From the chapter entitled, Reconciliation...
"Very glibly we are apt to use such words as "sympathy," "compassion," "sitting where they sit," but in experience it is genuinely to be rocked to one's foundations. We resist making room for considerations that will bend us out of the path of preoccupation with ourselves, our needs, our problems. We corrupt our imagination when we give it range over only our own affairs. Here we experience the magnification of our own wills, the distortion of our own problems, and the enlargement of the areas of our misery. The activity of which we deprive our imagination in the work of understanding others turns in upon ourselves with disaster and sometimes terror.
The willingness to be to another human being what is needed at the time the need is most urgent and most acutely felt - this is to participate in a precise act of redemption. This is to stand for one intimate moment in loco dei in the life of another - that is, to make available to another what has already been given us. We are not the other person; we are ourselves. All that he is experiencing we can never know - but we can make accurate soundings which, properly read, will enable us to be to him what we could never be without such awareness. To the degree to which our imagination becomes the angelos of God, we ourselves may become His instruments."
~Howard Thurman, Disciplines of The Spirit
Through the years, this experience (person, place or thing) has been a thorn in my side. What do I do when problem circumstances or problem people frustrate my wants and desires? When will I have relief from this challenge?
Last month I had Kanye West's, Heard Em Say in heavy rotation. Adam Levine's vocals have a way of lulling me into a contemplative state...definitely a sweetly finessed accompaniment to Mr. West's lyrics. There's just something about the whole of the song that stirs my spirit. It possesses a mindful openness and innocent appeal...a melody where adult experience is tempered by the longing of a child's heart. And as I allowed the melody to wash over me something happened...my perspective shifted.
Through the years, have I been the thorn in the side of this experience (person, place, or thing)? Have I been the circumstance, the person who has frustrated the wants and desires of those around me? Have I been the challenge without relief for others...my siblings in God..."my neighbors?" "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way" (Psalm 139:23-24, NASB). Love, show me myself.
And I heard Christ say...
Do not judge [others self-righteously], and you will not be judged; do not condemn [others when you are guilty and unrepentant], and you will not be condemned [for your hypocrisy]; pardon [others when they truly repent and change], and you will be pardoned [when you truly repent and change].
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return" (Luke 6:37-38, AMP).
Love set my focus Higher. Rather than being preoccupied with, giving an emotional-spiritual unhealthy amount of attention to how I was experiencing life, I chose...I decided...I allowed...I yielded...I submitted my emotional-spiritual occupation and attention to how my neighbors and siblings in God may be experiencing me. What affect and effect has my presence had in their lives?
What affect and effect has our presence, yours as well as mine, had upon the Most High's ever splendid creation known as Life? Truly, what has flowed from the cisterns of our words and actions? Blessings or curses? Emotional-spiritual healthiness or unhealthiness? Truly, have we effected and affected wealth in our siblings' spirit or poverty in our neighbors' heart? If God searched the whole of me or the whole of you, what would the Most High hear or see?
When I began to ask the Higher questions in prayer, I went from being self-righteous and unrepentant to humble and grateful. In reality, we all have had moments or even entire seasons of life in which we have had a narcissist-esque attention, preoccupation with our own perspective. Yet in Grace, the Holy Spirit has a way of turning persons, places, or things in upon us in such a way that the experience par excellence know as LIFE pricks the inner woman/man and sharpens our scope...sets our affections HIGHER.
In reality, we have experienced the unmerited buffering of full consequence...forgiveness and mercy. Glory be to Love!
When one considers all of his/her ways, one may find that, in reality, they have not truly received the full measure of what their poor words and their poor actions have deserved. What if I received my poor words in full return? What if you received your poor actions in full return? What would be the repercussion of disappointment and hurt in our own mind and heart? In affect, how would you have felt? In effect, what would you have done? What would that perspective be? What would the experience of receiving what we have poorly given to others in life be? Imagine that!
What is the nature of darkness, of one who is unrepentant? Neighbor, what if solely nursing our own hurts and disappointments...choosing...deciding...allowing ourselves...yielding...submitting to pride (in self - in ones own mortal view) has hardened our sight? Or biblically speaking, what if walking by another so as to not "defile" ourselves with their perspective/experience has prevented us from bending to lift in Love (The Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37)? What is the nature of humility? My brother and sister, what could be the purpose of those "thorns" in our respective lives? What is the nature of light, of one who is humble?
Who is the acceptable cistern?
Who is the righteous and immortal view?
And I heard Em say...
"This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts" (1st John 1:5-10, NLT).
For your viewing and listening pleasure :)