When I was a kid, I was often a kaam chhor who would escape from doing household work. Whenever my parents asked me to help them with any kind of work, I would show up disappointed. Seeing my sad face, they would get irritated and delegate those chores to my sister.
Once in a while I too would do those household chores (even though grudgingly); like going to a nearby grocery shop and buying some groceries. My dad would often say "Buy from the store that has more number of customers as this indicates that their products are good".
But I would look for the stores those have the least number of customers, and would prefer the one that was operated by older people. I used to think "If everyone buys from busy stores, how could these other businesses (especially those run by older people) become successful?". I was not good at bargaining either. When I reached home after buying, I would often lie to my parents that I bought those products from the busy stores.
As a child, I often used to pray that everyone in the world should be rich and have Rs. 300,000 (equivalent to about $6000) in their banks. Somehow I thought that that much money would be enough for a person to live happily.
Imagine a world full of love, mercy and forgiveness, where each person is gifted uniquely and is treated like a king; connected to each other by a feeling of universal family-hood. I was hoping that the world be like that. But I realized that the real world was very harsh, and was very different from the ideal world that I imagined.
Added to this, I was disappointed when people changed the definitions of morality and God, according to their practicality and what works for them, by saying "It's all relative. There is no such thing like good or bad. It all depends on our perspectives".
I used to think "Something is missing. This world is not meant to be working like this". I would often be pondering about what went wrong when I was alone. I think I was looking for two solutions mainly : the world operating close to my ideal world, and the right king/leader who can guide the world properly by serving people (and not by dominating), thus making kings out of everyone.
These were some of the qualities that I thought one must have, to be a great leader for such an ideal world:
- The leader must be a tremendous lover of people.
- The leader must be spotless in character, and must have lived a life of perfect integrity and morality.
- The leader must be trustworthy.
- The leader must stand boldly against injustice and evil things of this world. The leader must be willing to suffer for mankind even to the point of death if it is required.
- The leader must be male (not that I am a sexist; I wanted a man to be in the role of suffering rather than a woman).
- The leader must possess power. Not the dominating power, but the transformational power.
- The leader must be nice to women and kids.
- The leader must not preach about karma or that we must be desire-less to reach God. This leader must be wholly living in the world, yet must not be a worldly person.
- The leader must mingle around with the poorest of the poor.
- The leader must be aggressive in his fight, yet non-violent.
I was not trying to imagine my ideal self for the position of this leader. I was looking for at least one person who stood up to ( or exceeded) all of my high ideals and led a perfect life. It would give me great pleasure to find one.
I often short-listed characters from myths or movies for my leader. Sometimes I picked my leader from celebrities, politicians or gods that I was aware of. I also picked social workers. In each case, I was disappointed that I could not find all the ideal qualities in him. All the people who I picked lasted only temporarily on my list.
When I want to chose someone as my leader, I want to know more about this person from every possible perspective. I want to examine him closely. I want to put this leader to as much criticism as possible. Let any critic come up with his/her best to criticize him (but with sincere intentions). I like that. That would help me to find my leader quickly.
It gives me tremendous joy to inform you that I found such a king/leader in Jesus Christ. In addition to the above points, I found some bonus features:
- He promised grand scale resurrection of the dead. He claimed that he is the one who will judge the whole world when he comes back, and will choose the kings for his Kingdom.
- He claimed to be dying for the sins of this whole world.
- He claimed to be the only way to God. Having worshipped many gods in the past, this claim was very disturbing to me. There are only two possibilities here. Either he is or he is not. After studying him closely, I am convinced that he is.
- He can cook good fish and make a nice wine. So get ready for the celebration of banquet :)
I also found certain things in Jesus Christ which made me feel uncomfortable. Talking about adultery, he said that even looking lustfully at a woman is like committing adultery. About murder, he said that even getting angry at someone is like a murder. He also said that we must put him first even before our family members. I sometimes question "Why Jesus did not behave softly so that he did not have to stir up others' anger, which led to his crucifixion?"
But who am I to tell how Jesus should behave? I should accept him for who he says he is; that he is 'the' way to God who died for me, and that he wants to be my Lord and Savior. His standards of morality are very high. If I do not understand him completely, who am I to twist him according to my convenience? Truth and righteousness should prevail, and I should not be stiff-necked changing Jesus according to my nice imaginations.
I am joyful to know that the ideal world which I imagined in my childhood is real. I have this hope because Jesus Christ promised it. He called it as the "Kingdom of God". The present world is being shaped into that world. Sometimes the glory of Kingdom is reflected here in this world and within us, when we as followers of Christ represent him properly. This world will completely transform into the Kingdom of God with his second coming. That is when the Kingdom of God will be within us (spiritual) and we will also be in the Kingdom of God (physical).
I am confident about this true leader because his sacrificial actions are perfectly aligned with his teachings and claims. I am very happy to find a leader who exceeded my ideals.