WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S TEACHERS?
page 13, paragraph 2
2 Therefore, God’s teachers are wholly gentle. 2They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. 3To those who would do harm, it is impossible. 4To those to whom harm has no meaning, it is merely natural. 5What choice but this has meaning to the sane? 6Who chooses hell when he perceives a way to Heaven? 7And who would choose the weakness that must come from harm in place of the unfailing, all-encompassing and limitless strength of gentleness? 8The might of God’s teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God’s Son nor his Creator. 9Thus did they join their thoughts with Him Who is their Source. 10And so their will, which always was His Own, is free to be itself.
I can remember being harsh with my husband when I was married. I would feel attacked by him and I would defend myself. It felt like strength when I defended myself, but it was really weakness. I know now that in my defenselessness my safety lies is a wholly true statement. When I would defend myself two things would happen; our relationship would deteriorate a little, and I would feel more vulnerable.
At that time, I wasn’t able to see things differently. It was going to be awhile before I realized the strength of gentleness. I had to learn that everyone is innocent in spite of appearances. Once I accepted that as true, I knew that there had to be another way to see and I would ask the Holy Spirit to clarify the situation for me. Most of the time now I see the innocence beneath the defenses and attacks and gentleness comes naturally. When it doesn’t, I ask for clarity.
A student of mine gave me this wonderful metaphor that helps to understand attack and to respond with gentleness. It looks like this. We all have layers of beliefs that make up our self and our view of the world. Most of those beliefs are from the ego mind and are defensive in nature, and always skewed. But they feel very real to us and they determine how we see things and how we respond to them.
My friend said she sees this as a bubble surrounding us. So we float along in our bubble assuming that the world and how we see it is accurate. Everyone has their own bubble filled with their own perceptions. So when one person in a relationship says something to the other, it might very well be misunderstood when interpreted through the perceptions that make up their bubble world. This is how arguments and bad feelings occur, and they leave each person confused and therefore angry, fearful, and defensive.
The thing is, these bubbles are floating in an ocean of Love and Peace, but as long as the perceptions within the bubble are unquestioned, the bubble itself remains intact and no one experiences the peace and love that is all around them. If one in the relationship is able to perforate the bubble even a little, the Love they are in will infiltrate the bubble and illuminate the perceptions making them truer than they were.
Now that one, with a mind much clearer will see that the other is not cruel or unfeeling, and are in fact perfectly innocent. It is clear that they are just stuck in their bubble of mistaken beliefs, and the natural tendency will be to gently extend love rather than to defend and attack. The extension of love will defuse the situation and perhaps give the other person a chance to reconsider.
I love this image of the bubbles floating in an ocean of Love. I think it will help me to always question my beliefs and to consider how others might be trapped in their own beliefs. This better way to see things will help to ensure that I never again judge someone harshly and that I am gentle in my actions and words.