Letters to Jesus (Unhelpful Mindsets and Attitudes)-2
It would seem that You taught us about many things to DO with our lives. The beatitudes You taught are full of DOING. You spoke often of DOING the will of Your Father. “DO unto others as you would have them DO unto you.”There is a great deal in both the Old and New Testaments about what we should and should not DO.
Over the centuries a problem has arisen over all this DOING. The problem is that we have somehow evolved the formula that equates all this DOING with gaining salvation. By DOING good things we build up a spiritual bank account. I think this concept is widely prevalent. We tend to ignore the sobering thought that we are not able to DO anything to gain or merit our own salvation – You have done that! But there is much I can DO to reject it or lose it. This all suggests that there is some real conflict between our notion of DOING and our salvation.
When we say a person “practices” his/her faith, we’re talking about DOING something. But, again, it seems automatically accepted that this “practicing” is about gaining our salvation – about “winning” heaven. If this is not so, then what is all this DOING about?
What it’s about is simply two things: unconditional love and acceptance. We love our spouse and our children, but when we DO things for them in order to gain something from them, it’s no longer love. Also, when we DO things to accept their love for us to suit our own agendas, it’s no longer love. But when we DO things for them – things that may be difficult or unpleasant - without any expectations of return or pats on the back, this is love. When unconditional love is at the center of DOING things there is no motive of any kind of gain. We do not love to gain salvation or to win heaven. We love because we are loved unconditionally and we accept that love by DOING things to show our acceptance and gratitude.
The reasons we are urged to DO certain things in the beatitudes and scriptures is because they are the things that demonstrate our recognition and acceptance of Your love in this world. If we don’t DO these things it shows our indifference to or rejection of Your love.
All the things that are contrary to the scriptural DO’s of the Old and New Testaments are things that reject Your love. If I say I love my wife, but DO nothing to show it even while she truly loves me, her love remains, but mine is lost. So, it might be quite proper to say that I am not able to accept salvation or heaven if I do not love You or others. But my love does not merit or, by itself, gain either. What is does is dispose me toward both.