“In fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.” – John 16.2
Have you become aware of the human tendency to justify negative emotions, judgement, hatred and violence in the name of God? The history of human religion is littered with such examples.
It’s easy to isolate it to the history books. It is more confronting to examine one’s own heart and mind to see the impulse to make others wrong, or to see the desire to rid oneself of an adversary; the anger that boils up at someone you don’t like or disagree with. These and similar dynamics are seeds of the same manifestation called “killing another in the name of God.” We don’t have to literally “kill” someone physically. We can kill them “psychologically” with a look. With a thought . With an emotion.
In contrast, Jesus and all the mystics of every religion invite us to re-discover the blessedness of being pure in heart – so to not see an enemy or someone to just make wrong, but rather to see God in all and everything.
A practical practice for today is to begin to observe negative thoughts and feelings, and to notice when they move from a low-grade temperature into a full-boil expression. Notice what your trigger is. Notice how your body feels in the moment.
Observing and becoming aware of how we are feeling in a moment of judgement or irritation before it erupts into anger or violence is a first step to being a person free from violence – whether in the name of your own personality, or in the name of a nation or ideology, or in the name of a religion.
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