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21 Life Lessons Even Non-Christians Can Learn From Jesus

21 Life Lessons Even Non-Christians Can Learn From Jesus

Aside from being the Savior for Christians and even a prophet for Muslims, Jesus was a revolutionary figure who challenged traditions, religion, and beliefs. He was one of the first thought-leaders who inspired the world. Whether you are a Christian or not, here are 21 life lessons you can learn from Jesus:

1. Be clear with what you want.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” — Matthew 7:7-8

Jesus knew that clarity is one of the secrets to success. Be deliberate in living your life. Be clear with what you want to achieve. Know what to ask for and how to ask for it.

2. When you find “it,” take the leap.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” — Matthew 13:44-46

When you finally find your life’s purpose, your mission, or your own dream, take a chance and take a leap in faith. You may or may not make it immediately, but you will definitely make it. The joy and fulfillment are also in the pursuit. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Jump into your purpose!

3. Be forbearing and love those who criticize you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.” — Matthew 5:38-39

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?” — Matthew 5:44-47

When we are being pushed, it’s more natural for us to push back. It’s difficult not to fight back. But, when we pull them closer to us instead of pushing them back, imagine the surprise. There would also be less conflict. Besides, it’s more rewarding to love those who cannot love us back. Always respond with love.

4. Always go beyond what is required.

“If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.” — Matthew 5:40-42

Always go the extra mile—in your career, in your business, in your relationships, in your service, in loving others, and in everything you do. Pursue excellence in all your undertakings.

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5. Keep your promises and be careful with what you say.

“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’” — Matthew: 5:37

“By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” — Matthew 12:37

There’s an old proverb saying, “Before you speak once, think twice.” Your words have power over your life and the life of others. Always be truthful in what you say and be trustworthy with your promises. When in doubt with what to say, say words of love.

6. How you look at others is a reflection of how you look at yourself.

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” — Matthew 7:1-2

If you measure others’ success based on their finances, chances are that’s also how you measure your own success. If you measure their success based on their job titles, chances are that’s also how you measure your own success. Do you need to change the measure you use?

7. Follow the Golden Rule.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.” — Matthew 7:12

This is all the life lessons from Jesus combined. In fact, this is probably Jesus’s most popular lesson for Christians and non-Christians alike. What do you want others to do to you and for you? Do the same to them and for them. No matter what you believe in, you can never go wrong with the Golden Rule.

8. Forgive others… countless times if you need to.

“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” — Matthew 6:14-15

“Then Peter approaching asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’” — Matthew 18:21-22

Unforgiveness weighs down not only the unforgiven person, but also the person not giving his or her forgiveness. Set others free by forgiving them and, ultimately, you set yourself free. Also, just like how you make the same mistakes over and over again, allow others the same room to make the same mistakes. Besides, nobody is perfect, right?

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9. You cannot please everyone. Move on.

“Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.” — Matthew 10:14

“Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?’ And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.” — Matthew 13:54-58

No matter what you do or no matter how hard you try, you cannot please everyone. Not everyone will believe in you. In fact, the people closest to you may also be the people who do not believe in you the most as well. Move on and spend your best energy and your best effort for people who do. It might hurt at first, but that’s better than slowly letting yourself and your dreams die.

10. Prove your worth through your works, not your words.

“Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” — Matthew 7:17-20

We often tell others that we are more than they think we are. We live in a results-based world. Instead of just saying that we are more, let us be more, take action, and deliver results. That will be more than enough proof to them. Don’t just say good things. Do good things. Don’t just declare your big dreams. Take action and make them a reality.

11. Take the road less travelled.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” — Matthew 7:13-14

The majority’s decision is not always the right decision. Vox populi, vox dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God) is not always true. Not everyone is willing to go the extra mile to serve others. Not all companies are willing to give the best service and the best experience to their customers. Most of the time, doing the right things mean going against the flow and doing what’s not popular. If you are taking the road less travelled, you must be on the right road.

12. Whatever you are feeling, spend some time in isolation.

“When Jesus heard of John’s execution, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.” — Matthew 14:12

“After the feeding of the multitude and dismissing the crowd, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” — Matthew 14:23

No matter how you are feeling, whether you are feeling anxious or accomplished, always find time to connect with yourself. No amount of other people’s encouragement can lift you up if you keep on bringing yourself down. Also, spend time alone to find the deepest desires of your heart — unadulterated by other people’s agenda. In the deepest, unadulterated desires of your heart lies your purpose and your mission.

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13. Be persistent.

“Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” — Luke 11:5-8

When you are persistent, not only do you shake other people and even the heavens up. You also shake yourself up by becoming clearer with what you really want. Keep moving forward no matter how many times you have stumbled or been rejected.

14. Pruning hurts, but it is important to your growth.

“He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” — John 15:2

Why spend time on things and habits that do not deliver results or make you grow? Taking away some habits like watching TV and even some unhealthy relationships hurts a lot. But, it is required if we want to achieve our dreams and if we want to grow. Most importantly, pruning is required if we want to bear more fruit in our lives. Let go of the things and even people that do not bring you closer to your dreams.

15. If you want to give genuinely, give in secret.

“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” — Matthew 6:1-4

A test of genuine giving is when you give without expecting any praise or recognition in return. Also, you can only feel the deep joy in giving when you give without anyone knowing. Give in secret and give anonymously. You will grow in generosity and gratitude that way.

16. Wherever you spend your money on, you value.

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” — Matthew 6:21

When you spend your money on charity, you think more about helping others and making a difference. When you spend your money on your education, you think about your growth and personal development. When you spend your money with your loved ones, you think more about them and spending time with them. Be careful where you spend your money. Money has value for a reason. Spend it on things you deeply value.

17. Use it or lose it.

“For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” — Matthew 25:29

What is your passion? What is your God-given talent? Always sharpen the saw and use what you have been given. If you don’t, you will grow rusty and you might eventually lose it. If you are good at writing, write. If you are good at numbers, keep computing and analyzing. Don’t rob the world of the one thing that only you can do.

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18. Stop worrying and live for today.

“Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” — Matthew 6:25-27,34

Yes, saving for the rainy days (and retirement) is very important. But, the present is all we truly have. Learn how to be more present by letting go of your worries and anxieties for tomorrow. Just do your best this very day and trust that tomorrow will take care of itself. Live your life one day at a time.

19. If you want to be great, serve.

“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” — Matthew 23:11-12

Think about the great people who lived like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, and Gandhi. They are forever immortalized because they lived their lives in service to others and to what they believe in. Also, the greatest companies in the world like Apple are the ones that serve the most through their products. The more you serve, the greater you will be.

20. Let go of differences in denominations, religions, and beliefs.

“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.’” — Mark 9:38-40

This is simply true,

21. At the end of the day, it’s all about love.

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” — Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus summarized all 613 commandments in the Old Testament into two. Jesus knew that, at the end of the day, all that matters is love. Love goes beyond scriptures, religion, race, and beliefs. Why trouble ourselves with our differences? At the center of it all is love. Even scripture says, “God is love.” Just like the Golden Rule, you can never go wrong with love. Let love be at the center of your thoughts, your words, your dreams and aspirations, your actions, and your whole life.

Bonus lesson:

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13

Are there people in your life you love so much that you are willing to die for them? When there is someone you love more than yourself, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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Carlo Cruz

Writer and Artist

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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