NTI: Matthew 18:5-6: Do not ask your brother to change his place, but love him in his place. And then ask Me how your brother’s place is helpful to you.
Those who were part of a conversation this morning about a teacher’s seeming failures knows just how perfect this passage is for me. First, it can be tempting to put a teacher on a pedestal because I appreciate what they do for me so very much, and because I don’t seem to be able to do it for myself right now. That is why they are my teachers. They have gone ahead a few steps and left footprints for me to follow. But, it is an error for me to place them above me. If they are above me they are different from me. And so they would be separate and if I believe this I have made separation real in my mind.
Then what happens when the brother falls off his pedestal? My judgment placed him there and my judgment can take him down. What have I taught myself now? If my brother is in a precarious place, standing on shifting soil, then so am I. If a wrong action can cause him to fall and be less than, then the same is true for me. Where is my peace now? I can have none as long as this is my belief.
And how big does the error have to be before I am willing to knock him off the pedestal? Can he commit venial sins? Or maybe it would be ok for a mortal sin or two, but not more? What is the unforgivable sin, the one I cannot overlook? When he commits that one will I have to discard his teachings and move onto someone else? On what do I base my judgment? This is starting to sound very scary because if there is an unforgivable sin, I now live in dread of running afoul of it. Maybe I already have.
Jesus, what would you have me know about this?
Jesus: I would have you look with Vision rather than with judgment, so that you will not be confused by behavior and illusions. Look to his innocence so that you might be reminded of your own innocence. As Jesus I did not choose my disciples because I was impressed with their behavior, rather because of the innocence of their Spirit. They chose ego many times before I chose them and many times after, but this did not affect their innocence, nor their helpfulness as my disciples.
I choose you as my disciple and do not be deceived that I made an error because you seem in this story not to be perfect. I choose many and none of them appear perfect. Teach yourself your perfection, my dear friend, by teaching your brother his perfection. Do not be distracted by what he shows you in this dream. In the dream all become confused in their identity. Remind each other of the truth by believing only the truth.