Here’s another group of people (to add to the list in my last post) that Jesus says will not participate in the kingdom of heaven (also called the kingdom of God). In my ebook about the kingdom of heaven, I restated this popular phrase in a couple of ways. The kingdom of God is
- The process of growth toward oneness.
- The movement toward unity.
- The potential toward harmony and working together of all things.
- The creative, driving force toward oneness (the harmonious working together of all things).
- The rising of unity in any place, both inside and outside of a person.
Notice that Jesus said, “The kingdom of God will be taken from you,” as if they already had it in their possession. And they did. God had blessed Israel. They were in the Promised Land. Even though they were under the supervision of another power, there was relative peace in the land.
However, when religious people put their faith in the Law and in egocentric dreams of ruling the land themselves instead of following the instruction and example of the One sent to demonstrate compassion and kindness, they will lose their peace.
This is a universal truth. Peace will disappear for any person or nation that places laws above people, retribution above forgiveness, punishment above rehabilitation, hoarding above distribution.
Hindsight prophecies are rarely heard because everyone has a better answer, but since it’s my blog, here are a few.
- If the US had forgiven the attack on the Twin Towers, spending money to insure the physical, mental, emotional, and financial care of the injured and the loved ones of those who died, terrorism would not have grown in leaps and bounds to the level it exists today. We did not act in a Christ-like way in response to 9-11 and we’ve multiplied our enemies instead of eliminated them. Repaying evil with evil fuels the cycle of evil. The kingdom of God is being taken away from us for our retaliatory sense of justice.
- Placing the earnings of wealthy (defined biblically as having more food, clothing, shelter than you need for the next couple of days) stock holders and corporate executives above employees has led to sending jobs overseas to take advantage of slave labor, massive layoffs to boost the bottom line, companies hiring temporary and part-time workers so they don’t have to pay health insurance or pensions, a widening of the gap between rich and poor (a disappearing middleclass), etc. I’m no economist but when the 1% have all the money in their bank accounts, who’s going to buy the cars, homes, toys, gasoline/oil, vacation rentals, etc., to keep their incomes growing and barns full? And when 90% are poor, there won’t be enough bombs or policemen to keep them peaceful. Of course, the poor will have plenty of guns to take matters into their own hands since the NRA wants no restrictions. With fear and greed ruling the land, the kingdom of God is being taken away from us.
- Let’s talk about immigration. Even the Old Testament says you should welcome the immigrant and stranger. I don’t know how well Israel was following scriptural guidance in the first century but today in the US there’s great resistance. Some are whipping us into a frenzy with fearful statistics about how legalizing those who are here illegally will drain us of our money. Some are building walls in the desert to try to slow down their entry. We’re turning away children who want an education and want to work, who seek hope in their lives. Yet, big business thrives on keeping aliens illegal. Many American business owners love to hire illegal aliens because they don’t have to pay minimum wage or pay social security. Others complain that if we make them legal, they’ll drain our Medicare money. Really? How many Mexicans over 65 do you see sneaking across the border? With the baby boomers starting to draw SSI, we need lots more legal aliens to pay the growing tab for SSI. The Medicare money will disappear if there are fewer legal workers to pay into it. Too much of that money already disappeared when it was placed in the hands of unethical politicians. We need to collect income taxes to pay for roads and infrastructures that are falling apart. The kingdom of God is being taken away from us in our lack of hospitality.
Are there no creative leaders in our country who can envision a way that we can work together to solve some of these issues? Are there so few followers of Jesus who are bold enough to go against the grain of the world – which promotes retaliation, selfish ambition, and exclusion?
In the words of Jesus, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” I don’t think there’s enough room in Switzerland for all of us who want the kingdom of God in our lives.
The benefits of a kingdom of unity are peace, harmony, joy, love, goodness, kindness, patience, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control. You don’t need any laws against these.
It’s your choice. Do you want the kingdom of God in your life?
Who will you follow? FoxNews? CNN? Rush Limbaugh? Stephen Colbert? A house divided cannot stand – nor can it possess the kingdom of God.
Shouldn’t we be following the example of Jesus? It’s the only way to bring unity and harmony back into the nation we love.
And yet, despite division and fighting in our own land, those who follow Jesus’s example will possess the peace of the kingdom of God today. They are the ones turning off the television and radio and going into the fields to do their part.