Hindu Weddings and Judgement

(Two distinct topics.)

I really liked this passage from a little booklet they handed out at Vik and Pratheepa’s wedding, explaining the different parts of the ceremony and their significance:

Sapda Padi – Seven Steps

The couple will then take their seven steps together making prayer and taking a vow at each step. It is said in Hindu philosophy that two people who walk seven steps together will remain lifelong friends….

The seven promises are:

1. Let us provide for our household, keeping a pure diet and avoiding those things that might harm us
2. Let us develop our physical, mental and spiritual strength
3. Let us increase our wealth by righteous and proper means
4. Let us acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect, and trust
5. Let us be blessed with strong, virtuous, and healthy children. May our lives be purposeful toward the welfare of all living beings
6. Let us practice self-restraint and longevity. Let us pray that our atmosphere is clean and pure
7. Let us be true companions and life-long partners

I’m attempting to read the Sermon on the Mount every day this week (since Thursday) and it’s been so good for me. Reading the part that says “judge not, lest you be judged” over and over again is so so convicting. I’ve been pondering what, biblically, is our role in correcting others. I haven’t done an extensive study on the topic, but it does seem that, while Jesus does give certain commands regarding our righteousness, most of his instruction regarding our role seems to be along the lines of “DON’T judge” and “get the plank out of your own eye.” And even then, after we get the plank out, it’s our “brother’s” eye we are to de-speck.

All this is to say that I think the easiest thing to do is to judge people. Especially people of other faiths or people with no professed faith (I think it is impossible to live without faith in something.) As Christians we are called to love others, our friends, our enemies, our families and our God. We (I include myself in all of this), have been guilty of belittling God’s and the Holy Spirit’s ability (and responsibility) to convict people of their sins. Somehow we are under the impression that unless we call out people’s bad behavior and evil tendencies, they will never know that they are wrong… We are so quick to say to ourselves and each other “I can’t believe they did that” or “I would never do something like that!” when in fact the Gospel we are supposed to believe in vehemently contradicts such pride. Our pride and insecurities lead us to call others to righteousness when they as non-believers are separate from the very power that makes righteousness possible. This is a bigger topic than I care to tackle at the moment (and I doubt I could do it well even if I wanted to), but it seems to me that to seek behavior modification on a large scale through the legislation of morality is really just to seek government enforced hypocrisy. Who wants that?

In the gospels, when Jesus encountered people hypocritically pointing out the sins of others (and readying stones to throw), with nary a thought of their own profound spiritual difficulties before a just and holy God, he quickly put an end to it. Jesus’ repeated call to “Go and sin no more”, both a command and an empowerment, is so gracious. He does not feel the need to call out a sinner’s history in public, they know. And perhaps, whenever any person has a real encounter with Jesus, they will inevitably feel the full weight of their sin even as it is lifted lovingly off their shoulders.

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~ by justinhong on June 11, 2012.

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