Tag: Jesus

Borrowing and lending: What Jesus tells us about lending money?

Moneylending is a serious issue since time immemorial. It is painful, to know how people are enslaved in numerous ways by moneylenders. Many times poor people spend their entire life or even generations to pay off their interests. Usurers extract land, labour, assets, farm produce etc in return. This money lending business is killing many poor people and enslaving many for life. Money lending with interests always worsens the plight of the poor.

When I come across such cases of exploitation, I always think what Jesus said about lending and borrowing. How God commanded Moses to tell His people to lend?

Mosaic Law tells, “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest” (Exodus 22:25). In Deuteronomy 23:19, it prohibits charging interest in any form such as food, money or anything else.   Mosaic Law tells us this, basically for two reasons, first: interest bearing loan would aggravate the difficulties of the poor and secondly: God promised a blessing on the gracious lender that would far surpass any interest he would make. Moreover, this law strongly encourages community living by proposing, every creditor must cancel their debts every seven years (Deuteronomy 15:1). However, the law does tell borrowers to work to return their debts (Psalm 37:21) but it does not encourage lenders to impose interest or forcefully collect the loan.

When the Mosaic Law of 3500 years tells not to lend with interest, what Jesus tells us about this? He says “do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42). He then tells us to lend freely without expecting a return. He goes one step further by telling even don’t expect any return from the needy. He not only tells us to give to our friends but also to enemies in need. He says, “But love your enemies and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35). He strongly emphasizes to give freely, without interest and even in worse cases give without even expecting anything in return. Jesus tells “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

It encourages to give freely and promises a return of our gracious giving from God.  By giving He tells us, we will not become poor rather he tells us our ability to produce wealth comes from God (Deuteronomy 8:18) and it is God who sends both poverty and wealth; He humbles and He exalts” (1 Samuel 2:7).

When we live in a community we should live interdependently and equality and justice help us all live joyful and meaningful lives rather than living lavishly at the cost of others.  When we are connected to God vertically and to people horizontally in love, it sums up everything. As He blesses freely, it is expected we too bless others freely.

But how far have we gone in the other ways? I wonder where the increasing individualism would take us.

The faultless, the nationalist and the holier-than-thou.

Recently, I read in the social media about an Indian couple who beat up a wheelchair user in a theater for not standing during the national anthem in Goa. How sickening is this?

This is not an isolated incident in the country. These incidents, however, may not be called a trend, but has been increasingly reported in the last 10 years and very much in the media since past couple of years. It may be because these incidents have increased in past years or the media cover of these types of cases have increased. No matter whether it has increased or has been constant in the past 70 years of freedom, it definitely does not seem healthy for a free society.

People are openly beaten up or even lynched for eating certain kind of meat (beef). Couples are trashed in public parks for being together. Night parties have been attacked by a group of people who claim to be the makers of a better society (what an irony?). Some are even beaten up for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ (Hail mother India)  as few believe it is the way to prove patriotism. A few media channels have promoted themselves from being neutral reporters to the judges of highest courts (of their own standards) by making judgments and declaring people guilty and even pointing out the anti-nationals.

 Poor people are beaten up for transporting cattle in the name of stopping the slaughter and are seized unlawfully, but later the cattle is sold by the same people for profit. This is one of the few businesses which includes no hard work but returns both fame and money.

The driver of a bigger vehicle would most probably be beaten up by passersby if he hits a smaller vehicle on the road even if it is not his fault. Tragically enough, people are more bothered to beat up the driver than to call an ambulance or take the victim to a hospital.

People from Bihar and UP have been trashed in their own country (in Mumbai) because some believe that they have the highest form of lawless behavior in the country. One must find out how lawful it is to beat somebody up unlawfully. In my opinion, it is nothing less than the Nazis who believed that Jews were the destroyers of the civilizations, however, they never realized that they themselves were the uncivilized and the real destroyers of civilization.

Everyone thinks they are better than the other person. Self-righteous people of every religion portray others as inferior all the time. Self-declared patriots threaten others’ right to celebrate patriotism in their own ways. Many of us do not miss any opportunity to point fingers at a person with a fault and sometimes, even without any fault, people beat up others just because they can.

Every time I hear about such incidents, one thing that comes to my mind is the incident where a woman was brought to Jesus convicted of adultery by the preachers of the laws and some self-righteous people. They asked Jesus whether the woman should be stoned, as the laws says an adulterous woman must be stoned to death. I admire what Jesus replied to this. He said “If anyone of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. Hearing the reply, all of them who accused the woman left the place one after another and as the verse emphasizes ‘the older ones first’. 😉 John – 8: 3-10.

In the same way, are we all not guilty of any sin? Are we not humans who commit mistakes in our daily lives? In other words, when Men visit brothels, it is gratifying their sexual needs but women in the brothels are called whores and secluded from the society in a way that jeopardizes their health and well-being. In addition to this, rapists and people indulging in violence against women in their homes are teaching how women should dress and when they should go out, under the banner of culture, tradition and religion.

If we take a moment and look within and be empathetic before we judge and disgrace others for their mistakes or raise our fingers, the world would be a much better place.

Let the law of the state, which is intended to maintain order in the society take its course. Why are we becoming so judgemental and self-righteous and taking law into our own hands?

Let he who is free of sin throw the first stone…

Finally, one thing I have observed in my life is that the higher the level of hypocrisy in a person the more judgmental she/he tends to be and more the finger pointing. I may be wrong in my observations, scientific study needed. LOL.

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”. Jesus in Matthew 7:5

Thanks

God bless

Virtues that can change our lives

The world seems to be over speeding, no time for contemplation, quiet time & calmness. Practicing, being still is considered foolishness. Many of us don’t care about virtues and morals anymore. Many of us have rejected the moral law giver and think we can decide what is right and what is wrong by ourselves. Pleasure and comfort are all over the place. Character building is a forgotten subject. Anyway!!

Benjamin Franklin in the year of 1726 developed a system to build his character. At that time he was just 20 years old.

I read this in his Autobiography and wanted to share with you all. These virtues that he had listed down are not universal but for his own life. However, all these virtues are equally important for our lives too. You can add more or reduce, but these are examples which might help developing yours.

He developed this system and dedicated this plan to God and started practicing. He failed many times but never gave up. And we all know, what a wonderful life he lived.

Following are the virtues he listed down for his life (taken as it is from his Autobiography). It is not to follow as it is but an example which can help.

Virtues Explanation
Temperance Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Silence Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation
Order Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time
Resolution Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve
Frugality Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Industry Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions
Sincerity Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly
Justice Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty
Moderation Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve
Cleanliness Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloths, or habitation
Tranquillity Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Chastity Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation
Humility Imitate Jesus and Socrates

He had also developed a weekly calendar in order to see how many times a day he fails to practice. Following table is the example.

13 Virtues Chart

Character building and developing virtues requires discipline and it takes time and effort. But where there is a will, there is grace also. As seen in the life of Benjamin Franklin, it did him a whole lot of good. So, I hope it helps all of us in our pursuit of character building.

Thank you

God Bless

A beautiful Easter morning….

Yesterday, was a beautiful experience of Easter morning at our hospital campus….

The Local Mennonite Church had organised the Easter morning service at  the graveyard like every year. But for me it was a first time experience…

There was a candle march from the church to the graveyard at 4 O’clock in the morning. And we had our worship at the graveyard followed by some programs by children. Families decorated the graves with flowers and candles…looked beautiful…

Whenever I visit Graveyards, it makes me humble and reminds me of the truth that I have come from dust and my body will melt away to dust. Why pride, ego, hatred and competition??? What am I going to achieve that I can carry with me… ? it encourages me to live fully, being joyful, love wholeheartedly and make peace….What a great preacher is the graveyard!!! But visiting graveyard on an Easter morning was a complete different experience.

The beautiful early morning turned into a wonderful experience as we worshiped the Almighty God. Families remembering their loved ones, who have passed away and an assurance that we all will meet in heaven one day. In John 11:25-26 Jesus said  “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”.

It was indeed a serene morning….hearty worship….above all the joy of Easter….“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.” (Romans 6:9).

Yes!!! Through his resurrection He gives hope and assurance in life everyday…..but on Easter we just celebrate it differently…and that’s beautiful too….

Some of the photographs of the event:

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…1 Peter 1:3

Thank You

God Bless….