January 4, 2017

bible study imageSubject: Making amends

Most of us make mistakes. We hurt ourselves and others when we make bad decisions. However, we can recognize and learn from those mistakes. We can get on the right track to helping ourselves and others.

Relationships require mindfulness in order to not make the same mistakes. We can find information that tells us how to nurture, rather than destroy relationships. The Center for Change & Well-being posted an article on November 2016, titled, 4 mistakes couples make that destroy their relationship and offers advice. One scenario presented reminds us to avoid “stonewalling” or giving the “silent treatment.”

It’s a mistake to shut down and become unresponsive to our partner. The non-verbal distance creates an emotional distance that widens until too late to come back together. The article explains, “To prevent your relationship from falling apart you need to understand that conflict is part of a healthy relationship; it’s how you and your partner communicate your needs and differences to each other.

“Be aware of your behaviors and understand what you are really upset about, and target that, rather than using passive-aggressive behaviors to communicate how you feel with your partner.

“Try focusing more on what you want and less about what your partner is doing wrong.  It’s how you react to the conflict that predicts the future of your relationship.”

As for mistakes on the job, in 2013, NPR’s TED Radio Hour, interviewed healthcare physicians about Making Mistakes.  They discussed the need to “redefine the medical environment” and create a culture that offers in a loving supportive way to exercise pointing out and correcting mistakes. Moreover, the idea of “rewarding for coming clean,” was considered.

This same principle can be applied to our spiritual work. We need to admit mistakes made on our spiritual journey and it can be done with compassion and the integrity to move forward with humility.

Granted, it’s easy to make mistakes and difficult to fix them, but when mistakes are corrected, we learn. We make progress. And the progress includes others.

In your Bible, please read I Samuel, chapter 1. This story tells about a barren woman named Hannah. She went to the temple and prayed with such a fervor that the priest, Eli, made the mistake of thinking she was drunk. Eli did approach and reproach Hannah, but she showed him she wasn’t drunk. Eli admitted his mistake. He made amends by blessing and encouraging Hannah. She went home and conceived a child, Samuel, that would later help Eli in the temple and become a prophet to the greater population.

The tactic to make amends is practical today.

In the basic text for Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book, details the Twelve Step program. Steps eight and nine shows the need to make a list of all persons harmed and then become not only willing to make amends to them all, but actually follow through on making direct amends wherever possible.

The clincher is, mistakes oftentimes need to be amended for repeatedly.

Please read Luke 11: 24-26

Unclean spirits return to haunt us, but God has given us the ability to come clean, make amends, and continue increasing our spiritual progress.

From 21st Century Science and Health, copyrighted

Humanity’s dependence on the relentless passions, selfishness, envy, hatred, and revenge—is beaten only by a mighty struggle. Every hour of delay makes the struggle more severe.

Calling on Mind to forgive our unfinished or sloppy work is useless. To repeatedly ask for forgiveness, yet repeat lousy behavior, is ridiculous. Human beings may forgive, however, divine Principle reforms.

A human judge sometimes remits the penalty but this may not be a moral benefit to the criminal. At best, it only saves the criminal from one form of punishment. The moral law, which has the right to acquit or condemn, always demands restitution before human beings can “move up to a better place.”[1]

Never condemn rashly. “If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also,”[2] because if you refrain from retaliation, you will be struck again.

Suffering is just as much a mental condition as enjoyment. You not only cause bodily suffering mentally, but you can also aggravate the suffering by admitting its reality and persistence. In the same way, you enhance your joys by believing them to be real and continuous.

It is a mistake even to complain or to be angry over sin. To be whole, people must be better spiritually as well as physically. To be spiritual, we must forsake the temporal sense of things, turn away from the lies of false beliefs, look to Truth, and gather the facts of being from the divine Mind. The body improves under the same plan which perfects the thought.

Divine Principle causes us to correct our mistakes.

A desire for spirituality is requisite in order to gain it, and if we desire spirituality above all else, we will surrender all mortal thoughts. We must be willing to surrender mortal thoughts in order to walk securely in the only practical road to immortality.

Truth encourages the elements of freedom.

Spirit blesses the multiplication of its own pure and complete ideas.

Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-engaging spiritual love.

Quoting from science & religion to God, copyrighted

We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin—though sin will be punished until spiritual understanding casts it out as unreal.

What does it mean to be one with the divine? If we look to Christ Jesus, we learn that divine oneness involves rules (e.g. The Golden Rule[3]) and credible inspiration. It’s both an individual and collective mission. Unity with God isn’t popular with the world, but it is fair to our self and merciful to others.

Oneness with the divine isn’t about God coming to earth to be with human beings. Oneness with the divine isn’t about Jesus dying and automatically uniting us to God. Oneness is about discovering God.

We are reconciled to the divine by attaching to the law of Spirit and detaching from the laws of matter, sin, and death. This restructuring redeems and gives us a sense of unity, rather than separation. We don’t invent spirituality, but find our spirituality is inseparable from God.

Every twinge of repentance and suffering, every effort to reform, every good thought and deed will help us to unite with the divine.

We can gain a little each day in the right direction. We can stop thinking bad thoughts about ourselves and other people, we can stop gossiping. We can engage in worthwhile activities. We can act responsibly.

[1] Luke 14:10

[2] Matt. 5:39; Luke 6:29 (NRSV)

[3] Matthew 7:12; Luke 6: 31