May this article find you mindful, calm, and enjoying this miraculous never-ending moment. It is Christmas-time again, so I wanted to share with you some inspiring quotes from one of the most enduring and influential spiritual teachers: Jesus.
But first, a caveat: as a gay person who endured much judgment and persecution from some people and institutions claiming to be Christian, I know that Christianity can be very triggering to those of us who have been harmed by deluded Christians.
We Are All Deluded
Moreover, I say “deluded” with great humility as an often deluded person myself. As Saint Paul said, who spoke from great personal experience, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:21) In other words, all of us have fallen pray to the delusions which distort our perceptions and understanding and cause us to act unskillfully in ways that harm ourselves and others. When we live from our deluded egos like this, we forget our true nature of boundless love. Or as Saint Paul puts it, we “…fall short of the glory of God.”
Thus, when I say “deluded” Christians, I am not implying that such Christians are misguided while I never am; that they are wrong and unworthy and I am right and superior. Instead, I just say “deluded” matter-of-factly, and free of all judgment, with love and compassion for them, just as I offer love and compassion to myself when I am ensnared by the compelling lies of delusion.
Silence = Death
Even though the Christian churches to which I attended as a youth did not preach judgment and hatred towards gay people, their silence on the subject meant that the churches that did preach delusion were more influential in shaping our culture on this issue. As a result, hatred and intolerance directed towards those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer in one way or another thrived and continues to thrive. Many LGBTQ folks have been killed, beaten, disowned, or emotionally scarred in one way or another due to this culture of judgment.
Sort the Wheat from the Chaff
Yet, having said all this, for those of us who have been burned by Christianity, it benefits us to not throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. Let’s appreciate and learn from what is good, kind, and skillful in Christianity and all wisdom traditions. In instances where the ego has corrupted the teachings, let us ignore those teachings; have compassion for those imprisoned by the egoic delusions; and teach love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness through our own example.
Christianity’s Core Message: Boundless Love for All Life
Although I had rejected Christianity for many years, thankfully my spiritual journey has helped me once again see the beauty, love, and wisdom of the faith of my upbringing. Part of this renewed appreciation for Christianity came from realizing that the judgment, hatred, condemnation, and violence of Christianity comes from the corrupting influence of ego, and not the true teaching of Christianity itself. Jesus advised his followers to “judge not” (Matthew 7:1), “love your enemies” (Luke 6:27-28) and “love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
Therefore, I have chosen quotes from Jesus that highlight these fundamental Christian values: unconditional love for all life; prioritizing spiritual growth over material possessions; self-sacrifice; renouncing the delusions of aversion and greed by embracing the joy of service and skillful living; and abiding in truth to see clearly and let go of those delusions.
I have also chosen quotes by Jesus that are more inclusive and applicable to everyone, whether a person of faith or not. At times, I paraphrase some of his quotes–denoted by using << >> instead of quote marks. This is so the core, loving meaning of his words is revealed in a more inclusive or understandable manner.
I’m Sorry. Please Forgive Me.
Whether you are Christian or not, I hope you find the words of Jesus included here uplifting, inspiring, and heartwarming. If any of what I say still triggers you, I apologize. Please ignore anything in this article that upsets you. That is why there are many wisdom traditions, both religious and secular, that at their core teach the same message of truth, love, and service. This gives us the freedom to ignore all that we find unhelpful, and just focus on those teachings that resonate with us, inspire us, and serve us in a truly beneficial manner.
Thank you for any and all patience, understanding, goodwill, and forgiveness that you are willing to offer to me.
Inspiring Quotes by Jesus
Without further ado, let’s get to the quotes. All quotes by Jesus are from the New International Version Bible.
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
“…the Kingdom of God [also known as ‘heaven’] is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
<<Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.>> (Matthew 6:34)
<<'Love the source of life and love with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All of the spiritual Laws and all wisdom teachings hang on these two commandments.>> (Matthew 22:37-40)
<<Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall know inner peace. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their skillful actions, for they shall know inner compassion and joy.>> (Matthew 5:9-10)
<<Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of your kindness and love towards others. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great are your spiritual rewards.>> (Luke 6:22-23)
“Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
<<...do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet life lovingly feeds them... Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?>> (Luke 12:22-34)
“…the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Blessings for You
I hope you found these quotes to be inspiring and heartwarming. Those that resonated with you, review often, that they may further encourage your spiritual growth.
May your heart be open, courageous, and loving. May your mind be balanced, calm, and mindful. May your body be healthy, strong, and relaxed. Have a glorious 2019 filled with love, peace, and joy.
With deep gratitude and love,