- VI. The Holy Instant and the Laws of God, P 1
1 It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt. And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it. Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way. Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself. And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.
It is impossible to use one relationship at the expense of another and not to suffer guilt.
I’m not sure how this works. Perhaps Jesus is talking about leaving a relationship because another seems like it would be better. Sometimes relationships fall away naturally, and sometimes it is necessary to leave a relationship, but this idea that the problem is his or hers and the solution is a different his or her, is never going to work. When I have a problem in a relationship, I look within for the source of that problem, so that I can allow my mind to be healed.
Or maybe taking sides in relationships, using a friend to reinforce your side of an argument with another friend. I used to do that. When I failed to forgive a grievance, I had to justify that failure and so I would gather friends who would agree with me. This would help me shore up my side of the story and that made it easier to go on pretending that I was innocent and the other person was guilty. After a while, I realized that I just felt guiltier and eventually learned to look within for the problem and solve it there.
Maybe it could mean playing favorites, preferring one relationship over another. I used to think that preferring one relationship over another was perfectly normal and unavoidable, that I would just naturally like being with some people more than others. What I have discovered is that I can actually enjoy each relationship equally if I give that relationship to the Holy Spirit. As more false beliefs are corrected, I have fewer preferences, and I tend to enjoy each person because I am not projecting on them like I used to.
And it is equally impossible to condemn part of a relationship and find peace within it.
This took a long time for me to learn. At first, I had no idea it was even a problem. It never occurred to me that I could love and accept all of the relationship. When I was married to an alcoholic, I loved many things about that relationship, but his drinking was something I could not love. That certainly made sense to me. Who would love that?
But what if I could have loved all of the relationship? If I loved completely without exception, my actions and reactions would have been different. I would not have doubted this Son of God. I would not have resented him. He would have felt only unconditional love coming from me. I wonder how different the relationship might have been if this was the case? Maybe my unconditional love might have been the support he needed to make a new choice for his life. But for sure, I know that there is no peace in conflict.
Under the Holy Spirit’s teaching all relationships are seen as total commitments, yet they do not conflict with one another in any way.
I now have friends with all sorts of personalities and beliefs, and these friendships take different forms, but none of them conflict. I can be with them one at a time and what we do and how we interact will be different. I can be with several of them all at once and enjoy the differences without choosing to favor one or the other. There was a time when I couldn’t do that. The change is that I give my relationships to the Holy Spirit now. The specialness is being removed for me and the relationships just naturally transform as I transform.
Perfect faith in each one, for its ability to satisfy you completely, arises only from perfect faith in yourself.
I don’t have perfect faith in my relationships because I don’t have perfect faith in myself. But I also know that this is changing. As I write about this, I am examining my relationships and myself. I am noticing how different they are now than they used to be and I see that this change correlates with changes within myself. I am becoming more certain of myself as I release more ego and thus identify more closely with my true self.
And this you cannot have while guilt remains. And there will be guilt as long as you accept the possibility, and cherish it, that you can make a brother into what he is not, because you would have him so.
And there you go; guilt raises its ugly head again. So much of my inner work revolves around guilt. Why do I not have perfect relationships? It is because I don’t have perfect faith in my brothers and sisters. And why is that? It is because I don’t have faith in me. And why is that? Because I believe I am guilty. In this particular situation, the guilt is taking the form of wanting my brother to be something that I would prefer.
I want to change this. I want to let go of preferences. I choose to become fully accepting of all things. Instead of judging circumstances and people (including myself) I choose to simply accept it all as it is. If something or someone seems to be out of alignment with God’s creation, then let me love it back into alignment rather than trying to manipulate and change for the purpose of making myself more comfortable in my judgments. With the Holy Spirit’s guidance and help, I can do this. I know I can because I have done it. I am learning to make that choice every time. I am learning to master that decision.