Monday, January 7, 2013

The Internal Steps of Doing Good ***

S. Matthew 6: 1 – 18

O. Jesus highlights the pitfalls of doing good acts and making sacrifices as well as how to pray. Upon first read of this scripture, I wonder if I should even be posting my journey through the New Testament. However, this is where I can explore scripture in my own special way, through careful analysis and consideration. I thought that important to state, as I was struggling with this.

A. When we create our good fruit and do our good acts, it is critical that we do so without the thought of being seen as good in the eyes of others or any reward we would receive by doing so. Once we have a thought of our own condition, the fruit and acts we produce and do become not wholesome.

Often, I’ve thought this the case. When we give someone something, or offer someone assistance, we cannot think about how this benefits us presently or in the future. It taints the gift, and it enslaves the person we wish to help. We must avoid this mentality in all the good that we do. This is critical.

Jesus also talks about prayer similarly. This is a private matter between us and God. To wear it on your sleeve or around your neck does not honor the connection. To do it on your own is important. Just going to church or wearing a cross is not enough; we must have that deep personal relationship with God. No matter how many times we repeat something, like a mantra, it is meaningless without that deep personal relationship.

When we do pray, it should be about being thankful; it should be about asking for forgiveness, strength and guidance. This needs to be deeply felt. It must be a genuine relationship with the Universe, with God. All that we have has been given to us.

Jesus re-emphasizes the lesson on forgiveness. We must first forgive all others before we’re forgiven by God. It cannot happen any other way. Forgiveness must also be deeply felt to be genuine and sincere. When you forgive someone, you must do so completely.

This teaching makes it absolutely certain to me. The internal steps we take are important, even more important than anything we do. Any good you do can be lost by the mental steps taken to do that good. The way we think and feel about others is important.

If we feel like others should suffer for what they’ve done to us, we’ve not forgiven them completely.  Wishing suffering on anyone is not good. Forgiving others is the only way to be rid of the negativity. We must be cognizant of our thoughts.  Otherwise, all that we do will be tainted by that negativity.

These are not easy things to do. However, they are worthwhile to make an effort to do, every day and in all that we do.

P. May I have a deep personal relationship with God.

Next Scripture: Matthew 6: 19 - 7:11

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