Jesus has one answer, and the most beautiful. Now try to understand his answer. It will be difficult because it will go against all your preconceptions, against all your prejudices, because Jesus is not a believer in punishment. Nobody like Jesus can be a believer in punishment, because deep down punishment is revenge. A Buddha, a Krishna, a Jesus, they cannot believe in punishment. Rather, on the contrary, they can drop the very quality of justice from God. But compassion cannot be dropped, because justice is a human ideal, compassion is divine. Justice has conditions attached to it: “Do this and you will achieve this. Don’t do that, otherwise you will miss this.” Compassion has no conditions.
God is compassionate. And to understand his compassion we have to start from the sinner.
The kingdom is like a shepherd who had one hundred sheep.
One of them went astray, which was the largest.
He left behind the ninety-nine, he sought for the one until he found it.
Having tired himself out, he said to the sheep: I love thee more than the ninety-nine.
Absurd, illogical, but true. Try to understand: The kingdom of God is like a shepherd who had one hundred sheep. One of them went astray, which was the largest. It is always so: the one who goes astray is always the best. If you are a father and you have five children, only the best child will try to resist and deny you, only the best child will assert himself. The mediocre ones will always yield to you, but the one who is not mediocre will rebel, because the very quality of his mind is rebellious. Intelligence is rebellious: the more intelligent, the more rebellious. And those who are not rebellious, who are yea-sayers, are almost dead; you may like them, but they have no life in them. They follow you not because they love you, they follow you because they are weak, they are afraid, they cannot stand alone, they cannot stand against; they are weaklings, impotent.
Look around: people whom you think are good are almost always those who are weak. Their goodness does not come out of their strength, it comes out of their weakness. They are good because they cannot dare to be bad. But what type of goodness is this which comes out of weakness? Goodness must come out of overflowing strength, only then is it good, because then it has life, a flood like life.
So whenever a sinner becomes a saint, the saintliness has its own glory. But whenever an ordinary man becomes a saint because of his weakness, the saintliness is pale and dead, there is no life in it. You can become a saint out of weakness, but remember, then you will miss. Only if you become a saint out of your strength will you reach. A man who is good because he cannot be bad is not really good. The moment he becomes stronger he will become bad; give him power and power will corrupt him immediately.
This happened in this country: Gandhi had a great following, but it seems that the goodness of his followers came out of weakness. They were good when they were not in power, but when they came to power, when they became the rulers of this country, then the power corrupted them immediately.