For me, it is the way I live in relation to others: trying to behave with kindness, compassion, mercy, fairness, unselfishness, helpfulness, understanding. Like everyone else, I am not always successful. I pay much less attention to the rituals of my faith and do not focus so much on prayer. Sometimes I don’t consider myself a “good Jew” because of my lack of attention to these things even though I strive to live a righteous (not self-righteous) life in keeping with the moral values of Judaism, as I interpret them.
What are the important criteria for you with respect to your religion, or non-religion?
I can relate as I have also walked this way. I felt there was an incorrect union so I made it point to pray daily, by doing this following the Church rituals seems to naturally fall in place. Certainly I see this now as interconnected through conscious thus moral-ethical behavior, also my own behavior seemed to become much more apparent thus corrections. The story still unfolds though. Mystery to be sure, which opened my mind to rethinking much with behavior.
Better interaction with man in genaral in relation to the above. Open dialogue helps, yet a good example is hard to miss also. While we can’t achieve perfection here, I know we all can do a little better in this difficult period we are all called to participate in.
My dear brother Meltzerboy, I second the above poster and am with you also
For me the best summation of this is 1 John:
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love…God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love…If anyone says, I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
Whoever you may be, always have God before your eyes; whatever do, do it according to the Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it. Keep these three percepts and you will be saved.
Do not trust in your own righteousness, do not worry about the past, but control your tongue and your stomach.
Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ.
Remember what you have promised God, for it will be required of you on the day of judgment.
–From the sayings of Abba Anthony the Great, the Father of the Monks
I disagree with what appears to be the premise of the thread (that things might be ordered so as to consider certain parts of the faith somehow less essential than others; this is in direct violation of Christ, who taught us in teaching those of His day that “these you should have done without leaving the others undone”), but in terms of maxims by which we might live, I can’t think of anything better than the above. Pray, fast, control your tongue, love and do not scandalize your neighbor, and be mindful of God in all things. Everything is some variation of these, and even one of them is enough to spend your whole life working at. So really, even just one is good. I’m reminded of a story I heard recently in sermon about a monk who did not keep a strict fast, who was not blessed with miracles, and was generally not thought of highly by his brothers. When he became advanced in age and was close to death, his brothers noticed that he smiled more and more, and seemed altogether at peace. Confused, they asked him why he was so at peace, despite his failings. He responded, “All my life, I have had one commandment of Christ by which I have tried to live – ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ I have never judged another, so I am comforted in this, that the Lord may have mercy in judging me.”
To love the way Jesus did. With a compassionate heart for others.
When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment? Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The most important thing would be to love which have been expressed quite efficiently by many of the posters above. Christians love or the love of God rather (as in 1 Cor 13 or the self sacrificing love of Jesus) is not easy to practice. In fact mere humans like us would not be able to do it on our own strength. We can do it though by remaining in Christ (John 15) so that we bear much fruit (love). Since to love is easier said than done, as Catholic therefore I need the grace of God to really be able to do it. The grace of the Sacraments is a transforming grace that makes me able to be more and more like Jesus everyday.
Thanks and I readily agree with you. Denying ourselves and suffering for the sake of Christ can fall under the first greatest commandment – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Mt22:37). That love may involve suffering but which we do with joy, a Christian’s irony, because of the hope that we have for the things to come.
Just back from a gathering where the topic of a teaching was “Be Good to Others”, a follow up on about how to love with the love of God. Among other things it teaches us just to be good to others regardless whether (humanly speaking) they deserve it or not.
Give generous tip even if the service is terrible so as to plant a seed of love on the waiter/waitresses.
If you have money, try to sponsor those in needs in order to alleviate their difficulties. Pick one such person and pay his/her rent for a month. Offer to baby sit if they have travel plan without the children. If you see a beggar soliciting, tell a restaurant owner to give what he wants to eat and pay for it.
If you are in the office, maybe prepare a cup of coffee too for a colleague during tea break even though he may never do that to you.
Give way for a car who wants to cut queue in a congested traffic. When you look for parking lot in a busy shopping mall and when you see a car reversing to get out, don’t go in, give it to the car behind you. The Lord may give you another as you move on.
What we have is from God’s bountiful blessing and when we give it away we are giving it back to God, and as we can never out do Him in generosity, He will give us even more blessings in return.
People have heard lots of sermons on Christian’s love; now they want to see that actually happens in reality.
Those are fine virtues and of course every christian should be likewise. But to emphasize those is to entirely miss what christianity is all about which is to change the entire inside of the person.
Paul explained that when he said “Be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”
Christianity goes far beyond normal heathen values. It is based on a change inside that changes the entire person. It is the highest calling of greatness.
It starts with Gods Law “You shall love the Lord God with all your heart and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” and the Gospel Message of Gods love and forgiveness.
Our response to this message should be to live a life of repentance and faith in that message and allow Gods love to fill our heart.
We should not use the term “good” for anything about us. We step into the shoes of Jesus who would never allow anyone to call Him good. We do not judge others and not even ourselves as we are not judged.