Ten Commitments to Compassionate Christian Living

Dear Family

I was surfing on the internet and came across what were called "Living Humanist Values : The Ten Commitments." They are based on the Ten Commandments found in the Bible but taken from a humanist standpoint and non religious platform. While I do not endorse Humanism necessarily I think the article makes some good points which can be equally to those of us seeking the Compassionate Christ and to follow that image. In that respect I offer it here along with my thoughts on it for us to consider and if we like might want to consider doing some if not all in our lives. It is not to be considered laws or rules that we have to obey but signs that can help us on our way to becoming more like Christ. Join me now in what I hope will be an exciting adventure for us all.

1. Critical Thinking

Each day we are being bombarded with a constant stream of information. This can make it challenging to determine what is true and accurate and what is false and fake. Critical thinking allows us to process all the information we are receiving and reason our way through to good judgments and find effective solutions to the problems we face, At the same time it allows us to avoid pitfalls like rationalization and stereotyping in coming to our conclusions. Through this process of critical thinking we can open new doors of discovery through hypothesizing and experimentation. Critical thinking is a skill requiring continued attention, practice and reflection. Doing that, however, enables our minds to challenge biases in ourselves and in others. By doing this it will pave the way for a fair, open-minded and autonomous perspective that allows for a multicultural worldview.

2. Ethical Development

This begins with the understanding that nobody is perfect or has all the answers. Therefore ethical development is a never ending process requiring of us constant reflection and evaluation of our personal choices we make and the consequences they have on others. In our upbringing we learn about fairness, cooperation, and sharing, and these first moral issues form our ethical development as human beings, that we can embrace, perhaps intuitively. Then, on the other hand, each new day can come to us with its new challenges and moral dilemmas. Therefore, we should be continually adapting and rebuilding our moral frameworks with a twofold goal in mind. First is to become ever better human beings, and second is to better follow, and become like the compassionate Christ we worship.

3. Peace and Social Justice

To have true peace one must have an intense commitment to social justice. It also must affirm the human rights and personal autonomy of all people. It must recognize that any level of injustice against any group or individual signifies that there is still existing conflict or unresolved issues, even if the conflict or issues aren't immediately obvious. The only way we can obtain peace is by consistently responding to injustice through thoughtful conflict resolution. The aim of this thoughtful conflict resolution is to repair harms, ensuring a fair and just society moving forward. This is known as restorative justice and its aim is to bring about a peaceful society. For this to happen though we must take seriously all claims of injustice, and then determine the best path forward to ensure that those impacted most by rights violations receive true justice.

4. Service and Participation

This is the putting of our values into action in ways that will positively impact our communities and society as a whole. It is to realize this is not a spectator's sport where we get to sit on the sidelines watching and cheering everyone else on. Instead it is to realize that as we are able, we need to foster ways of helping others, increasing social awareness and many other attributes of the commitments we have either discussed or will be discussing. It is a call to engagement in service that just doesn't make those receiving our services a little better off, but enables them to be able to develop new skills, experiences, and personal satisfaction that will promote personal growth. It is the realization that we are all members of the same group who must either swim or sink together. It is as we engage to benefit the group as a whole, that we will all be better off.

5. Empathy

Empathy is the act of entering imaginatively into another's situation. This is in order to attempt to understand the other's experiences as though we were experiencing it ourselves. In order for this to happen, empathy will require us to step outside of our own comfort zone and perspective to consider someone's else's thoughts, feelings, emotions and circumstances from that person's point of view. This is a first step because through empathy we can employ ethical behavior, allowing us to respond compassionately to the suffering of others. It also allows us to make good judgments where our actions can affect others for the good. Understanding another's perspective is critical to building better relationships and, I believe, better citizens in our local, religious, and world communities. It also makes us better Christians. Finally, empathy promotes tolerance, consideration, and compassion amongst us all so we can all learn to live in peace and harmony with each other.

6. Humility

To be able to express humility one must display modesty about their accomplishments, talents, gifts, or any feeling of self importance. They must recognize that we, as humans, are all fallible and limited in what we know and can do. However, humility isn't about browbeating ourselves or having low self-esteem or putting one's self down. Far from that, humility at its core, is robust self-awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, as well as our faults and merits. Humility involves setting aside our personal pride and overcoming our egos. It is the embracing of gratitude for what you have and the appreciation of others for who they are. In that way of humbleness one can recognize their own value and worth in relation to others. In the end it is to know inherently or deep inside yourself, that you are neither better or worse than anyone else. 

7. Environmentalism

We all come from different backgrounds, stories, ethicizes, nationalities, and histories, yet we all share the same planet Earth. While we depend on Planet Earth to sustain us with its precious resources of food, water and air, our planet's ecosystems also depend on us too. It depends on we humans to be good stewards over what we have been entrusted, and to take full responsibility for the impact human activity has on our shared planet. To ignore or do nothing is to risk doing irreparable damage to our planet's ecosystem and to destroy life as we know it on this planet. However, we can change our ways. We can clean up our waters, air, oceans, and put our environment and survival above profit and greed. We can save our forests, our lands, our animals, so future generations can enjoy them after were gone.

8. Global Awareness

Today we live in a world which is rich in cultural, social and individual diversity. On the other hand, we live in a world of rapidly increasing interdependence. Results such as war, volcanic eruption and other, both of natural and human making, are likely to have a major impact or consequences everywhere, perhaps miles from where the event first occurred. By global awareness we broaden our knowledge of cultures and perspectives which are outside our own experiences. It draws our attention to both current and historical events and how they affect us, and in turn, we are affected by them within the interconnected social, political and economic systems, in which we reside. The ultimate goal of global awareness is global citizenship which will recognize our responsibility to foster a healthy and dignified life for everyone in our global community, which is all of creation.

9. Responsibility

To be responsible, each of us have to consider the choices we make. We all make choices every day which, whether they be big or small, affect our world and the world around us. Moral responsibility means taking conscious ownership or our intentions and actions, and being accountable for the resulting consequences. We may live in a society with various cultural values, expectations, codes of conduct and social mores. Yet in the end, ultimately we will decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. That being the case, being a responsible person involves steadfast attention to what is right and willfully bearing the blame or praise for our actions.

10. Altruism

In closing, we have one last thing to look at, which is altruism. This is the selfless concern for the welfare of all other living beings without any thought of a reward, recognition, or return. It is to realize that the welfare of our communities depends on the welfare of each individual person within that community. Therefore we should always seek to alleviate the pain, suffering and hardships of others with compassionate action. In caring for others around us, lifting each other up, we reinforce healthy connections and contribute to the betterment of our various communities, society and the world.

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