Perspective Part 2

Is it possible that for all these years Greek scholars have been translating this passage incorrectly: “If you love me keep my commandments”? Is it possible that religion got it wrong?

As a former high school English teacher, I say yes! On two counts: the context and the collective consciousness.

First, the context: Jesus has just said some of his strongest words to Peter, one of his closest friends, “Get behind me Satan!”

Peter and all the disciples are shocked. Peter was simply saying what they all felt and believed. “God won’t let this happen to you!” But Jesus needed them to hear him and understand. He wanted and needed their support. He wants to get them ready for the pain that is coming.

He leaves the topic of his crucifixion and tells them that soon he will be leaving them. They are so sad. They are still hanging onto the idea that he will be crowned king. They don’t understand. They ask lots of questions which he is answering, trying to comfort them and reassure them that everything is unfolding according to plan. So it is highly unlikely that he would throw in a challenge and say, If you love me, keep my commandments.

Especially since his very next words are. “And I will ask my Father and He will send you another comforter.” (emphasis mine) He is still comforting, and if the true translation is, “If you love me, my commands will keep you,” his commands or commandments would be the first comforter.

How do his commands comfort? In much the same way that a child or a dog are comforted by knowing who is in charge. Then they can relax and calm down. They are safe. It’s one of the functions of boundaries. We know what is truth. We know what to believe. We know true north. No more running down blind alleys.

There is security, peace and comfort in knowing the truth about God.

Secondly, the collective consciousness couldn’t have wrapped around “…My commands will keep you.” It made no sense to them. God was a God to serve, as in slaves obey your masters. They had no concept of God’s ways keeping us. Don’t ask me why—the whole Old Testament is full of,  “If you will keep my laws and walk in my ways, none of these curses will fall on you…but you will be my special (favored) people–blessed beyond belief.”*

I can only think it was because they feared God rather than loved Him. They thought He brought the curses. Fear filtered their perspective. It kept them from seeing Him as Love. They had a dualistic picture of God: He was both good and evil.

Many people suffer from that perception of God now: God is scary, demanding, and vengeful. Others see him as ok with anything–He just hopelessly loves.

But the whole of Scripture shows a balanced picture of Almighty God. He isn’t scary but he is all-powerful. He isn’t vengeful, but he does have good boundaries. He isn’t weak, but he loves freedom. He has no evil; he is love, a love strong and wise enough to end evil when every question is answered and everyone has clearly chosen one side or the other. In the end everyone gets what they really want–based on their choices.

*Deuteronomy 7:12-15

For the best picture of  God, go to



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Filed under A God perspective, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...

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