People who are benevolent have somehow risen above their default human instinct. Naturally we are inclined to sacrifice the needs and wishes of others to benefit ourselves.
Jesus echoed the belief that a meaningful and purposeful life is based upon treating others with benevolence, as we would like to be treated (Matthew 7:12). In fact, he said that all of the teachings of Scripture and religion can be encapsulated in this one principle.
True spirituality is not about rigidly following religious rules. It’s not about trying to earn enough brownie points with God so he has no choice but to let us through the “Pearly Gates.” The essence of religion is not about belonging to a select group of people who have tricked themselves into being so nice they have forgotten how to be bad.
True religion springs from a heart that is so touched by God’s benevolence that it radically changes the way we view the world and others. True religion moves us away from constantly thinking and worrying about ourselves. It moves us to where we want to know how we can best help those around us.
Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.
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