“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them… For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17,20)

I heard a biography of Ayn Rand. She was born in Russia before World War One into a well to do family. When the Russian Revolution brought the Soviets into power, socialist ideology said that everything should be shared. So her family had to share their residence with other people who the Soviets moved in with them.

They also set up collective farms to replace the farms owned and worked by individuals. None of these changes worked out well. So Rand began to believe that the wisest way to live and find satisfaction was to be selfish. And she propagated that idea in very popular and influential books like “Atlas Shrugged.” I never read that book, because I am completely opposed to selfishness as the way to live.

Actually, selfishness is a problem, not a solution. In the Soviet Union, because the collective farms were not producing enough food and the workers were not happy, the regime gave each family a small plot of land on which they could grow food they could keep. The result was that more food was produced on those family plots, but not on the larger area of the collective farm. So the idea of caring and sharing everything equally, did not work, because people still acted selfishly. When Rand moved to the United States, she thought capitalism was the answer.

Yet capitalist is based too much on selfishness and actually sees selfishness as the prime motivation for people working to get ahead as individuals. So we have a few people who are filthy rich, while most of us are far below in wealth and power, or even stuck in poverty. Although Socialists say we should all be more equal, Russia today has a few oligarchs who are rich and powerful, while most of the people have little wealth or power. So capitalism and socialism have the same results, because the hearts have not been changed from selfishness to Godlike love.

Even the Old Testament laws and culture were not changing the hearts from selfishness to Godlike love. So God came to earth in Jesus and said his Sermon on the Mount, the words at the beginning of this column. (Matthew 5:17,20) Jesus came to teach the heart of God’s law, which is Godlike love. In the kingdom of heaven everyone will have Godlike love.

Unless you understand that and love everyone like God does, you will not experience the kingdom of heaven in this life. And even Jesus could not get through to everyone, which is why this world and so many lives are such a mess. But those who love like

God in this life experience the first fruits of the kingdom of heaven now. The great psychiatrist Carl Jung feels that such faith, hope, love, and insight cannot be taught or learned. It must be experienced. Yet anyone who experiences it, will commit his whole life to it.” So the solution is not selfishness. It is that Godlike love, which I commit my life to, even if others do not.

Kevin Mertz can be reached at 570-742-9671 ext. 117 or email kevin@standard-journal.com.

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