Jesus said What!?!

“If we believe in anything we believe (as therapists)  that there is a way for people in collaboration to find the truth (and find healing)…” 

“Culture and life, what is trying to be stamped out of all of us is a tolerance of anything that isn’t exactly like we are..” ~ Mason Neely, Between Us Podcast

       This week I was listening to my friend John Totten’s podcast (Between Us a Psychotherapy Podcast), in my usual drive down to UCLA, when what was being said clicked with something sitting on the edges of my brain. Empathy and Connection, the act of engaging in the experienced and embodied space of those who appear to be “other” than one’s self is the crux to so many vital aspects of life. “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do,” these are the final words of the executed Christ, murdered by the state on the cross as a political criminal. 

       He dies with his hands up, like so many black and brown men and women in the United States (and around the globe), executed by a prejudice and racist government and policy. And yet his final words are forgiveness, empathy for the other, those who are responsible for his suffering and horrific death.  When we forget this origin or disconnect from it with neutered and saccharine versions of Christ’s death as a triumphant action or something we would never do because we know better, we will easily become those who are the one’s needing forgiveness for our lack of awareness of what we are doing. Empathy and connection will not allow us that delusion, rather they call us to hold the awareness that we are capable to do that which seems the most impossible. Peter less than twelve hours after swearing he would never betray Christ does, three times in fact. This passage stands to humble us all, to call us to engage differently. For those who claim the identity and label of Christ is the call to be marked by loving engagement with those who are other than us, loving those who are our enemies and blessing those who curse us. To be a people for whom love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness, self control are primary above all powers and principalities. Actions that are above all authorities civil or religious. This is the stuff of legends a rag-tag community of diverse people actively living out collaborative space while seeking truth and healing. These actions of Christ are not passive or weak or submission to abuse, but rather the rooted power of transformational love and nonviolent engagement, to which all oppressive powers, peoples, and governments have no ultimate defense against.

~ Jessi Knippel