|PART ONE : How Jesus Taught Me to Overcome My Hatred
|PART TWO : How Jesus Taught Me to
|PART THREE : How Jesus Taught Me
|HOW JESUS TAUGHT ME TO OVERCOME
|"See God through Jesus Christ"
|As my explorations in the Gospels went on, I struck
gold. Despite my financial crisis, I started to see God through Christ.
Guidance from Fr Michael helped me understand Christ’s sayings
|From my childhood I believed God was always with the
rich, the powerful and the famous. As these people were considered
blessed, I thought God was not bothered about the poor and downtrodden.
But when I went through the passage narrating Christ’s birth
(Luke 2:8-14), I never found the God that thought I had known. I found
a different God. Joseph was not powerful, he was a carpenter. Mary,
too, was no princess. Yet God chose them to head the Holy Family.
Christ Jesus was not born in a palace, but in a manger. The angels
first announced the divine birth not to scholars, but to shepherds.
Where was the God of the powerful? And I thought I knew God!
|Zacchaeus was a tax collector and never expected Jesus
to talk to him. But when Jesus came near the sycamore tree, where
Zacchaeus was sitting, he looked up and said, “Hurry down Zacchaeus,
because I must stay in your house today.” Even though Zacchaeus
was rich and powerful, he was not at all accepted by the elite community.
That’s why the word says (Luke 19:7): All the people who saw
it started grumbling, “This man has gone as a guest to the home
of a sinner!”
|Jesus never questioned or rebuked Zacchaeus. Christ
loved him and on tasting this heavenly love, Zacchaeus repented. From
my childhood I believed God kept a record of my wrongdoings, but my
own journey through the Gospels showed me He is no such God. If I
had seen the God I thought I knew, I would have run away in fear.
But as all my counsellors had said, through Christ I saw a God who
had no problems being with and accepting human beings. As I started
walking with Christ, I realised what I believed about God was wrong.
|Two thousand years ago in Palestine, a woman caught
in adultery was to be stoned to death according to the Law of Moses.
But when such a woman was brought before Christ, he said, “Who
you have not sinned can throw the first stone at her.” The Son
showed that the Father never punishes, but only saves. Slowly my opinion
about God started changing.
|Guided by Christ, I revisited the parable about the
prodigal son. My understanding had totally changed this time. Luke
15:20 says, “He was still a long way from home when his father
saw him: Seeing his younger son return his heart was filled with pity.”
Jesus highlighted again the father’s joy on getting back the
son who had squandered all assets entrusted to him. There was no anger
or bitterness. Jesus continued, “And he ran, threw his arms
round his son, and kissed him.”
|For the first time in my life I saw a forgiving and
loving God. After being forgiven, the son said: “Father, I have
sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called
your son.” The father’s response surprised me further.
After all, the boy had declared himself guilty. Jesus said, “But
the father called his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said, ‘Bring
the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes
on his feet. Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us
celebrate with a feast’.” The Father was celebrating the
prodigal’s return. Jesus showed me that my heavenly Father who
would celebrate, if I shed my misunderstandings and returned to Him.
|During the time of Jesus, people infected with certain
communicable diseases were not allowed to come out in public. Lepers
fell into that category. When they came out, they had to cover themselves
fully and ring a bell to warn people. If a leper saw another person
coming his way, he was to move away from the path. People thought
God had cursed lepers. They were even stoned. Despite being in that
age, Christ heard their cry for help and cured them. If diseases were
a curse from God, then the Son of God would not have cured them. This
was a new insight for me.
|I was also moved by Christ’s affection for children.
The Bible says that once when Jesus was sitting with some elders,
a few children came to him. Some elders stopped them. What surprised
me is that Jesus asked them to allow the children to come and played
with them. He told them to learn from the children, because their
love was innocent and sincere. Jesus never asked the children to learn
from grown-ups, because adults do things for others and expect favours
in return. Our love is not at all sincere.
|If anybody receives Christ’s teachings in their
childhood, it will stay with them for life. That is why Christ asked
the elders to send the children to him. During my childhood, if I
had realised or been taught that God never punishes but only loves,
then I would not have been afraid of the Father.
|Jesus was arrested like an outlaw. The high priest
tore his clothes. Roman soldiers made a crown of thorns, placed it
on his head and put a stick in his right hand to mock him. They knelt
before him and taunted him. They spat on him and hit him on the head
with a stick. Even though there was no evidence to prove Jesus was
guilty, he was sentenced to be crucified. As Jesus staggered with
the cross and cried out in thirst, they gave him bitter wine; some
texts say vinegar (Mathew 27:34).
|In the history of mankind, when a person with money
or power is stabbed in the back and goes through difficulties and
tragedies, his comeback leaves a trail of vendetta. But Christ’s
response was very different. There was no vengeance. On the cross,
Jesus prayed, “Forgive them Father! They don’t know what
they are doing.” Jesus again proved that God is forgiving and
In Jesus Christ I have never seen a punishing God. After his resurrection
Jesus asked his disciples, to proclaim to the world about the loving
God he showed them throughout his life.
Though Christ’s death on the cross touched my life, what actually
lead to my repentance was his attitude towards his disciples after
his resurrection. None of his disciples stood by him during his time
of need. Still Jesus loved them and used the same team to proclaim
his message to the world. It is this love that touched my heart and
led me to repentance.