If you can, make time to watch the documentary Beyond (about 45 minutes) from Joey L. and friends. It covers their trip to Varanasi, India to complete his project Holy Men, and the imagery is stunning. If you don't have the time, then jump ahead to 40:45, where Magesh, a Aghori sadhu, sums up his spirituality.
That's what I want to focus on here.
Here's a partial transcript of Magesh's comments:
And see Sun.
He's a friend of the whole world.
He doesn't say, "I am your enemy, I cannot come to your house."
Even though you are an enemy, you are a friend.
He comes to everyone.
Just like that--we should also be...
Showing brightness to everyone.
I was riveted to my seat as he spoke, because it sounded familiar:
He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45b, CEB)
This dude had my attention. An Aghori sadhu in Varanasi, India named Magesh, whether he knew it or not, was paraphrasing Jesus. I decided to go back to the context of that line from Jesus.
You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.
(Matthew 5:43-50, CEB)
And it clicked.
Love your neighbour? Check... I've heard it before.
Love your enemies? Check... I've heard that one too.
He makes the rain fall yada yada yada? Again yes, I've heard it before.
But I'd never really understood the entire passage. I'd never put it all together before.
Friends, neighbours, enemies, righteous, unrighteous; it just doesn't matter. In the big picture--from God's point, as Magesh beautifully put it--we are not seen that way, so, simply put, we are not that way.
Jesus wasn't telling us to make this massive, magnanimous gesture and love even the bad apples. He was saying, I believe, that this is not the way we are.
We are all the same. Exactly the same. And we are all connected.
Friends, neighbours, righteous folks? They are me. Love them.
Enemies, unrighteous types? They are me. Love them.
Love everyone, because everyone is me, and I am everyone.
Easier said than done of course, so we better get started.