I am constantly reminded that the message of peace and love that is so prominent in the Holy Gospels is almost a complete failure in the 21st century world. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to us as a visible sign of that love. God manifested Himself in the form of a man, so that all might see the central message of the Creator: Love one another, and love the Lord our God as He loves us.
Jesus Christ constantly preached the messages of "love thy neighbor", "judge not least ye be judged", "forgive 70 times 7 those who have offended you", "let ye who is without sin, cast the first stone", "look to the plank in your own eye before pointing out the splinter in the eye of your brother". The Holy Scriptures are full of references to this central core premise of what evolved into Christianity. St. Paul was very successful in planting the seeds of Christianity, as it can be found all over the world. But the Church that was envisioned by Paul is not the Church that we now have. Surely, Jesus weeps at what is done in his name by some churches, groups, and individuals.
The problem is that through the ages the central message of Christianity has been perverted. It has been perverted by the "Church" countless times, starting with the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, "heretic hunts", witch burnings, persecution of the Jews, personal egos of powerful men, corruption of the Church hierarchy by lust for money and power, and just plain abuse of power. We have witnessed much of this abuse recently in the various church scandals involving sexual abuse of minors by Clergy members of all faiths, not just the Roman Church. The abuse of power does not stop with the abuser, but with those Bishops who protected the offenders, and perpetuated the abuses. What has become of the Church that St. Paul started?
In addition to institutional culpability for this perversion of the word, we have individual preachers, bishops, laity, and civil organizations that perpetuate this message of hate. On this very website, an individual from another church, left a message in our guest book that included his website URL. When we visited this site, we found once again, the perversion of the central theme of Christianity, LOVE. This time it was the Gay community that was castigated, judged, and deemed unfit for service to God. ONLY GOD can say who is fit to serve Him, by who He calls to His service. Another glaring example of the lack of love and Christian compassion towards others was found in the statements made by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, blaming among others, the gay and lesbian community for the September 11, 2001 destruction of the World Trade Center and the loss of over 3,000 lives.
If one reads Mark, Chapter 12:30-31, we find, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." "The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' 'There is no other commandments greater than these.'"
In John 13:34-35, Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment; love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." The most important commandments are forever lost on these individuals and groups. Where is the love and non-judgmentalism that we are commanded by the Lord we say we serve? Whether it is the crusades, or individual acts of hatred in the 21st century, the message of Jesus has been largely forgotten, and surely those who have ignored or forgotten, will be reminded on the final day.
We spend so much time as a society judging, hating, and expending great amounts of money, energy, and emotion in trying to repress those people who don't fit our image of what a good Christian should be, that we ourselves cease to be Christian. The pious among us say that they do this in the name of God, that God condemns this or that. Jesus said in Matthew 5:10, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely, because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven."