Category Archives: Trust God

FORGIVENESS

In his book “Is Human Forgiveness Possible?” Theologian John Patton examines the New Testament story, in which Peter asks Jesus of Nazareth of forgiveness:

“Lord, when my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times?” And Jesus answers: “No, not seven times; I say seventy times seven times.” (Matt. 18:21–22)

Patton comments: Peter’s question seems to say, “Please give me a rule so I don’t have to keep dealing with this. How can I know when enough is enough? I want to know what to do instead of having to come to terms with the history of our relationship.” Jesus’ response to the question says in effect, “I am unwilling to give you a way out of a continuing relationship to your brother.”

For the opposite of “resentment” is forgiveness, recognized by centuries of spiritual thinkers as “the endpoint of human life.” Forgiveness is “given,” and not only in English; the French say “par-downer,” the Spanish “per-donar.” That is because, in the words of D. M. Dooling, a student of mythic spirituality: “Forgiveness belongs to the divine. It is God’s act: something other, something that is not ours; and unless we can acknowledge this, the word is only ‘a noise we make with our mouths.’ ”

What became clear to me from this exchange was the following:
When I am making an amends it is not forgiveness that I am seeking, but the act of doing what is right and cleaning my side of the street. If the other person chooses to forgive me, that is a bonus. Forgiveness ultimately is between my Higher Power and me. Just like a wrong I perceive to have been committed against me; I may forgive it, but the real forgiveness is not up to me. It is between the Power of the Universe and the transgressor.

Forgiveness is not ours to give, but ours to receive. We cannot create it; we can be certain only that it is beyond us, in the sense of beyond our control, beyond our ability to will it into existence.

Excerpt From: Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham. “The Spirituality of Imperfection.”

FORGIVENESS

In his book “Is Human Forgiveness Possible?” Theologian John Patton examines the New Testament story in which Peter asks Jesus of Nazareth, “Lord, when my brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times?” And Jesus answers: “No, not seven times; I say seventy times seven times.” (Matt. 18:21–22)

Patton comments: Peter’s question seems to say, “Please give me a rule so I don’t have to keep dealing with this. How can I know when enough is enough? I want to know what to do instead of having to come to terms with the whole history of our relationship.” Jesus’ response to the question says in effect, “I am unwilling to give you a way out of a continuing relationship to your brother.”

For the opposite of “resentment” is forgiveness, recognized by centuries of spiritual thinkers as “the endpoint of human life.” Forgiveness is “given,” and not only in English; the French say “par-downer,” the Spanish “per-donar.” That is because, in the words of D. M. Dooling, a student of mythic spirituality: “Forgiveness belongs to the divine. It is God’s act: something other, something that is not ours; and unless we can acknowledge this, the word is only ‘a noise we make with our mouths.’ ”

Forgiveness is not ours to give, but ours to receive. We cannot create it; we can be certain only that it is beyond us, in the sense of beyond our control, beyond our ability to will it into existence.

Excerpt From: Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham. “The Spirituality of Imperfection

Building Spiritual Renewal

Spiritual Renewal

Just as God had instructed Moses, the Israelites had done all the work… Exodus 39:42
These are the accounts of the Tabernacle… Exodus 38:21
…a hundred sockets for hundred talents, a talent for a socket.
Exodus 38:7

This is the last chapter of the Book of Exodus. God has forgiven the Israelites their transgressions and in binding the covenant insuring a lasting relationship based on prayer, community and willingness to have no other God.

It is not a coincidence that the instructions for building the Tabernacle include a specific number of sockets for the exact same number of talents. These refer to measures of silver and support beams for the structure. But more importantly Jewish law asks us to recite one hundred blessings every day, reminding us of the foundation of our spiritual renewal.

Creating a new structure requires starting with the base putting together new pieces connected with proper fasteners, wire, pipe and cement. It will not hold together if we simply patch the old. It is the same with our spiritual renewal; we must create it from the beginning.

Thanking the Sunlight of the Spirit one hundred times each day is an expression of our gratitude connecting us with God’s Power so that we may understand what we should do: the next right thing. Our mind is shifted from what is missing in our life to what we have to be thankful for.

Seeking the spiritual depth to recite one hundred blessings every day is progress on our path, and we seek progress not perfection. At the very least we are thankful every day to have today.

Promises To Self

My Promises

I promise myself: Promises
To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk, health, happiness and prosperity for all to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something important within them.
To look at the sunny side of everything making my optimism my truth.
To think only good thoughts, to work only on good deeds and have only good goals.
To not regret the mistakes of the past and go forward creating a future of hope for all.
To wear a cheerful face and smile at every living creäture I encounter.
To give so much to improvement of self that I don’t have time to criticize others.
To be aware of worry, fear and anger but let the Spirit of my Soul shine and dominate the present.

Mystery

How God rules the universe… is a complete mystery. Maimonides

Our Parshat this week has much to think about and apply to our daily life. Two of the stories contain examples of faith and trust that impart the same message.

Speak unto the children of Israel that they bring you a red heifer… Numbers 19:2

This request and proclamation is widely considered the most inane request of our Higher Power. We are asked to purify a cow to protect those who have been defiled, yet the act of purification causes defilement. The wise King Solomon is believed to have said about this statute, “ If this is so, could it be that other commandments, whose purpose I believed to have understood, were more mysterious and profound than I thought?”

And God said”…speak to the rock before their eyes, that it give forth water…” And Moses lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his staff twice… Numbers 20:8

Later in the same chapter Moses is instructed to speak to a rock so that water may spring forth to provide for the Israelites’ thirst and to demonstrate God’s power and love for the people. Moses became angry with the people’s’ complaining and instead strikes the rock. Consequently God proclaims that Moses will not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.

“… believe in Me to sanctify Me before the people” Numbers 20:12

In our quest for spiritual renewal it becomes clear that understanding or making sense of the journey, what our Higher Power has decided is best for us, is not always possible. Our imperfection requires acceptance and tolerance of others and ourselves. This design for living will result in peaceful existence in a world of good choices.

We don’t have to understand how it works. It is enough that we can believe in it to work. Once our faith is strong, we can continue our spiritual journey.

Into your hand I entrust my spirit. Psalm 31.6

Finding Peace

Recovery is difficult at times, but with difficulty comes blessings: I am a human being again. I am finding peace.
My body, my mind and spirit have a new strength. The world looks good. I have respect for my family and friends. My work and co-workers are treated positively and productively.
I avoid places I shouldn’t be and people I shouldn’t be with.
If I am tempted towards relapse, my Higher Power is there to lift me up and carry me if need be.
The fellowship has become a home for me where I can always find peace, if I look for it and am willing to accept it.
This is what I always wanted; this is the life I love to live.

Giving Thanks

If one offers it for thanksgiving. Leviticus 7:12

Sacrifices dominate the beginning of Leviticus; we are instructed in how to, what kind and what for. Since the Torah was received and orally transmitted, it was also said by the early sages and later the Rabbis that when we entered the Messianic era there would not be any need for sacrifices. But the offer of thanksgiving would never end.

The prayers of giving thanks must be more important and of special significance in our lives. Accordingly if we are on a journey of spiritual renewal then it makes sense to be thankful in our prayers each and every time we pray. We are being more aware of things we should be thankful for, then it behooves us to bring them front and center in our prayers. Renewal sharpens our senses, and makes us more appreciative of the wonders of the universe and just how fortunate we are. The Power of the Universe that makes it all possible is deserving of daily, moment-to-moment, thanks.

If ever there is a question of a Higher Power in our lives, we need only behold the heavenly skies at night, or the landscape of a beach with an unlimited view of the ocean and the sun setting. Spiritual growth can begin with simplicity, “God I don’t know if you are there, but if you are, thank you.”

Our prayers of thanks slowly become more than just utterances from our lips, they become an expression of the life we are living and the acts of goodness we perceive and pursue.