When I say that Jesus is a fount of wisdom, saying things that at first seem like non sequiturs but grow deeper with age, Exhibit A is this:
Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.–Jesus Christ
When I was younger, I just assumed Jesus meant that if you go around shaking your finger at people on Earth, then uh oh you’re in for a nasty surprise when you get to heaven and God gives you a taste of your own medicine.
But as I get older, I think Jesus is telling us how our minds have been designed. If you construct mental weapons with which to blow up people around you, you can’t help but turn them on yourself.
So when I encounter really critical people–like the guy on Facebook who saw the zombie video and told me matter-of-factly that the makeup job was worse than a 12-year-old’s on Halloween–I try not to be insulted. Instead, I focus on pitying that poor guy. Can you imagine how hard it must be to live in his shoes, using that framework to evaluate his life’s accomplishments up till that point?
And don’t say, “Bob, what are you talking about? Some of the most arrogant people I know, are hyper-critical jerks when it comes to others.” Exactly–I conjecture that they are compensating. They need to constantly praise themselves, in order to fend off that merciless voice within them that they have cultivated for decades. After all, they’ve seen firsthand its vicious power to shred anyone in its path.
So heed Jesus’ teaching. It’s not just to gain bonus points once we leave this planet. It’s to improve your life right now.