It is, I have learned, far easier to ask forgiveness of a god we can’t see than from a person we can see. Perhaps this is why many religions are vertical in nature, focused on pleasing and placating God. That orientation has usually entailed sacrifice, the notion of giving God something—our time, our attention, our praise, our skill, our money—and, in extreme instances, our children, our virgins, an animal, our lives, or someone else’s life. But early in his public ministry, Jesus articulated a different understanding of sacrifice—the surrender of pride, the surrender of ego, the surrender of the privilege of being right, the surrender of everything that keeps us estranged from others, so we can be reconciled.
From a book entitle “If the Church Were Christian” by Philip Gulley
I make no apologies about quoting Philip Gulley so frequently on this blog. In my mind he seems to be one of the few Christian clergymen to have it more right than others now days. In my sixty odd years on being on the earth I have come across a myriad of different approaches to God. As Mr. Gulley says many seem to be in the business of either striking the fear of God in our hearts or asking forgiveness of sins we have committed or will commit in the future. Some also seem to be totally fixated on looking to our lives in heaven to almost the exclusion of what we do on this earth. As was mentioned in the above quote I think Jesus had very different ideas. He meant for us to take care of each other as he showed us by his examples.
Jesus’ idea of sacrifice was not the same as the Old Testament of Abraham or today’s of giving up things for Lent. Jesus meant us to humble ourselves by giving up our pride, our inflated egos, and our insistence on only us being right. We must be reconciled with all of God’s children to be one of Jesus’ followers. Pride and ego are very powerful parts of many of our lives. They are also the most dreadful parts of our lives!
As Jesus said many times, if you want to be the best then you must humble yourselves into being the least. That means taking care of your brothers. Even those smelly homeless ones we so increasingly see now days.