How often do we see ourselves clearly? And how often do we put ourselves down, dislike ourselves, or even hate ourselves? If we’re like most people, unfortunately the answer is pretty often, as in whenever we do something wrong or not well enough. “I’m so stupid!” we say to ourselves, or “How could I be so dumb!” Maybe we think we’re ugly if our features don’t match up to the “perfection” of the air-brushed images of models we see in advertisements. Maybe we think we’re ignorant if our brains don’t function as quickly as intellectuals we might know. Or maybe we don’t seem as pious and pure as some religious folk we know. We just don’t seem good enough, and we don’t like ourselves because of it. In these cases, what vision are we holding of ourselves? Is it a godly vision? Does God “look down” on us, enumerating all of our human imperfections and shaking His head in disdain? Is what we are human? Well, partly, but the essence of who and what we are is spirit.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
There is a term, the “spirit of the law”, which means the original intent of the creator of the law. Then the “letter of the law”, is the literal interpretation of the created law. If we apply these terms to our identity, then the “spirit of the law” would be who we are in spirit – children of God, while the “letter of the law” would be our outer human appearance and actions. When Jesus healed on the Sabbath there were those – the Pharisees – who objected to this, citing the letter of the law of the 4th Commandment to do no work on the Sabbath. Yet the spirit behind the law was to keep the Sabbath holy, and what is more holy than healing? Likewise, what is more holy than who we really are? Can our outer appearance or behavior determine whether or not our spiritual identity is holy?
Conversely, if our outer appearance or behavior is “pure” does that necessarily mean that our intent is pure? If our intent lines up with who we are in spirit, then our actions will be pure even if they do not seem to conform to the “letter of the law” regarding purity. This is what Jesus demonstrated and taught when he healed on the Sabbath. Those who were not aligned with their spiritual identity could not “see” this. All they could see was the letter of the law. In this way, those who are aligned with their spiritual identity can “see” the beauty of Mother Teresa, while those who are not see beauty only in what appeals to their outer senses.
Psalm 82: A Plea for Justice
God had taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
Give justice to the weak and to the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk around in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
I say, “You are gods,
children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
for all the nations belong to you!
Perhaps what is written about in this psalm, in part, is the justice of claiming who we really are – children of the Most High God. Perhaps what is wicked is the thought that we are less, that what we are is human and naught else, and that our merit and our worth is determined by how we measure up to earthly standards. This is what the Pharisees were all about; in being obsessed with outer appearances they were coming from their minds and identifying themselves exclusively as human, all the while appearing as pious and pure in following the outer law, while Jesus came from the heart with the purest of intentions, honoring the spirit of the law and his own spiritual identity in God.
Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” John 10:30. For this the Jews wanted to stone him for blasphemy, but he turned their law back on them and said, “Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods?” John 10:34 Even so – even though Jesus cleverly invoked their own law, they sought to harm him – to silence him. There is a saying, “There are none so blind as they who will not see.” Jesus called these the “blind leading the blind” (Luke 6:39) – the blind that will not see leading the blind that cannot see through the fog of their illusions. Some will see if they are led properly, the other will never see. Do you see?
Open my eyes that I may see
Who I really AM.
I love You.