One of my favorite stories of Jesus’ encounters with others in The URANTIA Book is about when He and His seventeen-year-old student Ganid were walking one evening in Corinth and two prostitutes approached them. Young seventeen-year-old Ganid started sputtering self-righteousness. “How dare you women come up here! Don’t you know who you are approaching?” He started rudely berating these women and telling them to leave. Jesus gently told Ganid to calm down and get a reality check. Jesus said to this boy,
. . . You mean well, but you should not presume thus to speak to the children of God, even though they chance to be His erring children. Who are we that we should sit in judgment on these women? Do you happen to know all the circumstances which led them to resort to such methods of obtaining a livelihood? Stop here with me while we talk about these matters. . .
. . . There lives within every human mind a divine spirit, the gift of the Father in heaven. This good spirit ever strives to lead us to God, to help us to find God and to know God; but also within mortals there are many natural physical tendencies which the Creator put there to serve the well-being of the individual and the race. Now, oftentimes, men and women become confused in their efforts to understand themselves and to grapple with the manifold difficulties of making a living in a world so largely dominated by selfishness. I perceive, Ganid, that neither of these women is willfully wicked. I can tell by their faces that they have experienced much sorrow; they have suffered much at the hands of an apparently cruel fate; they have not intentionally chosen this sort of life; they have, in discouragement bordering on despair, surrendered to the pressure of the hour and accepted this distasteful means of obtaining a livelihood as the best way out of a situation that to them appeared hopeless. Ganid, some people are really wicked at heart; they deliberately choose to do mean things; but, tell me, as you look into these now tear-stained faces, do you see anything bad or wicked? . . . (The URANTIA Book, Paper 133; Section 3)
Those two women, who had been beaten down by the world and who had made the best choice they thought they could make, given their circumstances, were simply trying to survive and make a living. In those days, if a woman did not have a husband or a family to provide for her, prostitution was probably the only way she could make a living.
Those two women encountered God when they encountered Jesus. For the first time in their lives, a man looked at them with respect and true love and compassion. He looked at them not as sex objects, not as subhumans, but as human beings with dignity and with a fragment of divinity within them. In that moment, born in their hearts and minds was hope. It was hope that they could truly walk into their destinies that God wanted for them.
Jesus went a step beyond ministering to theses women’s hearts and minds; he also addressed their physical circumstances. With the two women accompanying them, Jesus dropped in on friends for dinner, and said to the wife of this respectable family, “I am sure that you can help these two women start a whole new life.” He gave her the responsibility of helping these women begin anew, and they did start a whole new life.
One of the women died a couple of years after of an illness, but she died a happy woman who had some self-respect and dignity and knew that she indeed was a beloved daughter of God. The other one became a powerful spiritual leader to help bring healing and Jesus’ teachings to others.
We hear news reports of desperate mothers killing their children and then committing suicide. I think that a mother who does that to her young children has been driven to a point where in her mind she sees no way out. She sees the world as so unacceptable to live in that the only thing she can do is leave it. She’s not about to leave her children there to suffer in that world, for who would take care of them? From her hopeless perspective, the world is too terrible to live in anymore.
It is a tragic thing when any person gets to the psychological state that they think that the only choice they have is to leave it and take others from the world also, whether a distressed mother or an angry young man who goes into a school to shoot some teachers and peers before taking his own life. Somehow these individuals were not able to hear the Spirit of God within them, and they did not have any human being who was somehow able to reach them to bring them to that realization that there were other options and other choices.
There are hundreds of thousands of persons across the planet who need to hear another message of hope rather than despair and who need the true healing of transformation within their minds and hearts, which the Spirit of God and presence of loving wise humans can bring to them if they are receptive.
Excerpted from Teachings on Healing From a Spiritual Perspective by Gabriel of Urantia and Niánn Emerson Chase
Image by Jialu