“Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
– Jesus. Matthew 5:6
It’s common for us to say that we don’t want to go to extremes, but there’s a tendency I’ve found within myself which twists whatever true meaning that may have into an excuse to never actually pursue any sort of virtue (a synonym of the word ‘righteousness’) or character development.
For example, talking about forgiveness is in vogue with relation to the death of Nelson Mandela, & the increasingly publicized story of Malala Yousafzai. When looking at their example we become inevitably inspired. We aspire to display that kind of love, and see the transformation that results from it. Jesus has, almost indisputably, been the impetus for more radically forgiving individuals in history than any other. Christians add worship to simple admiration of Jesus, based on the belief that his claims to deity are true, unique, and thus that He deserves our allegiance. The carry-over of all of this into the conflicts we experience with loved ones, with co-workers, with close friends, and with enemies is, to state the obvious, where the rubber meets the road. It’s where we look at Mandela & Yousafzai, and especially Jesus, as “extreme” examples.
The irony about this post is that I did not have those examples written down on my draft. Now, in a moment of reflection, & looking back at the last two paragraphs, I recognize that I did not display that kind of forgiveness literally two hours ago with a loved one. I was embarrassed by something they said in public, harmless enough but triggering some point of insecurity in my lymbic-system. Like a tidal wave, a chemical rush of self-preserving emotion made it extremely difficult for me to forgive and easier to retaliate, not satisfied with a simple apology.
To scrap whatever else I had written, my choices in relation to Jesus’ words here are to “be full” or “be hungry”.
I can fill up on the self-promoting act of finishing writing a blog post about “righteousness”, with whatever theological or literary thoughts I wrote on a night when I was not experiencing how it was relevant to my life.
Or, I can be hungry. Desiring to be like Jesus, I can, with his power & after his example, let a little piece of my pride die by asking for and giving forgiveness. I can be just a bit extreme and get up right now to act on this, leaving this post with all of its’ loose ends.