The Real Price Of Changing Hearts And Minds Is To Change Our Own, First.

I believe the Source (Spirit, Divine, Collective) has had me meditating on Jesus’ trial and how remarkable it was that He didn’t feel the need to defend Himself in the face of all the people who bore false testimony against Him. 

Also, when political and religious leaders asked questions, He cut to the heart of the matter instead of engaging in double-bind questions. He understood the dynamics at play, and instead of playing their game, He spoke directly to their heart. Jesus did not acknowledge or engage their traps. 

In other words, He knew how to steward his tongue and the energy His words would produce.

Many times, He could have put a verbal smackdown on his critics. He would have run circles around any person He could choose to debate. But, instead, He let His yes be a yes, and no be a no. He knew the weight of His words transcended time, and to be reactionary or flippant would undercut the life-giving teachings and examples He gave.

And yes, He certainly knew how to troll the hypocrites when it was time to do so. Unfortunately, the people of Israel didn’t often challenge this group of leaders and intellectuals. I bet the elite’s brains short-circuited when Jesus publicly called them “white-washed tombs” and “brood of vipers.” So, He was not afraid to speak truth to power because He understood His own. He didn’t allow others to misdirect His energy while He said words of Life. Instead of listening to Him, these vipers chose to dispense words of hurt, gossip, oppression, and lies.

In today’s current environment, everyone seems to feel they are required to have an opinion about everything. This cultural expectation of constantly needing to judge and speak about highly controversial issues as if we are all experts is problematic. In addition, mimicking double-bind talking points to accuse our neighbor on the other side of any topic of everything wrong in this world is alarming. 

It’s challenging because people today are like these old leaders and tend to treat their opinions as fact while stigmatizing, not simply disagreeing with others’ opinions. They love their perceived well-crafted verbal traps, not realizing they aren’t even interested in the truth. They love the game, the infotainment, not the truth. Then the “other side” plays the game with different chess pieces but on the same board, and the pressure level builds. The consequences of spiraling into combative disagreement as default in almost every situation have real negative relational and emotional health consequences.

Those same types of consequences murdered Jesus.

The self-righteous believed themselves righteous enough to murder their opponent. They felt it was necessary to turn yearning for truth followers into a violent mob willing to settle for false witnesses and empower their agenda. These vipers chose to inspire a conspiracy to kill love and truth in the name of love and truth. 

Empathy and compassion weren’t even on their radar. But Jesus was the personification of kindness and compassion because, as we would learn, He is love Incarnate, and love always wins.

Today, too many people see empathy and compassion as weak bullsh*t and undue. But empathy and compassion created the love that empowered the teachings of Christ. While He paid an unjust price with His life, his instructions have changed the lives of billions for the better ever since. 

We aren’t Jesus. That’s crystal clear. While we may face negative consequences for our beliefs, am I willing to place empathy and compassion as the only context for delivering my viewpoints? Or will I, we, continue to let Fox News and CNN define the chess board and let progressives and the religious right dictate our next moves as chess pieces?

I think I will at least try to go the way of Jesus and watch love win by changing hearts and minds to treat others as they would want to be treated by embracing the Divine power of empathy and compassion first.

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