As I wrote last week, forgiveness brings us back into the kingdom of God, where everyone is equal, a child of God. Over time, as we give up all that stands between us and God, and as we live into love and forgiveness, we become aware that our attention is less and less on ourselves and more and more on others—their needs, their stories. As we begin to really care about others, we are on the road to true humility, where we are just one of the 7+ billion people that belong to God on this planet. We come to know through our experience that our needs will be met by God, as we seek to serve other people’s needs, be they physical, mental, psychological or spiritual. After a lifetime—however long—of focusing on me, mine and ours, we find that fears and judgments, prejudices and angers, agendas and desires, are easing up in us. And that what is left is what God wants for us. So, there we stand before God, that amazing Creator and Sustainer of our world, humbled beyond all understanding.
The amazing thing is that it no longer matters to us what the ego wants. That is humility and trust and dedication in spades. As long as we are in these human bodies, we will find our ego’s popping up in our minds often, but that we, in all humility, don’t pay any attention to it. Our attention is totally on the “still small voice” of God that Elijah experienced on the mountain top (1 Kings 19:12).
It is in listening to that quiet voice within us that we truly discover ourselves, no longer of the culture or of the world, but in hearing God’s plans for us, step-by-step, moving to the fulfillment of the purpose for which He created each of us. As we really settle into His desires for us, we learn more and more about who we really are, what will fulfill us, what will bring us joy and peace, love and patience and all the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). The last fruit, self-controlled, really means humility. For it describes the essence of a person who is totally devoted to God’s plan for him or her. We can feel these fruit arise in us, the more we are dedicated to God’s plan for us.
Humility is not the denial of who we are, just the leveling of our importance in the scheme of things, especially in our own minds. The more devoted we are to God and to others, the more humility arises in us. We cannot get into the kingdom on our own specialness, only through our devotion. There’s a lot in us that needs to be healed: egocentricity, sins, traumas, pain—these stand between us and God, and only God can heal those issues, and only with our consent. As He heals us, He is transforming us into the people He created to be. If we’re thinking the way we’ve always thought, if we’re living as we always lived, then we are not following the Indwelling Spirit of God. This is why I think that life here on Earth is a school, designed to teach us how to love and forgive, if we are willing to learn these lessons. We are destined to be growing into His love and forgiveness throughout our lives, since there is a lot to overcome in our design as human beings.
Jesus refers to this inability to see and hear, quoting Isaiah 6:8-10:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13:14-15)
If we are willing to see and hear what Jesus is really saying—and not just interpreting His sayings in a small way that serves us, we truly are listening the Indwelling Spirit of God. Our eyes and ears clearly see the implications for each of us when we read the Bible and when we hear the voice of the Spirit of God within us. We have turned to God as the Source of all we need. We have given up all that stands between us and God. We live in the truth about ourselves and every other human being on this earth. We live with our eyes and ears focused on all that God is saying to us, all that we must understand to truly follow God. And we then do in the world what we are called to do. It’s an amazing life He wants to give us—life at its fullest! Just designed for each of us!
Questions to ponder over the week: Does my ego get in the way of my love for God, my purpose in life, and other fulfilling things I might choose to do if it weren’t for the ego? Can I let go of my own agendas, self-importance and fears and hatreds in order to take in God’s love and forgiveness? Can I then share that love and forgiveness with everyone I meet?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who can love and forgive ourselves and share that same love and forgiveness with others. May we be the people of heart and spirit, instead of self-centeredness and focusing only on ourselves.
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- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest books, “Called to Help the Poor and Needy” and “A Study Guide to the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount” are now in bookstores and on line. The first is about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need. The second is a journaling/pondering guide to Jesus’s most complete sermon.