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To Become Like God - Our Spiritual Destiny!

By: Michael Ketterhagen

“Be merciful as your Father is merciful.”

--Luke 6:36

I was a bit disturbed and confused this morning as our parish priest ended his homily by saying that because we were all “made in the image and likeness of God” that we must “be perfect like our heavenly Father is perfect.” I knew he was referring to Jesus’ exhortation above. However, I thought he was misquoting the passage, but I wasn’t sure because he sounded so “correct” and authoritative. 

Well, I had to find out for myself why this disturbed me so much.

First, even though I have often said that, according to the Judaeo-Christian Bible and the Yoga Tradition, humans are divine, infinite and perfect, I got the impression that the idea of us being perfect might feed our human desire to be perfect in every way. It might feed the perfectionist tendency within each of us.  We all know that we are not perfect and that the command to be perfect might feed our guilt for not fulfilling that divine command. That idea is not good for us, spiritually and psychologically.

Most of us identify with our bodily and our mental ego and don’t see that our divinity is referring to our essential spirit. So, commanding us to be perfect is commanding us to be saintly all the time. That’s not the way it is, as most of us know.

Secondly, after looking up Luke’s passage in many bibles, the translation is usually “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” or “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.”  Either of those translations is similar to the Yoga Sutra 1:33, “…embrac[e] friendliness, compassion, happiness, and non-judgment toward those who are happy, miserable, virtuous, and not-virtuous [respectively].”

I explored the Greek and Latin words a little further. From that, it seems as though the most accurate translation of the Greek and Latin is: “Become aware of or become knowledgeable about being merciful as your Father is merciful.” 

Being like God is a process. We can make mistakes along the way because we are learning to be merciful. Or as the Yoga Sutra says, we are “embracing friendliness, compassion (mercy), happiness and non-judgment.” It doesn’t mean that we are off the hook when we are not merciful. It means that we are on a journey to living up the image and likeness of God. Guilt should never enter the scene as long as we keep dedicating ourselves to that spiritual goal.

Eventually, our mind and body will follow our spiritual core’s direction, because we truly are in our essence divine, infinite and perfect—Pure DIPs.

I bow to the divinity within you! 

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