This morning I read an article about a Pakistani man who killed his sister because she married a Christian. To this Islamic family, her marriage was a disgrace. The killing is considered an honor killing.
I have compassion for everyone involved in this story. Everyone involved is suffering from a belief that is believed by nearly every human on the planet. I call it the ‘I am bad’ belief. ACIM calls it guilt. NTI calls it unworthiness. In this article, the word ‘shame’ is used.
The men who taunted the brother about the sister’s relationship were trying to make themselves feel ‘bigger’ in order to deny how ‘low’ and ‘unnecessary’ they feel. The brother who killed his sister preferred to kill his sister than suffer the shame he felt around his taunters. The father approves of the killing and regrets the killing for the same reason, the shame it brings on him.
Imagine that. A father has just lost a daughter to death and a son to prison, yet what is driving his actions? Grief? No. Love? No. Compassion? No. He is driven by the fear of his own shame.
In the Bible, Jesus said that his life was a ransom for many. Buddha sought enlightenment because he wanted to end suffering for all beings. ACIM says that a miracle worker’s only responsibility is to accept the atonement for himself. NTI Ephesians explains how what we believe goes out into the world, has an effect, and then comes back to us again. Michael Singer calls false beliefs “environmental pollution.”
I feel that each of the teachings above point to the same truth. Because of how divine law works, and because we are all one, our personal belief in guilt, unworthiness and shame has an effect on others and on their believing. It is as if we are taunting others, encouraging them to believe that they are worthless whenever we believe it about ourselves or anyone else. In other words, our personal belief in guilt, unworthiness and shame is a part of honor killings too.
I don’t share this in order to increase guilt. To increase guilt would only increase the problem. I share this to help wake us up to the same motivation that Jesus felt (“My life is a ransom for many.”) and that Buddha felt. I say this to help us make a firm commitment to be the miracle worker. How do we do that? By becoming committed to letting go of the belief that some people are better and some people are less/worse. That includes the personal self. We need to be willing to let go of the belief that we are guilty, unworthy, shameful, less than, lacking, etc.
True compassion is letting go of the believing that we do that is also a part of the world’s recurring problems. Some of us will be more motivated to let go of false beliefs when we do it from true compassion just as Jesus and Buddha did. When we are motivated by both the desire for personal peace and out of compassion for all beings, we have more motivation to overcome habitual false believing. And these false beliefs are habits. They are habits shared by everyone who has not yet learned that it doesn’t need to be this way.