The Threat of Equality

Have you ever thought about how most religious ideas seem like commen sense, but for some reason they are hard as I don’t know what to live out?  I mean think about it.  Jesus’ whole message was pretty much “treat people the way you want to be treated” (Luke 6:31).  It really isn’t that complicated.  And, if you look at almost every other religion, they have their own version of that statement. Judaism had it before Jesus and other religions had it before Judaism.  But still we have the hardest time with it.  I guess it must be pretty hard to do.  I mean, Jesus must have had a good reason to put loving others as ourselves right up there with loving God with all that we have in us (Matt 22:35-41).  I guess he must have thought, “If these jokers can learn to love each other then loving God will be a piece of cake.” I think that’s why he taught his disciples such extreme lessons like, “If we hate someone we are a murderer, (1 John 3:15)” and “How can we say we love God who we cannot see, but hate our neighbor who we can see? (1 John 4:20)”  He wanted us to get it that our love of God is reflected in our love and respect for each other.

Now I am not going to say that people don’t try.  But I do think that many of us have a hard time embracing this way of being wholeheartedly with each other because the fact is there is a limit to how much we want to be considered equal with others.  From the day we go to school or start interacting with other people, we start getting compared to people.  We measure ourselves against others and determine our value against others.  Lets face it, no one wants to be last, so we always look for someone to be underneath us.  In this world, it is downright impossible to want equality and to want to be special too.  It just doesn’t work that way.

Equality is not for the fainthearted.  You have to be able to look at the worst person you can imagine, like a Hitler or someone and say, “Hitler and I are equal.”  Who the heck wants to say that?  We all want to be the awesome hero in our own story.  That means someone has to be beneath us.  It’s the human way right now.  Of course acknowledging our inherent equality does not mean that we have to put up with ignorance or any of that.  Really, I am just talking about being conscious of why living from the space of equality is so hard.  From the conversations I’ve had many people do not consider this, so I’m putting it out there so we can scratch our heads.  How willing are we to live out of the space of inherent equality for everyone? Are we willing to give up being special in our own mind for the sake of equality?

There’s a whole thing behind Jesus’ teachings of non-judgment and the first will be the last and the last will be the first and the whole reaping what we sow thing (karma).  Basically, I see it as him trying to teach his students that the universe is fair and equal and that if we resist this we will feel it when the scales balance out.  Embracing the reality of inherent equality is almost like reducing our sentence.  We get what we put out.  We see equality we receive equality.  We see people beneath us, we are seen as beneath people.  Pretty simple.

Matthew 7:1-3

7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

Luke 18:10-17

10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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