WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S TEACHERS?
page 13, paragraph 1
1 Joy is the inevitable result of gentleness. 2Gentleness means that fear is now impossible, and what could come to interfere with joy? 3The open hands of gentleness are always filled. 4The gentle have no pain. 5They cannot suffer. 6Why would they not be joyous? 7They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. 8Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. 9God’s teachers trust in Him. 10And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. 11They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. 12Joy is their song of thanks. 13And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. 14His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. 15How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation!
I am usually gentle with others, but I think that sometimes the reason I don’t feel joy is that I have not been gentle with myself and so I am in fear. The fearful suffer pain and distress. This brings more fear and this can spiral out of control if one is not vigilant for this kind of thing. If caught quickly before it gains momentum, it is a simple matter to turn from the ego interpretation and toward the Holy Spirit’s interpretation.
I might wonder how this happens, except that when I think about it I know exactly how it happens. I misspoke, or I had a memory of something I now regret, or maybe I see that something I thought was healed is clearly still a problem. The surprise of it throws me off guard and without thinking, maybe without even realizing it, I have asked the ego what it all means. And the answer sends me down the rabbit hole, and there is no joy to be found there.
Fortunately, this is easily corrected. As soon as I ask for help, which I always do, I become aware of what went wrong and I change my mind. I ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the situation for me, and His help brings me back to sanity. It is all very gentle. I don’t fight the ego; I simply disregard it and let my mind be corrected. With Holy Spirit’s help, I forgive myself. As soon as this happens, I become gentle with myself again and I feel safe, loved and protected. I am peaceful and joyful.
The following is my favorite part of this passage and the motivation that is nearly as strong as peace and joy.
13And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. 14His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. 15How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation!
It brings tears to my eyes to think of being helpful to the Plan of Atonement, to doing my part, to joining with Christ to help us all wake up. I am deeply humbled and grateful that this is so.