For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus speaks of righteousness and deviation from the law. He compares the righteousness of the Pharisees and Teachers of the law to the sort of righteousness that we should be pursuing. In so doing he brings to light the fact that there has been a loss of purity in the worship and experience of the power within us. His tone appears harsh and reprimanding, but he speaks like one who has authority and wisdom gained from experience of the words that he preaches. There are times in life when you must take hard vocal or physical action in order to prevent a person erring or endangering themselves. Jesus was speaking out of compassion and love. He was seeking the welfare of those who he spoke to. His message is delivered with deliberate urgency like one who has seen that another is about to be hit by a vehicle or to fall pray to a wild animal. The message is delivered in this way so that we may be prompted to wake up from our reverie and see for ourselves how warped our lives can become. We have created a society that grades the gravity of sin, defilements or impurity in our lives. We have categorised crimes into major and minor deviations from morality but the level of morality to which we hold ourselves accountable is such that we are giving approval to things that are evidently defiling the purity of the spirit within us.
You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement.
You have heard that it was said ‘do not commit adultery’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5 27-28
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.
But I tell you do not swear at all.
Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’.
Without the practice of meditation or awareness therapy only the severe repercussions of our behaviour and thought patterns are within our realm of consciousness. There is a tendency to react compulsively to external stimuli. We resort to suppression of emotions or using a variety of methods to distract our minds when in situations that are prone to provoke a negative reaction. We are not always able to keep our emotions in check because we have not given ourselves the tools to cure the root cause of our negative behaviour. One who has not begun their journey within has a sense of morality that falls far short of what is needed to purge the body of defilements or release one from the cycles of pain and misery that plague our lives.
One who meditates on the other hand, in the process of cleansing their minds first deals with acute sensations associated with those things we class as major crimes or sins then through perseverance they also become aware of subtle sensations. It is the act of keeping an alert balanced mind in the face of subtler sensations that leads to eradicating those defilements and negativities in our lives that we would normally class as minor sins or even permissible sins. Ordinarily we would not be aware of these sensations until they have manifested themselves in the likes of impatience, intolerance, anger, lies, and verbal abuse. We have a tendency to simply ignore these sensations, but it is these that we have to become master over and cautious of that we ignore which we have to be cautious of. It is these subtle sins which we sweep under the carpet but which stand in the way of allowing us to be fully purified, peaceful and fulfilled.
Jesus was chastising us on how we concentrate our efforts on eliminating major sin from our lives but neglect the subtler sins. We think our work is done when we able to be conscious of the symptoms of major sin and we fail to realise that this does not fully purify us or cure us of our ailments. In his references to major and minor sins he is prompting us to dig deeper in our search for the truth and in becoming aware of the spirit we should give it free reign to complete its work of purification. Stay committed to the practice of meditation so that you become aware of the subtler truths of fulfilment that will set you free.
When Jesus speaks of coming to accomplish the law, he is speaking of bringing it to life and allowing it’s truths to work as they ought to in our lives.