I recently read a quote in a book that said, “Morality can keep you out of jail, but only the blood of Christ can keep you out of hell”. I was having such a beautiful time reading all of the inspirational quotes in the book until I came to this one. It was one of those moments when it feels as though someone kicked you in the stomach. But I believe in these moments. I really believe that they are points when we must focus on the cause of our windedness. I thought about it for a while and suddenly it came to me that this did not really have to be as wrong as it felt. After all, there really is no literal blood of Christ stored in churches throughout the world to give to believers, but, there is the symbolic meaning of that blood. Everything is symbolic. The fist sized organ that beats in our chests, is the physical symbol for love, or Love, which to me is the word that describes what I believe to be God. So, regardless of who one believes Christ was, the fact that a reference to his blood would be a reference to Love and Compassion is rather universal. Now, I do not believe in hell as a place where we go when we die. I do believe that hell is a state of mind in which we live if we live without love and compassion in our hearts.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a and 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
With this view, that the blood of Christ is Love and compassion, then the quote is true. People and even characters come to symbolize different acts, different energies. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., represent peaceful resistance. Hitler represents the most horrific acts that can be done to a people. Abraham Lincoln represents freedom from oppression. Hercules, and Superman represent the unstoppable hero. The name Jesus Christ represents unconditional love in its highest form and peace at all costs. It represents the feeling of laying down ones live for the sake of another, but never taking a life. It represents one who owns nothing, and values nothing of the world – only those things of the heart. It represents one who focuses only on that which is not visible, and not perishable, all that is eternal and everlasting.
And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Jesus is the representation of all that is spiritual, life giving and life affirming. Satan, on the other hand all that is material – all that is not love. Jesus represents “Turn the other Cheek”, Satan represents, “Go to war until you win”. Jesus represents what I give, Satan represents what I take. When we live from our hearts, sharing, giving, loving, accepting, understanding and forgiving – we are in the “Kingdom of Heaven”. When we value what we can own, when we need to own things or people, we become like addicts, constantly needing more just to maintain the same level of high. We become jealous, possessive, fearful, envious, hateful, and judgmental; all of these emotions create an energy within us that can only be likened to living in hell. Reading that quote was very important to me, it gave me an “Aha” moment. The word ‘inspired’ as the Bible is considered by many to be, means “In Spirit”. If we remember that the Torah and the New Testament are compilations of writings from many sources, and many writings that were once contained in them have been removed for various reasons. To be truly inspired, something must have eternal life, it must be able to grow in meaning as we grow in our ability to understand.
There is a beautiful book written by Og Mandino, called, “The Greatest Miracle In The World”, it is a tiny but moving book. In it one of the main characters refers to certain books as, “Hand of God” books. Many of the books which make up the Bible are inspired. First, there is love that comes into the reader from the words on the page and second, they are timeless because they refer to the experience of the soul. They contain the wisdom that will lead not to a wonderful hereafter, but to a wonder-filled here. Many of the books are not inspired, they are more clearly contrived in order to control, perhaps at the time benevolently, the people of the time, like most of Leviticus. The quote that so irked me when I first read it, allowed me to move through my own judgment and see a meaning far greater, I am sure, than the one who wrote the quote. The Buddha did not believe in God, and yet, he shared the blood of Christ – love and compassion. I am certain that there are many Atheists who also share the same blood, because they Love.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. John 1:4-7