Lord, I Did It My Way

By Richard Salbato


After seven years away from family and friends in the United States and reaching the ripe age of 67 years, it is time for me to consider that I am already past the age of death for most countries of the world.  It is time to reflect back on my life to see if my sins are forgiven and if I am now doing things in such a way that God will say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant.  Enter into the kingdom I have prepared for you.” 


The heart of salvation is “To will and do what is good for others”.  The problem with this statement is that often times we believe that we do this and have done it all our lives.  It may be true that we never broke any laws, and always treated people well.  The problem with this is that are we doing what we consider to be good, or have we really determined what it is that God considers good.


When we reach the stage in life that we are looking back and questioning whether or not we have done all we can to get to heaven we must ask ourselves one very important question: Did I find out the way that God wanted me to live and did I live that way?


God’s Commandment


Summing up the commandments, Christ said, “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul and your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.  And the second is like this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depends the whole law, and the prophets.”  Matt. 22:35-40


When we look closely at this we see that the greatest commandment is to love God, who we cannot see and cannot truly know except through His own revelations about Himself.   The first requirement in loving God is to listen to what He has to say.  Can we say that we love someone when we say in our heart, “Do not talk with me”.  Or “I will not read what You have said.” 


It is not difficult to understand God because after you have read all there is to read you come up with one thing and one thing only: Love.  Love which is willing and doing good to others including God.  That seems easy, but the truth is that we tend to love the way we want to and not the way God wants us to.  “I will love my way, not Your Way.”  Before dying one should ask himself if he has loved God in heart, soul and mind.  Have I wanted to know God?  Have I wanted to know what He wants of me?  Have I even cared about His commandments and His Love of me?  The entire reason we were created is so that we (God and us) can have this loving relationship for ever and ever in His Kingdom.


I do not want to go into all the details of what God commanded about how we are to show our love for Him, because it is well documented in just the New Testament of the Bible, which can be read entirely in only a few hours.  If we cannot take the time to read what He said about Himself, how can we say we love God?  The truth is that when we want to do things our own way, we do not want to know what God has to say.


Ask yourself this question:  What does God mean when He says “Love your neighbor as yourself”?

“The love of our neighbor works no evil.  Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law.”  (Rom. 13:8-10)  


The problem with understanding this law is the word, “evil”.  If we decide what is good and evil, we may conclude that as long as someone likes what we are doing to them or with them, then it is good.  Two drug addicts taking drugs together are loving each other their way, but not God’s” way.  Two people having sex together outside of marriage are loving each other their way but not God’s way.  The problem of “My Way” goes all the way back to Adam and Eve, where God commanded them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because God is the arbitrator of what is good and what is evil, and not us.  But they wanted to decide what was good and what was evil themselves, and so they brought evil into the world, just because they did not want to live Gods way.


Truly loving people should always try to have their heart and mind on doing good and loving things to everyone they see each day. A loving person will try to remember to pray for the people in their lives.  This means when I walk down the street I smile and greet those passing by me.  I must think in my mind how I might make that person feel a little better.  When I sit down in a coffee shop do I try to be kind and loving to those serving me and to make their day a little better? 


Always on the mind of loving people is kindness to others.  Some people cannot love because they are so absorbed in their own selves that they expect love without giving it.  They expect the waiter to serve them first and fast and complain if everything is not just right, never even thinking that that person might be having a bad day himself.  They walk into a room and change things without even looking to see if this change is wanted by those in the room.  Sometimes behaving in a loving way means being quiet when we see this would be kindness, and sometimes it means lending a hand when we see this is needed.   Being aware of others’ feelings and wanting to help them requires that we take our mind off ourselves.  I have a problem with this when I have a lot of life problems, but that is the most important time to do it, and thereby not placing my problems on others.  I must try to do this each and every minute of each and every day.


Self absorbed people do not leave peace and harmony behind them. I must always ask myself if I am guilty of this behavior. But it is not so easy to see it in myself.  When people have to give way to my wants and needs and have to pick up after me when I leave, have I loved?  Am I focusing on the faults of others or am I looking at my own failures.  I found myself in a situation where my own discomfort was affecting the peace and harmony of my best friend and I had to admit this and of course stop doing it.  This is difficult sometimes because it is hard to see ourselves in such an objective way.  But it is so very important to our growth as people, as Gods children.


If we love God’s way it can sometimes require that we make people sad and uncomfortable because God commands us to correct people who are sinning.  This is also love because all sin causes harm to others.  If someone is constantly talking about others and therefore harming the reputation of others, we cannot stand by listening to this without condoning sin and therefore sinning ourselves just by listening to it.  Prudence tells us when and how to do this, but we must will the good of others even when that means to tell them that they are doing bad things and must stop because it offends God, who is our first love. This is very hard for many because they do not want to upset or offend others.  Sometimes loving others is hard.


We also should not allow others to abuse us even if we can handle it, because by letting them abuse us they are abusing God.  If someone is just correcting us and it is justified, we should accept it as a kindness by them, but if it is not justified, we are letting them sin by accepting it unjustly.


The great prayer that Christ taught requires that we forgive others and if we do not, God will not forgive us.  For me this is very hard, because I have had some very hard times with some very bad people over the years. 


Revenge, on the other hand, belongs to God.  God will require an accounting of each and every sin He has not forgiven.  There is no reason for us to seek revenge against anyone who has harmed us in any way.  Justice yes, revenge no.  We should require debts paid on earth because if they are not paid they will have to pay them after death.  Revenge, however, is just hatred that will not die and causes divisions in families, in countries and even in religions.  Satan loves to tempt us to revenge because he wants divisions in all humanity.  In fact, the very word, demon, means “to divide”.


My Way


All the above seems so simple.  Love, be good, enjoy life and then die in God’s arms and live forever and ever in Heaven.  Why then do far more people go to Hell forever and ever than go to Heaven?  In fact, the difference between those going to Heaven and those going to Hell has been described like the harvest of grapes.  When the pickers go through and pick all the grapes, what they miss and leave for the birds is how many people make it to Heaven. 


Most people go to Hell because they want do good by human standards.  They want God to bend to their way and not to God’s way. Those people who say that they do not need to go to church because they are good and live a good life are making up the rules for themselves.  Those people who pick a church that fits into their way of worship are making up the rules for themselves.  Those people who say that this passage in the Bible is all that matters and the rest of the Bible does not matter, are making up the rules for themselves.   Those people, like the three monkeys, who say they do not want to hear about God, talk about God or see God, are making up the rules for themselves. 


Hell is full of people who did it their way, making themselves like unto God.  Hell is fire and is forever.  It seems to me, that considering how long this is, one would do everything they could to be sure they avoided Hell and pleased God.  Anyone can avoid Hell even at the moment of death, but is requires that we are sorry for offending God.  We cannot be sorry if we are God, making up the rules ourselves.  If we make up the rules, how can we be sorry for breaking them?  This is why God cannot forgive these people.  At this time in my life I must look to be sure I am doing things God’s way and not playing god myself.  


God’s Way


I do not want to use this Newsletter to teach people what they can learn just be reading the New Testament of the Bible at least before they die.  But it should be enough for me to say that Christ said many times over and over how to get to Heaven and what keeps people out of Heaven:


You must be baptized - Unless you are baptized in water and spirit you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven. 

John 3:4-5

You must east His flesh and drink His blood - Unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood you shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

John 6 all

You must learn what He taught - He who listens to you (the Apostles) listens to Me. 

Luke 10:10

You must confess your sins to a priest - What sins you forgive they are forgiven, what sins you retain, are retained. 

Matt. 16:19

To you, Peter, I give the keys to Heaven and the keys to Hell. Who is Peter today?

Matt. 16:18

You must love -  If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha.” Meaning “go to Hell” 

1 Cor. 16:22 

“If you love Me, keep my commandments.” 

John 14:15  


I pray that when I die, that you find me reading the Bible over and over, at least trying to do things God’s way and not my way.      

Richard Salbato