I have spent a considerable amount of time in the past months studying the Biblical texts that were not included in the Bible. The easiest way to look at the spiritual importance of God and Christ is in terms of the First Covenant and the Second Covenant. The First Covenant was the revelation of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were restrictive guidelines to live by.
The Second Covenant was the Coming of Christ. Whether you see Jesus Christ as a physical presence that lived on the Earth 2000 years ago, or a symbolic representation of a prophet. It is generally understood his message was ‘love’. So the Second Covenant was the message of love. His message of love was revolutionary because at the time of the Romans, and even before . . . daily life was kill or be killed.
The First Covenant gave humanity restrictive guidelines to live by. These values were not much different then the Native American virtues. These values are thousands of years old and do not change ever! The Second Covenant was NOT restrictive. It was the message of love. It isn’t that the Second Covenant supersedes the First Covenant. It is not a replacement. It is a message clarifying the Word of God. Everything in the Ten Commandments are representative of love. The message of Christ was LOVE. The Word of God is LOVE.
All of the major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, have been fostering a lie for thousands of years now. Christ taught by example. His followers included women such as Mary Magdalene. My friends that know me have heard me relay this message before. After Christ died, Mary Magdalene told the other Apostles that she was given a teaching that Christ did not share with the other Apostles. The other Apostles did not believe her and would not hear her. There is an important teaching there, too.
One of the Apostles convinced the others to hear her out. She then shared the teaching with the other Apostles. Christ’s message was ‘to teach others how to teach enlightenment’. Read that again. It was not how to teach enlightenment. It was teaching others ‘how’ to teach enlightenment. This was the first most important revelation in my life just ten or so years ago, after all of my years of Catholic upbringing and studying philosophies and religions.
The important significance of the two Covenants of God was my own personal most important second revelation just a few months ago. The life of Christ was a message of inclusion. Christ was inclusive of women as equal in the ministry of his teachings and of the Word of God. This has not been the general practice of Judaism since inception. This was not the practice of Christianity after the Council of Nicaea. In fact it was the opposite. They eradicated any symbolism or text where women where shown to be equal in the ministry of God and Christ.
Islam has always included these restrictions for women. There is only one woman mentioned by name in the Koran. She is Mary, mother of Jesus. Two entire chapters of the Koran are named after her and speak of her. It is important to understand at this point that the Koran is much like the New and Old Testament Bibles. In fact, parts of the Koran are based on the Judaic and the Christian Bible. While all three have gems of truth, knowledge and teachings, they were all written by men. And as such, many of the edicts, fatwa’s, doctrines and traditions were written by men or religious groups or churches with the specific goal of controlling others or the behavior of others.
Which brings me back to the topic of forgiveness and repentance. The Catholic Church early on, and hence, Christianity, focused on Christ’s death on the cross as a form of repentance and forgiveness for original sin. These Christian concepts, along with the idea of resurrection, are all concepts of the early Church, written to gain favors for the early Popes and Bishops. And to reign strict control over followers of Christianity. But let me be clear here. This was not the belief of the earliest Christians. Which were later they were considered heretics by the Church.
Which leads me to my final point. Christianity as dictated by the Churches, focuses on the dogma surrounding the death of Christ, forgiveness for original sin through the knowledge and belief in Christ, Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven. Many religions believe in a second coming or the future arrival of a great prophet. My personal belief is Christ never died on the cross. I believe in the Living Christ. Here on Earth right now through others and through love.
Unlike the Christian Doctrine, I do not believe you have to ‘know and believe’ in Christ to attain a paradise in heaven. Good people that know and share love in even the most remote areas of the world that have never heard of Christ, are just as welcome in the paradise of life after death. In fact, Christ’s own beliefs are in actuality more akin to the Buddhist and Eastern concepts of atonement of the soul and reincarnation.
So the answer is LOVE. It will never give you a strict code of regulation on what you should or should not forgive. It is the flexibility of the Second Covenant that gives you the decisive conscience to make decisions based on the First and Second Covenant. The Word of God as revealed by the Ten Commandments, and love, as taught by Christ in the Second Covenant.
f j llorente