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Home > Cover Story > Part 5  
the 'be-atTitudes' of jesus
…Through the lives of Enlightened Souls and Divine Incarnations

Part 5:
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

Jesus was a visionary for his times, for he reminded his flock that what goes around, comes around. The concept of cyclical karma was new to the people at that time. Yet, the Master prodded them to practice mercy for their own good.

Nothing proves the timelessness of Jesus’ message on this virtue of mercy than the life an American who was visited by unspeakable tragedy:

 
 

Forgiveness Heals the Deepest Wounds

Sue Norton lives in Arkansas City, Kansas. She received terrible news during a phone call from her brother in January 1990. Her much beloved father, Richard Denny and his wife Virginia were found murdered in their home. Sue’s father was shot to death in his isolated Oklahoma farmhouse. The crime netted the killer $17.00 and an old truck.

Sue says she felt "numb". She couldn’t understand why someone would want to hurt people who were old and poor. The loss of her father just broke her heart.

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  The Love of Sri Sathya Sai    
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Ms. Sue Norton
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Sue sat through the trial of Robert Knighton (B.K.). She was confused about how she should feel. She tells that everyone in the courtroom was consumed with hate. They all expected her to feel the same way. But she couldn’t hate that way because she says, "It didn’t feel good."

For the last night of the trial, she knew, there must be another way. She couldn’t eat or sleep that night and prayed to God to help her. When morning came, she had this thought. "Sue, you don’t have to hate B.K., you could forgive him".

For the last night of the trial, she knew, there must be another way. She couldn’t eat or sleep that night and prayed to God to help her. When morning came, she had this thought. "Sue, you don’t have to hate B.K.,
you could forgive him".

The next day, while the jury was out for deliberation, Sue got permission to visit B.K. through the bars of his holding cell. Sue relates, "I was really frightened. This was my first experience in a jail. B.K. was big and tall; he was shackled and had cold steely eyes."

At first, B.K. refused to look at Sue. She asked him to turn around and he answered, "Why would any one want to talk to me after what I have done?" Sue replied, "I don’t know what to say to you. But I want you to know that I don’t hate you. My grandmother always taught me not to use the word hate. She taught me that we are here to love one another. If you are guilty, I forgive you.”

B.K. thought Sue was just playing games. He couldn’t understand how she could forgive him for such a terrible crime. Sue says, "I didn’t think of him as killer, I thought of him as a human being.”

"Why would any one want to talk to me after what I have done?"

Sue replied, "I don’t know what to say to you. But I want you to know that I don’t hate you. My grandmother always taught me not to use the word hate. She taught me that we are here to love one another. If you are guilty, I forgive you.”

People thought that Sue had lost her mind. Friends would step to the other side of the road to avoid her. But Sue says, "There is no way to heal and get over the trauma without forgiveness. You must forgive and forget, and get on with your life. That is what Jesus would do.”

B.K. resides on death row in Oklahoma. Sue often writes to him and visits occasionally. She feels that B.K. should never leave prison, but she does not want him executed. She has become friends with B.K. and because of her love and friendship he has now become a devout Christian.

Sue states that some good has come out of her father’s death. "I have been able to witness to many people about Jesus and forgiveness, and helped others to heal. I have brought B.K. and many other men on death row to our Lord Jesus Christ. I live in peace with my Lord!"

Ref: http://www.catherineblountfdn.org/rsof.htm

 
 

The virtue of mercy as forgiveness is much needed in today’s world. In the Lord’s Prayer, Lord Jesus taught His followers the sacred teaching that when we forgive, God then forgives us.

"...And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."

The Koran similarly emphasises:

God loves the kindly, and those who remember God and seek forgiveness for their offences when they commit some shocking deed or harm themselves (for who forgives offences besides God?) and do not knowingly persist in whatever they have been doing. Those will have forgiveness from their Lord as their reward, plus gardens through which rivers flow to live in for ever. How blissful will such workers' wages be!

- Holy Koran, Chapter 3 v133

When we open our hearts to those who need our help we show them mercy. Does not Bhagavan Baba tell us that when a beggar approaches us, he is invoking the divine in us to show mercy to him? ‘God helps those who helps themselves’ is a familiar cliché – but here Jesus teaches us that ‘God helps those who help others’.

When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbours… But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous….

~ (Gospel of Luke 14:12-13)

The image that comes spontaneously to mind is that of Bhagavan reaching down to serve the Narayanas during the Narayana Seva that He has organised any number of times during His divine life, teaching His devotees by perfect example. And now thousands of members of the Sai organisation are engaged in that very same service, every single day of the week, all over the world, tending and serving those who are bereft of support, who are poverty stricken, sick or disabled.

[To read stories of Sai Seva from our archives, please click here]

Bhagavan Baba places this virtue of forgiveness on the highest pedestal. In a discourse in January 1994, He said,

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    The Love of Sri Sathya Sai  
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"Kshama is Sathyam, Truth"
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Only a person who has this attitude of Kshama (forgiveness) can be considered to be endowed with sacred love. This cannot be learned from textbooks.

You are embodiments of strength, not weakness. Therefore, in times of despair, you should be filled with the feeling of forbearance and be ready to forgive and forget.

Nor can it be acquired from preceptors, nor from any one else. It is to be cultivated by oneself in times of difficulties, trials and tribulations that one is forced to meet. Only when we face problems and difficulties that cause grief and misery this quality of forbearance and forgiveness has the scope for taking root.

When you are confronted with tribulations you should not get upset, and become victims of depression which is a sign of weakness. You should bring in tolerance and an attitude of forgiveness into play; And do not get agitated giving rise to anger, hatred and revengeful attitude.

You are embodiments of strength, not weakness. Therefore, in times of despair, you should be filled with the feeling of forbearance and be ready to forgive and forget. This quality of Kshama is the greatest power for a human being. If one loses this quality, he becomes demonic.

Kshama is Sathyam, Truth.
Kshama is Dharma, Righteousness.
Kshama is Ahimsa, Non-Violence.
Kshama is Yajna, Sacrifice.
Kshama is Santhosha, Happiness.
Kshama is Dhaya, Compassion.
Kshama is everything in the world.

~ From a Divine Discourse delivered on 1st January 1994


Such is the power of this Beatitude. And what is also conveyed in this fifth blessing is that everything we do in our lives comes back to us as ‘reaction, reflection and resound’ as Baba explains it. Therefore, at the root of all peace, prosperity and happiness, is a heart of love and mercy, now and hereafter.

End of Part 5

Dear reader, how did you like this story? Did it inspire you in any way? Would you like more such stories focussed on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and other such divine incarnations? Please write to us at [email protected] with your name and country. We look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions to help us serve you better. Thank you very much for your time.

- Heart2Heart Team


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Vol 6 Issue 12 - DECEMBER 2008
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