Jesus turned, saw that they were following him, and asked them: “What do you want?” (Gospel according to John)
Everyone who asks, receives; search and you shall find (Gospel according to Luke)
Lord My God, judge me according to your righteousness, and do not let them rejoice over me.(Psalms)
Knowing what you want is the most important thing in life. Because of ‘wanting’ only, people find a reason to live in the most difficult situations; because of ‘wanting’ only, people have direction and goals in their life, and they can focus all their energy and resources to satisfying that goal. However, in real life, not many people actually know what they want.
Or there might be some people who think that what they want is very clear. For instance, what a sick person wants is health, what a poor person wants is wealth, and what a weak person wants is power. Many people who believe they have a clear desire, when reading the words of the Bible that “everyone who asks, will receive”, are usually suspicious. Because in their experience of life, cases when wishes come true are rare. Even if they are very religious, even if they occasionally experience instances of ‘ask and you shall receive’, this still does not mean that their wishes will always me granted. So, is the Bible saying that ‘everyone who asks will receive’, and the slogan of all Buddhist temples that ‘what is needed must be’, just wishful thinking from idealists?
The most profound answer to this question is hidden in a popular Western fairy tale. The story says: ‘A man met a God who promised to grant his family three wishes. Without thinking further, he asked for a sausage, and his wish was instantly satisfied. Then, when his wife knew about this, angry that he wasted his first wish, she cursed him saying: ‘I wish this sausage would grow on your nose’, and right then, to their surprise, her wish became true. And so this man’s third wish was simply that there would no longer be a sausage on his nose.’ Three wishes had been granted, and yet all they got was a sausage. The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud found the secret of people’s psychology in this story. The secret is that in every person’s subconscious, there are many conflicting needs. And because these needs are contradictory, they consume each other’s potential, and make the satisfaction of desire impossible.
The requests of people living in situations of hard labor and poverty seem to be very simple: they want to lead a prosperous life. But what does ‘prosperous’ mean? Is wealth having enough money to spend? Actually not. What we call ‘wealth’ is actually a relative perception. When you feel that you have more money to spend than most people around you, you will find yourself rich. This has led to a strange phenomenon – millionaires who spend time with billionaires will feel poor, and poor people living next to beggars will feel rich. ‘Wealth’ is not an absolute value, and from this we can see just how empty the slogan inviting people to ‘get rich’! And how much logical contradictions it contains! If a number of people are really getting rich, these rich people have had to make the majority of people around them poor, in order to feel ‘rich’ themselves. And if most people are better off, then most people will not feel so ‘rich’. Therefore, the true meaning of the slogan ‘let some people get rich’ is actually that most people should feel poor, and the true meaning of the statement ‘pursuing common prosperity’ is that no people will feel ‘rich’.
If we get to the bottom of it, we will find why many people who aspire to become ‘wealthy’ (including those seeking power) actually ignore the root cause of their desire – that the essence of ‘wealth’ is that more people around you feel poor (though they’re not necessarily actually poor) ! The essence of power is that more people feel powerless! Everyone wants to be one of these few people who have wealth and power, but’most people’ is actually each one of us. And the desire of most people is thus actually opposed to the satisfaction of our desire! In fact, when people’s desire for wealth and power is realised, precisely because it is realised, most people will feel their own poverty and weakness. This is the deep wisdom contained in the fairy tale of the ‘three wishes’.
Some may optimistically imagine a ‘win-win’ situation, where everyone is at least relatively affluent. This situation is not entirely impossible. The problem is that, if a majority of people are actually wealthy, the sense of ‘wealth’ has actually been lost, and the desire of these people who have all become ‘rich’ is no longer focused on that so-called ‘wealth’, they need another thing to support their existence, and this thing is beyond wealth and poverty, power and weakness, it is ‘the justice of God’.
What is “The Justice of God’? We can say with great certainty that, for the wealthy and those with power, it is incomprehensible and meaningless – even suspicious and harmful. Because, one’s own sense of wealth and power is based on others feeling poor and powerless (in other words, on lack of justice). And it is precisely through lack of justice that most people are trapped in poverty and helplessness; It is the lack of justice, that causes the majority of people to equate power with wealth and that having wealth and power is to have a life of value and importance. And so Jesus said: ‘Woe to you rich’. “The Justice of God” is that the rich and powerful cannot use their wealth and power to gain anything truly meaningful, “The Justice of God” is that “a man is the sum of his desires, as man reaches for his desires so shall he become them” ，Let the foundation of a man’s life be to live to help and benefit others and in this, find true meaning. “The Justice of God” is “Walking the way of Justice, the whole world becoming one community”
In comparison, those poor people with no hope to change their destiny will find it easier to understand ‘the justice of God’. Because they are the direct victims of injustice in this world. Of course, the fact that poor people easily understand ‘the justice of God’ does not entail that they will also possess ‘the justice of God’. In the reality of historical life, we will often encounter the following scenario. Some desperate poor people, because they hate the injustice in this world so much, will choose to avenge injustice through an even greater injustice, and some people wave the banner of ‘justice’ to throw down injustice, but in so doing, they just establish a new form of injustice (since the great French Revolution, this kind of scenario has repeated itself many times). Jesus said: “blessed are the poor”. The poor are ‘blessed’ because poor people tend to desire ‘justice’. But poor people are not necessarily blessed by nature, and if the ‘justice’ that poor people aspire to is material and worldly, then this ‘justice’ will still be corruptible, or even opposed to justice.
The Bible says: “ask and you will receive”: this statement is very true. What the rich and the bureaucrats ask for is that more people be trapped in weakness and poverty. And for that reason, what they’re seeking is also hatred. Their prayers will certainly be satisfied. As the lyrics of the red song say: “the melon seed yields a melon, the soybean seed yields a soybean, they who sow hatred, they themselves will suffer’. The Bible says: “God, judge me according to your righteousness”, and this statement is very profound. If God was not there to establish high standards, the ‘justice’ of the poor would slide into endless killing.