Recently, while at my desk reading the Bible, my young cleaning lady who speaks limited English asked what I was reading. As I began attempting to explain the story of the tares and the wheat, she had a puzzled look on her face. Realizing I was trying to intellectualize the parable, immediately I turned to God and thought of Proverbs 3:5 where it states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
There is no recollection of what I said but her smile was huge as I realized Truth and Love was what she understood. It made no difference the words but it is clear that Love and Truth represent the Universal Language. Maybe it was just putting the Bible down and giving her time. Maybe she knew I really cared about her. There is no doubt that we both felt the presence of God as we embraced and said out “Good-byes”.
This morning I am thinking about Heaven being a state of mind and I am reminded of something I heard many years ago. “We cannot get to Heaven until everyone does.” To me that means if I am seeing ungodlike traits in anyone, that can keep me from experiencing joy and peace. We need to see others as God sees them; not the rough and sometimes nasty exterior. So often, they are coming from fear. Just like at Halloween, we don’t believe the scary costumes at our door, when the children come to “trick or treat”, but know the purity and innocence beneath that apparel.
Luke 6:37 states “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Only then, can we experience Heaven.
The above was on my mind this morning as I awoke and I was immediately reminded of the words “under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. Indivisible meaning undivided and “for all” is self-explanatory. While praying for our country I was led to a verse in a hymn that is sung in our Church.
“Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Here health and peace are found, Life, Truth, and Love;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow but Love can remove.”
“Perfect Love casteth out fear.” Fear is always at the base of any discomfort followed by hatred and resentment. Recognizing this, I know I have to begin my prayer work with God/Love and see how He is seeing things. I know it is not from eyes that are filled with hatred, resentment, bitterness, etc. Today, I will look through God’s eyes and listen carefully; rather than with judgment and self-righteousness.!
Almost twenty years ago, during a challenging and dark time in my life, I moved to a city where I knew no one. During this time, I visited a downtown Church which I found very unfriendly. In looking back, during the year I visited I sat at the back and left immediately following the benediction. Several years passed before returning to this Church due to a move which was nearby and it made sense for me to go there. This time I became involved with different committees and stayed after Church each service to say “Hello” and be greeted as well.
Without a doubt, this Church became so important in my Life and I made lifetime friends there. Several years ago, I moved again and have a new Church but continue with relationships formed there and also, attend when we are in the area. How on earth could I have ever thought this Church unfriendly? I know how. I was so closed-minded and scared of being hurt, that I couldn’t see or feel the Love surrounding me.
Psalm 13:5 states “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” My heart fills with humility and gratitude as I realize that I have never been separated from God and never will.
This morning I read an article about a woman who, for months, had a pain in her neck. During this time, she prayed and prayed about it. One day over lunch with a friend, the conversation turned to someone this woman strongly disliked. During this conversation she was reminded that our true being is spiritual, perfect and harmonious. Her constant feeling of dislike about this person had become habitual without her even recognizing it. Soon after praying to see this person as God sees her, there was a resolution and the relationship was healed. Shortly after, the pain was gone in her neck because there was absolutely no tension when she thought about the other person.
As I was pondering this, I was reminded about a political figure who I didn’t like and was always listening to garbage about this person. Since I didn’t know this person personally, I didn’t see the harm until I realized that I was disobeying God. I John 3 :7 states “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” That means everyone! We can not pick and choose who we see as the child of God.
This morning in my Bible study was Ecclesiastes 5:8 which reads “If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for He that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.” As we listen to the news, this verse can be so comforting. Of course, we should take human footsteps as God reveals to us what is to be done, but there is enough anger, human will and hatred already. As I pray with this verse and know in my heart God is in control with no opposing power, I am comforted and listen for His instructions. One thing I know for sure is Love should be first and foremost in our heart; not ego, greed and ambition.
As I ponder this story of Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, there are so many things that made it an unusual occurrence. Firstly, for a Jewish man to talk to a woman, much less a Samaritan woman was rare. Her reputation couldn’t have been pristine if she had five previous husbands and was not married to the man she was currently living with at the time. When His disciples returned and found Him, they, too, were surprised. The one thing that Jesus was positive about, was her receptivity; therefore, her recognition of the Christ as He told her about herself. In her humility , she expressed gratitude for this conversation.
1 Samuel 16:7 states “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.'” Jesus was certainly looking at the Samaritan woman’s heart that day and it remains that way. Today, I will actively work about keeping my heart free from worry, anxiety, jealousy, envy, bitterness and pray that it be filled with grace, love and kindness. That is what God will see.