Category Archives: Acceptance
We are all in this together.
All eight billion of us.
Really. We are. Our fates are intertwined.
Are we going to continue to let government, business interests, and religion tell us who “our enemies are” and let YouTube, Google, and conspiracy theorists pit ‘them’ vs. ‘us’?
What if we refused to accept the suggestion, for any reason, that there was a them?
What if we decided to become adamant there is only an us?
Take a minute to reflect on what the world would be like if each of us decided there is only a we. What if we decided that our family, all 8 billion of us, were in this together? What if we looked out for each other and had each other’s back?
By choosing to focus on what unites us rather than what separates us, we can change the world. In Truth, if we decided to do this, the question would not be IF we could change the world . . . or even HOW MUCH we could change the world.
The only question would be: Would we officially have to change the name “Earth” to “Heaven“? Or, does that happen automatically?
* * *
Everyone has a heart.
Every heart wants to love and be loved.
You never know what every person you meet is going through.
That person passing you in the hall may have just lost a loved one.
The person in the elevator may be suicidal.
You never know the hurt hiding behind the mask.
You never know the battle they are waging within.
You could be standing next to someone completely broken.
So don’t withhold your smile. Never withdraw your good will.
Always provide hope to every single person you meet. Hope may be all that they possess.
Let us connect them with the love in our heart
. . . and with the network of Love all around us.
Take a minute now to decide you will do this today. Be grateful for something. And tell yourself nothing is worth withdrawing your love or your smile from anyone you meet today.
Remember: Life is hard. God is great.
Do your best not to reverse them.
Each of us wants authentic Love. We witness the search for Love all around us. We, ourselves, hunt for it in our family life, friendships, religions, boyfriend/girlfriends, and in our marriages. But it often eludes us. Many of us never find Love.
The answer is because most of us have bought into the idea promulgated on movies and on the television that Love begins and ends with a feeling. But True Love is not a feeling. True Love does not begin with a feeling. True, or Agape, Love begins with a decision. Agape Love is a decision to deem the needs of others’ on par with our own needs. True Love is the willingness to Live sacrificially and to give without expecting anything in return (and often times, that is exactly what you will receive in return – at least in the manner that humans consider such things).
True, or Agape, Love begins with a decision.
While Agape does not begin with feelings and is not based on feelings, feelings of True Love follow our decision to live in a State of Agape. Once the decision is made to Live Life caring for the needs of others as if they were our own needs, our lives begin to be filled with not just Love; but with Joy, Truth, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Don’t think this is a painless or easy process, however. It is often a thorny issue to overcome the obstacles to Love that all of us have erected as self-defense mechanisms against past wounds, hurts, disappointments, and rejections. One of the most important things we can do when embarking on a Journey to True Love is committing to Forgiveness.
By searching our souls and asking the forgiveness of those we have offended – God, Others, and especially Ourselves — we become able to move beyond the cycle of acrimony and animosity present in our Lives and embrace Agape.
Hand-in-hand with forgiveness is the concept of personal responsibility. So often, with our human pride, ego, and jealousy intact we wish to point the finger at someone else and lay the blame for our problems at their feet. But doing so, always separate us from True Love… and these things are almost always untrue. This is incredibly hard to accept sometimes. No one wants to believe that they are 100% responsible for everything in their Life.
And perhaps it is even technically incorrect from time-to-time. However, when I reach the place where instead of blaming my boss, or parents, or friend, or enemy, or co-worker, or my upbringing, or my Church culture, or the weather, or my financial condition, etc. etc. – and instead my immediate thoughts and words are, “I AM responsible!” I begin to witness my Life change in ways I could not imagine!
Why is this?
Because I cannot ‘fix’ anything I don’t believe is broken.
I cannot ‘fix’ anything I don’t believe is broken.
When I point the finger at someone else, or a circumstance, or nature, or even God or religion – what I am truly saying to the universe is that I am NOT responsible. I am saying that “he” or “she” or “they” or “it” did this thing that is causing my Life to suck.
As soon as I mature enough to say, “hey, my Life is not where I want it to be. What do I not like about it?”
And, then, no matter what the answer is: I immediately claim responsibility . . . I become 100% able to fix it…often very easily! Something I was completely incapable of doing seconds before I took 100% responsibility. It is surprisingly easy once I get into the habit of doing this, but my pride resists this fiercely until I get into this habit!
I failed the pop quiz? I AM 100% responsible.
My tire went flat in the middle of nowhere? I AM 100% responsible.
My girlfriend cheated on me? I AM 100% responsible.
I got fired, played a bad round of golf, had a dismal presentation at work, didn’t get a raise I should have received, my boyfriend hated the Christmas present I got him, my wife burned dinner this evening, my bank account is short $1,000. . .
I AM 100% RESPONSIBLE!
Once I can do this. Once I become responsible and forgive myself and others for everything that happens in my Life, Agape flows in and True Love is suddenly all around me. As I act with humility instead of blame, I find freedom and liberation to look beyond my own selfish desires to take hold of a Brother’s or Sister’s hand and help them.
True Love is not a feeling. True Love is a decision; perhaps a series of decisions.
And though it is initially painful; it is soooooooooo worth it.
Try it and see. It just might change everything.
The Truth is that each of us creates everything that is in our Life.
Every single thing: every person, event and circumstance that is in our Life is there because we created it.
I know, I know: If you grew up in Judeo-Christian culture, like me, this may seem shocking. Perhaps even blasphemous. No one is saying you are THE Creator.
But you are A creator.
Everything in our Lives is present because we created it. There are NO coincidences. Luck is something that exists in fairy tales only.
The corollary of that Truth is: when we attempt to resist things, or ‘fix’ our circumstances, or push people or events out of our Life – we deny our creatorship (again, notice the lower-case ‘c’ in creatorship).
But let’s go ahead and explore the obvious parallel: Did you ever notice the way the story teller in Genesis describes God’s reactions during the week of creation? After creating each item, what does God say?
“It is good.”
The storyteller never indicates God said, “Oooh, check Me out! That is perfect.”
On the other hand, He never says, “Ooops. Big mistake over yonder.”
He doesn’t say it. He says after each day’s toil, “it is good.”
When we come to the place where we can survey our Life; when we can assess everything we have created in our Life: the Joy, the Truth, and everything Loving . . . as well as the pain, the ugliness, and what we fear — when we can gaze upon it all and proclaim: “I did that.” “I created all this.”
“. . . and it is good.”
When we accomplish that feat, our entire Life changes.
When we can accept what is in our Life, without blame or condemnation . . . when we reach the place where we stop judging everything, especially ourselves, and Love instead. . .
Guaranteed. Or you will get a refund of 100% of the money you have spent reading this post!
It must be a tough life to follow the Most Famous Verse in the Bible. You might be incredible and yet will never get out of the shadow of your more famous sibling and be recognized on your own merit.
Can anyone actually quote John 3.17 by heart?
Just in case, here are the next two verses after John 3.16 in both the NIV and Phillips Versions
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:17-18 NIV
You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it—through him. Any man who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because he will not believe in the character of God’s only Son. John 3:17-18 J.B. PHILLIPS
What do the highlighted passages mean to you? “Not to condemn” and “not to pass judgment on” – these are verdicts that seem like “not guilty,” The way J.B. Phillips translates the last passage seems like “the prosecutor refused to move forward with the case against the Defendant.”
Does this mean that Jesus has done everything for us? Does this mean that Faith in Him grants me justification under the law? Is it a complete justification or only partial – leaving me with some work I must do? Or commands I must obey?
Am I saying the commands are not important? Absolutely not. They are important for us to follow so that we lead Lives of Abundance – the entire reason Jesus came here for us!
But I think we do ourselves a disservice when we focus on not running afoul of the Ten Commandments instead of focusing on Jesus. Which is focusing on Love.
As long as we live here, we WILL sin. We will have troubles. We will have trials. We will have conflicts and arguments with friends, family, and fellow Church members. And we will break the Ten Commandments.
The question is: When we do, will we be so distraught that we let it upset our Christian Life? Or will we apologize to whomever we have wronged, and apologize to God, and then LEAVE IT RIGHT THERE — knowing unequivocally that we are forgiven? Or do we tend to wallow a bit in how revolting of a Christian we actually are?
The Apostle Paul did not judge himself.
The Apostle Paul came to a place where he said he no longer even judged himself. Can we do that? Can we make the choice to be the best we can, but make daily improvement instead of perfection our goal? Can we choose to be less hypocritical and judgmental? And more Loving like our Jesus?