Beware Those Pretending to Promote Judeo-Christian Values

WolfinfleeceJudeo-Christian values are found in the two-fold law of love: to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves (cf. Lk. 10:26-28). The Ten Commandments, it is said, were split into two tablets, one which was about our relationship with God, and the other with our relationship to our neighbor, to the rest of humanity.

Moses and Jesus both gave particulars in which these laws were to be followed. At the heart of both laws remains the truth of love, the commitments which love places upon us for the other.  We are to see and do all things in and through God, in the vision and understanding we have of God, with God and his love for his creation at the forefront of our heart. God is a God of love, a God of mercy, a God of the poor; we are to follow the example of God and treat others as we would have God treat us. We are poor without God. As we receive the riches of God’s bounty, so we shall render our love and aid to those before us who are poor, needing what we have to give. Judeo-Christian values are those which recognize our poverty and weakness, which accept and embrace our own poverty with a poorness in spirit which seeks not undue attachment to the things of the world through avarice.  Thus, Jesus preached about the value of the kingdom of God which we are to embrace:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:2-10 RSV).

We must seek and embrace the path of righteousness. We must be meek, not arrogant or boastful, loving others with a spirit of mercy and not with an arrogance which ends up lording it over others for our own benefit. If we want to be in the kingdom of God, we must cleanse ourselves of our attachment to worldly glory and let God give us our own, new pure garment which we should seek to preserve:

Then, let us preserve the garment with which the Lord clothed us as we emerged from the Holy Font. The garment is soon torn if our actions are not fitting; it is soon weakened by the moths of the flesh and stained by the error of the old man.[1]

We must work out our salvation with much fear and trembling, keeping pure and without stain what God has rendered to us. We must embrace the spirit of the kingdom of God, the values which God has revealed in and through the humble powerlessness of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Do we want to see God? Let us keep to that purity. Do we want to be filled with the blessings of grace?  We must first embrace our poverty and hunger after the true riches revealed in the virtues preached by Jesus and his Apostles,  with the greatest of  these virtues being faith, hope and love. We must preserve the spirit of peace instead of seeking the violence of war and the accumulations of the weapons of mass destruction. Those who want to promote Judeo-Christian values will promote these, for it is in this spirit Moses himself said:

You shall not utter a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man, to be a malicious witness. You shall not follow a multitude to do evil; nor shall you bear witness in a suit, turning aside after a multitude, so as to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his suit. If you meet your enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the ass of one who hates you lying under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it, you shall help him to lift it up. You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his suit.  Keep far from a false charge, and do not slay the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the officials, and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. You shall not oppress a stranger; you know the heart of a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Ex. 21:1-9 RV).

If we want to proclaim a return to Judeo-Christian values, these are what must be ever before us, and in and through them we shall have the wisdom by which our nation can be directed. The poor, the needy, the weak, the unhealthy, those unjustly attacked and persecuted, those suffering great loss through the ravages of nature, those who flee from their homeland and take flight as strangers in a strange land, all of these will be those who we will seek to help and promote. We must seek for the promotion of the common good.

But woe to those who ignore these values and pervert them, trying to proclaim themselves as their promoters while doing the reverse:

But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets (Lk. 6:24-26 RSV).

Those who seek their own self-gain at the expense of others, praising themselves and their own greatness, are far from the kingdom of God and its values.  Christians must not let themselves be defrauded by pretenders who would drag them through the mud of Satanic desire, soiling the pure garment of faith God entrusted to them. They must not accept the fleshly boasts of carnal men who brag about their greatness, for in reality their hands are little, and their work for God is little to non-existent. They will entice many through their self-made glory, but no one should accept the illusion of grandeur which surrounds them. The anger and hatred they give to all who oppose them, even in the slightest, demonstrates how far they are from the values of the kingdom of God.  They might have risen high up in society but they have already received their consolation and reward; everything which is not on the stable rock of truth will come crashing down.  “But those who are of God keep the Faith and therefore cannot suffer from the moth which divides the garment. For everything which is divided within itself, like the kingdom of Satan, cannot be everlasting”.[2]

 

[Image=Wolf In Sheep’s  Clothing by unknown  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]


 

[1] St. Ambrose, Exposition of the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke. trans. Theodosia Tomkinson (Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 2003), 164.

[2] St. Ambrose, Exposition of the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke, 24.

 

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