, “ERRORS”] are forgiven [APHIENTAI]” (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20).

In contrast to John’s BROKERED “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” GIVEN BY GOD, Jesus simply declared forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD (to the paralyzed man) in response to “their faith”. Whose faith? In both Mark and Luke (but absent in Matthew), “their” refers to “some men” who had carried the paralyzed man’s mat onto a roof and lowered it down to get him near Jesus.

Whether “their” includes the paralyzed man himself is not clear. Interestingly, it’s also not clear who is the BROKER in this act of forgiveness; is it “some men” or Jesus? Also, it appears that, in the context of Jesus’ personal ministry, someone’s faith [PISTIN] led to their forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD.

Christ in John

Similarly, in the only use of the word “forgive” in the Gospel of John, the risen Christ says to the newly-minted Apostles:

“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he BREATHED INTO [ENRPHUSESEN] them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive [APHETE, “YE MAY REMIT”] anyone’s sins [HAMARTIAS, “ERRORS”]…THEY HAVE BEEN REMITTED [APHEONTAI]; if YE MAY RETAIN[KRATETE] them, THEY HAVE BEEN RETAINED [KEKRATENTAI]” (John 20:21-23).

Thus, to conclude this first section of our study, John the Baptist seems to have foreshadowed and exemplified a sort of brokered forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD similar to that which Jesus practiced at least once in the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus is also said in the Gospel of John to have explained this brokered forgiveness to the Apostles (immediately after the risen Christ “breathed into” them “the Holy Spirit.”)

Although this information may be interesting and relevant to the individual Christian’s understanding of the roles of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles in “brokering” forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD, it doesn’t address Molyneux’s statement above. Indeed, it seems to model the later priesthood (“forgiveness-brokerage”?), rather than giving guidance about forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE in personal relationships.

The Lord’s Prayer

Next, in both Matthew and Luke (but with different wording), we have the Lord’s Prayer, which states either

forgive [APHES] us our debts [OPHEILEMATA], as we also have forgiven[APHEKAMEN] our debtors [OPHEILETAIS]” (Matthew 6:12).

or

Forgive [APHES] us our sins [HAMARTIAS, “ERRORS”], for we also forgive [APHIOMEN] everyone…INDEBTED TO US [OPHEILONTI HEMIN]” (Luke 11:4).

Here we see a relationship described between forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD and forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE–namely, that one’s own forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD depends on one’s own forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE–especially in Luke’s wording.

To support this idea, Jesus explains elsewhere that “when you stand praying, if you HAVE [ECHETE] anything against anyone, forgive [APHIETE]…so that your Father in heaven may forgive [APHE] you your OFFENCES [PARAPTOMATA]” (Mark 11:25). He repeats this basic idea in both Matthew 6:14 (if you forgive[APHETE] other people THEIR OFFENCES [TA.PARAPTOMATA.AUTON], your heavenly Father will also forgive [APHESEI] you) and Luke 6:37 (RELEASE[APOLUETE], and YE SHALL BE RELEASED [APOLUTHESESTHE]”).

It seems so far that, according to Jesus, one IS NOT forgiven BY GOD unless one HAS forgiven SOMEONE ELSE–but also that one IS forgiven BY GOD if one HAS forgiven SOMEONE ELSE. This seems pretty simple, and much more relevant to the Molyneux statement than the third-party “forgiveness-brokering” described in the first section above.

Seven Times or Seventy-Seven Times?

Now we come to the Gospel teaching that perhaps most directly addresses the present question. The following saying of Jesus is recorded in both Matthew and Luke, but with some variation between them.

In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus says, If your brother [ADELPHOS]…sins [HAMARTE, “SHOULD ERR”] against you, rebuke HIM [AUTO]; and if HE SHOULD REPENT [METANOESE], forgive HIM [APHES AUTO]. Even if HE SHOULD ERR [HAMARTESE] against you seven times in a day and seven times come[S] back to you saying ‘I repent [METANOO],’ YOU SHALL FORGIVE HIM [APHESEIS AUTO].”

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive [APHESO] my brother [ADELPHOS]…who SHALL ERR [HAMARTESEI] against me? Up to seven times?” and Jesus answers, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Because of the discrepancy here–and following my personal Bible study guideline that passages present in both Matthew and Luke but NOT in Markmost likely came from a lost source called Sayings Gospel Q–we can surmise that at least one of these passages (if not both) has changed the original saying of Jesus. But which one? Let’s look at what these passages have in common:

“…your brother sins against you…forgive him seven times.”

In Luke, this might read, “If your brother sins against you, forgive him seven times.” In Matthew, it might read, “Forgive your brother who sins against you seven times.” The idea is basically the same in both accounts.

Interestingly, the author of Luke adds (twice) a condition to forgiving one’s “brother”:

“rebuke HIM [AUTO]; and if HE SHOULD REPENT [METANOESE]” and also “come[S] back to you saying ‘I repent [METANOO]…”

Perhaps we shall see below why the idea of repentance as a condition of forgiveness is present (twice) here in Luke (although its inclusion begs the question of its absence from the equivalent passage in Matthew).

The Lord and the Wicked Slave

On the other hand, only Matthew expounds upon this teaching. In the subsequent verses (23-35), Matthew has Jesus tell the story known as the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. This parable tells the story of “a king [BASILEI] who wanted to settle accounts with his SLAVES [DOULON, “BONDSMEN”].”

One DEBTOR [OPHEILETES] “owed him” about 200,000 years of wages(according to the NIV footnote) and “was not able to pay,” so THE LORD [HO KURIOS] “ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold AND PAYMENT TO BE MADE [KAI APODOTHENAI].”

The BONDSMAN [DOULUS] fell down and DID HOMAGE TO HIM[PROSEKUNEI AUTO], saying, “Be patient with me…and I WILL PAY ALL TO YOU [PANTA APODOSO SOI].”

Then, “HAVING BEEN MOVED WITH COMPASSION, THE BONDSMAN’S LORD RELEASED HIM AND FORGAVE HIM THE LOAN. [SPLAGCHNISTHEIS.DE HO KURIOS TOU DOULOU EKEINOU APELUSEN AUTON, KAI TO DANEION APHEKEN AUTO.]”

Afterward, that servant [DOULUS] went out and found “a FELLOW BONDMAN [SUNDOULON]” who owed him a hundred days of wages(according to the NIV footnote).

Jesus continues recounting the parable:

“He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay [APODOS] back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

His fellow servant HAVING FALLEN DOWN [PESON] begged [PAREKALEI] him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay [APODOSO] it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and CAST HIM [EBALEN AUTON] into prison until he could pay [APODO] the debt [TO OPHEILOMENON]. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their LORD [KURIO] everything that had happened.

“Then HIS LORD [KURIOS.AUTOU] called the servant in. ‘You wicked [PONERE] servant [DOULE],’ he said, ‘I canceled [APHEKA] all that debt [OPHEILEN] of yours because you begged [PAREKALESAS] me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy[ELEESAI] on your fellow servant [SUNDOULON] just as I had MERCY ON[ELEISA] you?’ In anger his LORD [KURIOS] handed him over to the TORTMENTORS [BASANISTAIS]…until he should PAY [APODO] all he owed[OPHEILOMENON].

THUS ALSO [OUTOS KAI] my heavenly Father WILL DO TO YOU [POIESEI HUMIN] unless you forgive [APHETE] your brother [ADELPHIO]…from your HEARTS [KARDION].”

In this parable, it is the king or lord who demands from his slaves repayment of their debts to him. In a compassionate response to one extremely indebted slave’s penitence and promise to pay the lord his impossibly large debt, the lord releases the slave and forgives the loan. However, the slave’s unwillingness afterward to extend forgiveness LIKEWISE to another slave (who owes the first slave much less than he himself was forgiven–AND WHO LIKEWISE IS PENITENT) causes the lord to hand the unmerciful slave over to “tormentors” until he pays all he owes.

Jesus explicitly states here that this parable describes the attitude of “my heavenly Father” regarding forgiveness (as a metaphor for canceling debts). So far, this is the Gospels’ clearest teaching on the relationship between forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD and forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE.

Checkpoint

To summarize so far, we see that

1) John the Baptist preached “a baptism of repentance for the remission of errors”;

2) there are two types of forgiveness–one GIVEN BY GOD, and one OF SOMEONE ELSE;

3) John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles apparently “brokered”forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD for others;

4) Jesus said in two Synoptic Gospels that IF you forgive SOMEONE ELSE, THEN you will be forgiven BY GOD;

5) Matthew and Luke agree that Jesus said that if “your brother sins against you,” you should forgive him at least “seven times”;

6) Luke has Jesus saying FIRST to “rebuke them; and THEN if they repent, forgive them”; and

7) Matthew has Jesus recounting a parable that explains and models repentance-and-forgiveness.

Taking note of what we’ve seen so far, what do Paul and the other New Testament writers have to say on this subject? Not much…but still something relevant to our discussion.

Paul’s Letters: Ephesians and Colossians

There are two passages in Paul’s letters that directly address our question. Notably, the Greek verb translated as “forgive” in these verses is NOT the same verb used elsewhere in this study:

Be kind and compassionate [EUSPLAGCHNOI, “TENDER-HEARTED”] to one another, forgiving [CHARIZOMENOI] each other, just as in Christ God forgave[ECHARISATO] you. BE YE THEREFORE IMITATORS OF GOD [GINESTHE OUN MIMETAI TOU THEOU]… (Ephesians 4:32-5:1)

Therefore, as God’s chosen [EKLEKTOU, “ELECT”]…Bear with each other and forgive [CHARIZOMENOI] one another if any of you has a grievance[MOMPHEN, “COMPLAINT”] against someone…EVEN AS ALSO [KATHOS KAI] the Lord [KURIOS] forgave [ECHARISATO] you, SO ALSO YE [OUTOS KAI HUMEIS]. (Colossians 3:12-13)

There we have it. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” How much plainer and more direct can you get, and what more “Christian” idea of forgiveness could there be? Along with John’s and Jesus’ teachings regarding forgiveness, this teaching of Paul seems to resolve, settle, and answer the question.

What was the question? It was, “What does the New Testament teach on the subject of forgiving other people, and does this confirm or contradict Stephan Molyneux’s statement?”

And now we’ve arrived at a new and unexpected question: “What does it mean to forgive ‘as the Lord forgave you’?”

John the Baptist in Matthew

Let’s return to John the Baptist. He shows up in Matthew as well as in the other Synoptics, but he doesn’t use the word “forgive” in Matthew. Instead, Matthew’s account says:

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent [METANOEITE], for the kingdom [BASILEIA] of heaven has come near…I baptize you with water for repentance [METANOIAN]” (Matthew 3:1-2,11).

Both Mark and Luke also have John proclaiming repentance:

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1:4)

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3)

Why repent?

The New Testament writers included repentance here for a reason: as a foreshadowing of Jesus of Nazareth, whose initial message was identical to that of John:

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent [METANOEITE], for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17)

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent [METANOEITE] and believe [PISTEUETE] the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

We see, then, that John the Baptist

1) preached “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”;

2) preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near”;

3) foreshadowed Jesus, who preached the same message of repentance.

Confession and Forgiveness

Recall that John’s baptism was “of repentance” and “for the forgiveness of sins.” But people didn’t merely repent when they came to John the Baptist:

Confessing [EXOMOLOGOUMENOI] their sins [HAMARTIAS], they were baptizedby him in the Jordan River. (Mark 1:5b; Matthew 3:6)

But why “confess” their sins?

John of Patmos, writing many years after the days of John the Baptist and Jesus, offers an insight into this teaching. This is the only reference to “forgiveness” (in all its forms) in the non-Pauline letters that directly addresses the present question:

If we claim to be without sin [HAMARTIAN], we deceive [PLANOMEN] ourselves and the truth [ALETHEIA] is not in us. If we confess [OMOLOGOMEN] our sins[HAMARTIAS], he is faithful [PISTUS] and just and will forgive [APHE] us our sins[HAMARTIAS] and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Confession of one’s errors, then, is part of repentance–throughout the New Testament. That is, “an admittance of wrong and a genuine seeking of restitution” (to quote Molyneux again) are prerequisites for forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD in the teachings of the New Testament.

Jesus taught his followers to have “mercy on your fellow servant just as [the Lord] had mercy on you”. Paul taught his followers to “be imitators of God” and “forgive one another …even as also the Lord forgave you.”

We see now that forgiving SOMEONE ELSE in compassionate response to their confession and repentance IS forgiving “as the Lord forgave you.” Therefore, Stefan Molyneux’s statement on forgiveness is in harmony with the teachings of Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul of Tarsus, and John of Patmos.

Stefan’s words here are modern-day reminders of the New Testament’s ancient teachings about forgiving people who have erred against us…after they repent of their errors and confess them to us.

Appendix: A Few Technical Notes…

According to the online concordance that I use, the word “forgive” (to include “forgave,” “forgiven,” “forgiveness,” and “forgives”) appears 66 timesin the New Testament (NIV), as follows:

Matthew (12 times)
Mark (10 times)
Luke (19 times)
John (1 time)
Acts (6 times)
Romans (1 time)
2 Corinthians (4 times)
Ephesians (2 times)
Colossians (4 times)
Hebrews (3 times)
James (1 time)
1 John (3 times)

In keeping with my personal Bible study guidelines, this discussion omits the Old Testament, the Book of Acts, certain Pauline pseudepigrepha (2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Hebrews–but NOT Colossians, Ephesians, or Titus), and passages that only appear once in the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), except where noted.

I also have a custom of rendering the Koine Greek word “HAMARTIA” generally as “error” in English because 1) the literal meaning of its verb form “HAMARTANO” is “to miss the mark” (with the classic example of “missing” the bull’s-eye in archery being frequently given) and 2) I know through personal experience that “error” is the greatest cause of harm (perhaps the Greek word translated below as “offence”) among human beings.

(Interestingly, the English word “error” in all its forms (such as “to err”) occurs only EIGHT times in the New International Version (NIV) of the New Testament–and 17 times in the King James Version (KJV). It comes from a different Greek word that also means “deceit” as a noun and “to deceive” as a verb. See 1 John 1:8, referenced herein.)

Text quoted in this essay is from the NIV, as copied from the online concordance at BibleGateway.com. I used this version here because its textual sources (being chosen from among many divergent Greek manuscripts) are superior to the Textus Receptus, the manuscript used to translate the King James Version (KJV) more than 400 years ago; however, the NIV‘s English translation (being less literal or word-for-word, as in the KJV) sometimes loses grasp of the original meaning, in my view. I believe that the value of my approach will become apparent to attentive readers.

Accordingly, in this study I provide, within the copied NIV text, an English transliteration [IN ALL CAPS] after certain key English words and phrases. Where I believe the NIV translation differs meaningfully from the corresponding manuscript’s literal translation (according to my Interlinear KJV: Parallel New Testament in Greek and English), I note both the Greek transliteration AND its literal English translation together [IN ALL CAPS, “IN BRACKETS WITH QUOTES”] following the NIV‘s translation.

In certain instances, the wording of the NIV was so divergent from the Greek that I simply removed the NIV‘s wording and replaced it with its literal English translation IN ALL CAPS, followed by the Greek transliteration [IN BRACKETS]. In other cases, as in general, I use “…” to indicate the removal of text from the quote when it isn’t present in the Greek at all, or where its inclusion (or word order) would reduce the reader’s ability to follow the text, or for the sake of brevity.

All bold type is my own addition, in order to emphasize certain points and/or focus on the subject of study.

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True and False “Urges”: The Essence of Human Life

December 26, 2016

This is the essence of human life:

Urges rise up from within us, and these urges are of three types:

–NEEDS: impulses of the outer being (the body) to survive, reproduce, and perpetuate the body (breathing, eating, sex, sleep, etc.)

–DESIRES: expressions of the inner being (the True Self) to bring forth one’s true, deepest nature or character (which is always “positive”)

–GREEDS: destructive inflations by the ego (the false self) of either legitimate NEEDS or genuine DESIRES

——–

NEEDS and DESIRES are natural, normal, and necessary urges that guide correct and proper function in human life.

GREEDS are natural urges inflated by the false self–like cancers. In time, this egoic inflation itself becomes GREED’s urge.

This is the realm of cravings, addictions, attachments, obsessions, and Narcissism…and the dysfunctional human behavior that results from them.

——–

The True Self has these two aspects:

–HEAD, or Reasoning-sense: thoughts, ideas, images, concepts, etc.

–HEART, or Feeling-sense: feelings, impressions, hunches, etc.

HEAD is connected to the deeper SPIRIT, and HEART is connected to the deeper SOUL.

The True Self is like an axle with two wheels, HEAD and HEART, which properly function in balance together. The human Male-Female relationship dynamic reflects these inner “wheels”.

——–

The ego/false self is composed of these two corruptions of the True Self:

–false or incorrect BELIEFS about life, reality, self, and others

–unexpressed negative EMOTIONAL PAIN “left over” from past harmful experiences

BELIEFS are corruptions of the HEAD. EMOTIONAL PAIN is corruption of the HEART.

The ego/false self is like a collection of ropes–each one made with strands of BELIEFS that are cemented together by EMOTIONAL PAIN.  (These “ropes” are all attached to FEAR.)

BELIEFS hold error in place and error holds EMOTIONAL PAIN in place.

The presence of the ego/false self blocks inner guidance from the True Self…and produces ERROR and NEGATIVITY in outer relationships.

——–

The goal and purpose of human life is to realize (become!) one’s True Self. This is done by reducing one’s own error and negativity.

To reduce ERROR, incorrect BELIEFS must be removed.

To reduce NEGATIVITY, unexpressed EMOTIONAL PAIN must be released.

This process reduces the size and power of the ego/false self, which is the source of inner GREEDS–and, therefore, also reduces the outer dysfunctions of ERROR and NEGATIVITY, which perpetuate the ego/false self in others.

Everything in human life is part of the process of reaching the goal.

(Written on August 21, 2012 and freshly edited on December 26, 2016)

 


On the Importance of Consideration

December 17, 2016

There is a dividing line between two quite different ways of thinking and living, and everyone seems to rest on one side or the other.

Two Sides of a Fence

Children exemplify both sides more equally than adults, who have lived experiences that have shaped their thoughts behavior in one direction or the other. Adults seem to be more on one side or the other than children are.

The dividing line is: those who consider the viewpoints of others and those who do not consider the viewpoints of others.

It’s not my intention here to divide people, but to point out an existing division and examine it. By observing humans (most importantly myself), I’ve determined that some are basically considerate of others and some are basically not. It’s not a black-and-white thing, but rather a continuum of blacker or whiter grayness.

Consideration of others can also be called empathy. Inconsideration of others can also be called narcissism.

Some people seem to force consideration in ourselves at crucial moments, or to be compelled by some inner voice to “do the right thing” when we have the opportunity to show consideration…or not. Some of us deliberate, mulling over moral duties or imagining what God or Grandma would think of our choice in that moment. After such decision-making, many of us then act in consideration rather than blatant or obvious inconsideration.

Indeed, this deliberation, compulsion, and even forcing are themselves “consideration” for others–at least to the degree that they aren’t merely calculated or fearful acts of self-preservation. The outward, visible consequence (such as saying, “Thank you”) comes after the “consideration” itself.

A Window to Inner Values

Most inconsideration appears in mundane daily interactions like driving, shopping, or talking to our kids. (One’s parenting, and its results in the character of one’s grown children, can tell others a lot about one’s side of the narcissistic/empathetic “consideration line” that I’m describing here. Where do you suppose kids learn to be considerate–or not–and whose behavior gave them a daily example?)

I drive a lot, so I have lots of opportunities to show either consideration or inconsideration, and I also see a lot of both attitudes in others when they drive in my vicinity. I often feel that I have a glimpse into another person’s psyche when these encounters happen, either between myself and another, or as an observer when other people interact in traffic.

I see driving as a microcosm of human behavior because I believe that the values one shows through driving reflect the values they have at all times. This belief has merit so far in my own experience–although anyone can have a bad day and speed or cut someone off in traffic.

The same can be true of one’s shopping habits, parenting practices, and in many other ways: talking to telemarketers on the phone; returning an item at the store; working in sales or customer service; selling one’s used car; and sharing or not sharing what one has with others in need.

Although a lot of ways that we can show either our narcissism or our empathy might seem trivial, one’s “small” actions show clearly one’s overall attitude. If a person is inconsiderate to the checkout lady, why would he or she act differently toward other people, in other situations?

A duck will quack, either loud or soft. But it will not bock like a chicken–especially in a crisis.

On the inconsiderate side of the fence, people seem most interested in causing their own will to negate or override the will of others, rather than sharing with others or seeking consensual mutual agreement. It seems that, in their fear–and all fears are ultimately fears of death, pain, or not existing–they are blind to the equally valid needs of others.

There’s a word for this blind and fearful inconsiderate negation of the will of other people by an adult human being: Narcissism, with a capital “N”.

“Do Unto Others”…How?

In a Christian society, there would be no destitute, homeless people (except by their own preference) and no extremely wealthy people, either (except perhaps by mutual social agreement). Consideration does not allow others to suffer when one has the ability to alleviate it.

In our own supposedly Christian society, even those of us who don’t accept the teachings of the Church in all its versions generally regard Jesus as a teacher and wise man. It’s from Jesus (and, yes, others) that we learn to be considerate:

“In all things, to unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If people in our society are following this “Golden” Rule, then it seems from their behavior that many folks would have others be inconsiderate to them. Perhaps they expect others to treat them that way, and so they treat others inconsiderately in kind, in advance, out of habit or programming.

This idea–that inconsiderateness is a pre-emptive defense mechanism–suggests that it is a product of the “ego” that I identify as the immediate source of mental and emotional suffering in self and others. Out of fear, the ego seeks only to preserve itself, in the belief that not doing so (such as being considerate of others) is suicide.

This, again, is Narcissism.

Ego and Spirit

So, then, inconsideration (or narcissism) is a fear-based egoic thought pattern–as opposed to consideration (or empathy), which in my personal scheme of things is a trust-based spiritual thought pattern. We are always under the influence of one or the other, being led in our thoughts and actions by one or the other.

Consideration is certainly a spiritual quality or “value”–that is, it comes from the Spirit, from the deepest inner being, the truest Self which is one’s most genuine expression, without the contamination of the wrong ideas of the ego.

That same Spirit exists in others as their deepest inner being, and those who perceive Spirit in themselves also recognize Spirit in others.

This recognition of Self-in-others is the essence of consideration (empathy). It is the essence of spirituality and the Golden Rule. It is also the essence of a healthy and functional society, particularly a society whose members claim to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Written on January 29, 2011, and freshly edited on December 17, 2016.


On Function and Dysfunction in Human Beings

December 14, 2016

A human being has an inner guidance system.  These are a person’s SPIRIT and SOUL.

SPIRIT guides through inspired MIND.  SOUL guides through intuitive HEART.

Inspired MIND provides intelligent THOUGHT.  Intuitive HEART provides instinctive FEELING.

Intelligent THOUGHT leads to TRUTH.  Instinctive FEELING be leads to LOVE.

TRUTH brings ORDER.  LOVE brings HARMONY.

This is proper FUNCTION in a human being.

FUNCTION is HAPPINESS.

——–

LIES and HARM come from without.

LIES cause (false) BELIEFS in MIND.  HARM causes (emotional) PAIN in HEART.

BELIEFS replace THOUGHT and TRUTH.  PAIN replaces FEELING and LOVE.

BELIEFS block INSPIRATION from SPIRIT.  PAIN blocks INTUITION from SOUL.

FALSE BELIEFS in MIND cause ERROR.  EMOTIONAL PAIN in HEART causes NEGATIVITY.

ERROR spreads LIES to MIND in others.  NEGATIVITY spreads HARM to HEART in others.

This is DYSFUNCTION in human beings.

DYSFUNCTION is SUFFERING.

——–

TRUTH and LOVE are REALITY.  SUFFERING is a corruption of REALITY.

SUFFERING brings CRISIS.  CRISIS brings SURRENDER to REALITY.

SURRENDER brings HONESTY.  HONESTY leads to TRUTH.

TRUTH destroys LIES and BELIEFS in MIND.  MIND receives INSPIRATION from SPIRIT.

Inspired MIND focuses on PAINFUL HEART.  HEART OPENS and releases EMOTIONAL PAIN.

HEART receives INTUITION from SOUL.  LOVE from SOUL heals HARM in HEART.

SPIRIT unites with SOUL in the person.  ORDER and HARMONY destroy DYSFUNCTION.

As DYSFUNCTION ends, SUFFERING ends.

Proper FUNCTION returns.

HAPPINESS returns.

REALITY returns.

——–

TRUTH and LOVE are the most powerful defense against LIES and HARM.

HONESTY is the most powerful antidote.


Hello Again (A Love Note)

November 28, 2016

(This is a note to me from my True Self, but it applies to all.)

My dearest,

No one on this Earth loves you like your mother loved you. Even she didn’t love you like Spirit loves you. Why shouldn’t you love yourself the same?

Spirit is the guiding Force, Love, and Intelligence behind the Universe. The Universe can seem to be cruel and unforgiving because of where you are. In the end, though, if you look to Spirit to provide everything you need, It will reach you. It will reach out to you through the Universe, and through your own inner self.

You are draped in love and cradled in forgiveness. You are here! And you live. You make mistakes, you learn, and you conquer the wrongness within yourself. That is right, and it is good.

You are doing what is best for you to do, and that is best for the All.

Who wouldn’t love you for such a thing?

And yet, even if you didn’t do these things–and you don’t do them perfectly yet anyway–you would still be Loved.

What do you want for your children? To be held down and miserable, because of something they did in the past, still suffering even after they saw their error and went through the agony of correcting themselves–alone?

Would you want your children to live in guilt and unforgiveness because some other person doesn’t see the good inside them?

No!

You would want your children to move forward and step into new light and a new, better way of living. You would want them to have endured suffering, pain, and hardship so that they could earn an even greater and happier existence because of it.

You would want to see your children thrive.

You are the child of your mother. You are the child of the Universe. You are the child of Spirit Itself. You are beloved. You have no need to go on in misery, doubt, and self-blame.

No one who loves you wants this for you.

Why can’t you see this? (The ego talking.)

Don’t listen to the ego. Listen to the truth: you are worthy of love and you are worthy to be loved.

You carry love within you and it is your right to share it with the world around you. If there is a part of your world that does not accept your love, withdraw it, remove yourself from that negative influence, and focus your love where it can grow and produce more love.

Where is that?

It’s all around you. It’s everywhere. Even people who don’t know you well have given you their support and encouraging words. If they can see your goodness, how much more will someone who truly knows you see your goodness?

Do not limit yourself to satisfy some long-lost directive given by someone with lesser understanding, long ago. You know what is best, and you know what to do. Step out, in faith, and let go. Remember, you have wings! You will fly.

How do I stay positive?

Focus on the positive in your life and eliminate the negative. Change whatever you have to in order to live well. Free yourself from the chains that you allow to bind you! You have that power. You know it.

And remember: you are loved, no matter what.

So, my beloved, Hello! Welcome to the Universe again. You are welcome here, and there is much help to guide you along the way. You have no need to fear. You need only take the first step from where you are.

Do not let that which matters most drown in the puddle of that which matters not. There are mountains to be moved. Move them!

Hello, and welcome back.

Love,

Me

(January 9, 2009)

 


You Have Permission: A Message of Love

November 10, 2016

Today, right now, as you read or hear these words, you have permission to be as you are.

You have permission to be hurt, and to resent whoever hurt you. You have permission to heal when you’re ready to let it go.

You have permission to feel worse than you want to feel, or think you “should” feel. You have permission to smile, laugh, dance, and be excited when you feel good.

You have permission to make mistakes, and to look at mistakes you’ve made in whatever way you want. You have permission to kick yourself for your stupidity if you want, or to take the wise way instead and learn from your ignorance.

You have permission to love me, hate me, talk about me behind my back, admire me, think I’m crazy, wish I were different, and wonder why I’m this way. You have permission to realize that your mental image of me isn’t who I really am anyway.

You have permission to believe what you want, to try to convince me to believe it, to believe something bad will happen to me if I don’t, and to learn the lessons that your beliefs will eventually bring you. You have permission to believe I’m talking about your religion, even though I’m not.

You have permission to think what you want, say what seems best to you, and do what you think is right or wrong or good or bad or none of the above. You have permission to be free–to live as you please. You have permission to see that we are not competitors in life, whether we believe we are or not.

You have permission to look down on others. You have permission to see starving children and do nothing. You have permission to pass by people who ask you for help, even when you’re able (but not willing) to help. You have permission to gather all you can for yourself, so it can control you while you live and teach you its real value when you die.

You have permission to believe you have all the answers already.

You have permission to be confused, to cause problems for yourself and others, to see the error of your ways (or at least some of them), and to do your best to fix what you’ve broken when your view was fuzzy.

You have permission to be a good Samaritan, a maniac, a solid citizen, a criminal, a child, a victim, and a perpetrator. You have permission to try on whatever hat you want until you find the one that fits. You have permission to change hats as you desire.

You have permission to grow rich, to go broke, to create, and to destroy. You have permission to experiment with your mind and your flesh. You have permission to do what you think is right, or what you believe to be wrong.

You have permission to play hooky from work.

We are here, you and I. We live and we die. You have permission to live. You have permission to die. You have permission to live first, or to die first–whichever you choose.

You are powerful in ways you don’t understand. I do not condemn you for being who you are, for not being perfect, for doing things you regret, for lashing out at yourself or others in the fog we all live in. I applaud you for your strength and courage in the face of adversity, and for your willingness to get up when life knocks you down.

Even so, you have permission to stay down as long as you think you have to. You have permission to be imperfect. You have permission to repeat hard lessons as many times as it takes, until you learn them.

You have permission to wake up, to see light in fog, and to stop doing whatever you feel bad about doing. You have permission to rebel and take the power that is your own. You have permission to live as you choose, no matter what “they” say you “should” do.

It is only when you feel free that you really become free. In reality, you already are. You have permission to realize your freedom. All good things follow. You have permission to live in goodness.

You have permission to rise up and walk, or to lie on your cot and let others carry you around.

You have permission to be what you believe you are. You have permission to throw guilt away.

You have permission to enjoy who you are, whoever you are, for as long as you are. You have permission to change at any moment, for any reason.

You have permission to realize who you really are–a son of man, a daughter of woman, a child of humanity, begotten of God in the truest sense of the word.

You have permission to be awake! Or to stay asleep.

Who am I to grant permission? No–the question is: Who is anyone to take it away?

10/31/09


Emotional Implantation and the Cycle of Abuse

October 21, 2016

Abuse and emotional trauma can “implant” emotional pain into a child where there was no pain before.  The child then carries the psychological burden of this emotion for as long as the pain remains within–hidden, repressed, unacknowledged, and therefore unexpressed.

Expression of the pain, however, frees the person from both its burden and the toxicity that it causes in that person.

Time and Toxicity

The longer the pain festers, the more toxic it becomes.  The deeper it gets “buried” by layers of subsequent experience and memory, the more difficult it is to access and release.  If not dealt with, it simply lies dormant and waits until an experience triggers it and calls it back to the surface, to NOW.

The child may carry this baggage all the way into adulthood, creating a “cycle of abuse” as the abused child, now grown, abuses others when triggered.  The child harbors or carries this implanted emotion, just like the abuser did.  Also like the abuser, the grown child now implants it into others.

The “cycle of abuse” is simply the harboring and spreading of emotional pain, like one might carry and spread herpes or lice.  Negativity is highly contagious, and harm is remarkably easy to inflict on the innocent or the unsuspecting.

If not for the experience of having suffered abuse as a child–and the subsequent years of not releasing the resulting emotional pain–the grown child would not have toxic negativity hidden within…and thus would not tend to abuse others as an adult.

If past emotional pain were not present, there would be no triggers calling it forth NOW.  Tragically, the new abuser’s own children tend to trigger the abuser’s emotional pain…by calling forth memories from the abuser’s own childhood, when he (or she) was implanted.

And so the past becomes the present; long-dormant toxic pain comes to the fore; and the cycle is repeated again as the emotional burden is unloaded from one onto another.

5 Ways to Analyze the Spread of Negativity

The emotional implantation that leads to future toxicity (if not released) can be analyzed in at least five ways.  Each of these mechanisms may eventually become a repressed and subconscious part of the child’s developing personality:

1) Injected emotion–The abuse injects into the child’s psyche the same type of emotion that the abuser displays during the abuse, like receiving a vaccination that spreads illness.

2) Imprinted experience–The abuse imprints the abusive interaction onto the child’s psyche as a highly emotionally-charged memory, like being held down and branded with a hot iron.

3) Adopted identity–The child identifies him/herself as the “loser” in the abusive interaction and the abuser as the “winner.”  To avoid being the “loser” in the future, the child adopts the emotions and behaviors that the abuser displays.

4) Unexpressed reaction–Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction.  The appropriate and natural reaction of the human psyche is to reflect in kind (and thus to “deflect” negative) actions and emotional energy directed towards it.  In the moment of abuse, the child is unable to reflect/deflect the abuser’s actions or emotional energy, and the resulting “unexpressed reaction” remains in the child, seeking an outlet.

5) Psychic break–The overwhelming emotional energy of an abusive interaction breaks (or fractures, or splinters away) a part of the child’s psyche, which then “contains” the residual (and always negative) emotional energy from the experience, keeping it hidden from conscious awareness and protecting the child from its contents.

Corrupted Development

Experience shows the tendency of abused children to abuse others later in life.  As children, emotionally wounded people may abuse animals and/or other children; as adults, they may abuse other adults, too.

Thus, as “they” say, hurt people hurt people.  Unfortunately, the most toxic, negative, harmful, and abusive people are often those who have been hurt the most as children.  Though heartbreaking to consider, the “cycle of abuse” does not excuse grown people from spreading their emotional pain to others, most especially to children.

Abuse corrupts the child’s personality development–unless and until the emotional effects of the abusive incident(s) are corrected.  This happens when the injection is extracted, the imprint is removed, the identity is disowned, the reaction is allowed, or the break is mended.

This correction happens after the pain resulting from abuse or trauma is expressed through emotional release.


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