GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
Great Morning my friends. It is wonderful to be with you again. I pray all is well with you and that you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones.
I hope you enjoyed the Black History Month presenters, Diane Mitchell, Leroy White, Jr., Carolyn Showell and Angela Taylor. They did a great job, and I am putting it out there now hoping that they will continue the special presentations for Black History Month next year. If you haven’t seen these presentations, they are available on our FB and web pages.
Today we start our new Series for the reminder of Lent. This year, Big Unity’s Lent Series is based upon Rev. Mark Anthony Lord’s book, “The Seven Living Words” and their own booklet based on that book for the Lenten Season, “Release and Renew.”
This booklet has ‘release’ affirmations and ‘renew’ affirmations for Lent. There are also excerpts from Rev. Lord’s book and daily readings for Lent.
I’m reading the book and using this booklet for our Services, as well as whatever I find in my heart and online, to add to the Message.
This week we are looking at the words, “forgiveness” and “NOW”.
So, what were the Seven Last Words of Jesus? They were, “…for they know not what they do.”
Jesus, our Way-Shower, gets right into it, doesn’t he? No messing around. We are to forgive because sometimes we, everyone, do not know, not understand, what we do.
How many times are we going to talk about forgiveness? Well, as many times as we need to get to the point where we are forgiving? Where there is no question whether forgiveness is even needed or required.
70 x 7?
YES! And even more, if necessary.
If we are all one, then when we forgive others, we are forgiving ourselves, and vice-verse.
Forgiveness is the mightiest of spiritual acts. Without it, we are blocked in our spiritual journey. Forgiveness resurrects our peace of mind from the perils of victimhood and releases our negative judgments.
SO why do we have to discuss forgiveness still? Because we are human, living in a dualistic world. And our error thinking gets going and before we know it, we do something that we need to ask forgiveness, of others…of ourselves.
Or someone does something to us that we think requires forgiveness from them.
We forget. ‘…forgive them for they no not what they do.’ To err is human.
We recognize the destructiveness of unforgiveness and remember that it arises from a lack of understanding.
Fred Luskin, Ph.D., has been studying forgiveness for many years. He said forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.
Thinking that forgiveness is needed is error thinking, which causes fear-driven choices. If we are in fear, then we truly do not know what we do.
Rev. Lord tells us, “seeing so much bad in the world is not an indication that what you see is correct; it is, instead, a sign that you are stuck in the illusion of duality and seeing incorrectly.”
Our collective belief system has come up with some horrific manifestations…Hitler is one most people question right away. And we have witnessed some pretty extreme examples of fear-based manifestations in the last year, right here in our country.
All based upon fear and the belief of separation.
Well, we are not separate. We are One. There are no lines of separation if we are practicing forgiveness.
If we do not accept the process of forgiveness, then, as Rev. Nirvana Gayle states: “If we’re unwilling to heal, we only condemn ourselves as species to reenact and repeat whatever is unhealed.”
Haven’t we seen this already, throughout our country’s short existence?
The racial divide is enough in itself to maintain the unhealed if we do not take a stand and move forward with the healing process.
Forgiveness is the act of releasing ourselves from the bondage of an ongoing negative connection. Forgiveness resurrects our peace of mind from the perils of victimhood and releases our negative judgments.
Let’s reach out as our Way-Shower has shown us with the simple but powerful words: “Father forgive them…” Jesus is “calling upon the divinity, the wholeness, and the unconditional love of God to do the forgiving.”
John 14:10 tells us, “It is the Father within that doeth the work.”
The Father within Is the consciousness of all that is good, perfect, and pure.
Research tells us we are wired for revenge and forgiveness, and we have the capacity to choose either response. Researchers are specific about how they define forgiveness when studying its effects on our well-being and happiness. Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky calls forgiveness “a shift in thinking” toward someone who has harmed you. It has nothing to do with reconciliation, forgetting, excusing or justice. When you are ready, forgiveness is a powerful choice you can make that can lead to greater well-being and relationships. This choice carries with it an intention to heal yourself.
So then, How Do We Forgive? Mary-Alice and Richard Jafolla in “The Quest, A Journey of Spiritual Rediscovery” tell us:
We make up our minds and our hearts to let go, knowing that carrying around anger and judgment toward others or ourselves is a burden we no longer wish to bear.
To understand forgiveness, we need to understand what it is not. It is not about condoning bad behavior or saying we must trust those who have mistreated us. It does not mean that there will be no justice for bad acts.
Consider this from H. Emilie Cady’s Lessons in Truth, written more than 100 years ago:
“To forgive does not simply mean to arrive at a place of indifference to those who do personal injury to us; it means far more than this. To forgive is to give for—to give some kind of actual definite good in return for evil given.”
This may seem like a tall order but when done, we can see the results straightaway. Rather than be consumed with anger and bitterness, we forgive. Forgiveness is the answer.
Those who we believe have been unjust to us, “know not what they do”…perhaps they have pushed us to new levels of being, enlarging our hearts and minds.
I forgive myself for my mistakes, and I forgive others for their mistakes, knowing none of us is perfect.
The Second Living Word for this week fits in perfectly…it is Now.
Mark Anthony Lord looks to the crucifixion scene and sees Jesus representing the Now. The two men crucified with him represent the Past and the Future.
The past and the future play a big part when we are in the midst of transformation.
Jesus’ said, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”
Paradise. The Kingdom of Heaven.
It is available to us here, now and always.
But paradise can only be experienced in the now-present moment.
It is not so much the past that determines our current experience but our thoughts aboutthe past. We do not allow the past to rob us. We give thanks for how it has shaped us.
Anxiety, worry and doubt about the future rob us and so we bring our attention to the present moment. Spiritual awareness gives us strength and protection. Today we are with Spirit. And only today – in the present moment – can we experience paradise. Paradise – our oneness with God. It is here, it is now, it is forever. Experience it in this moment now.
Nothing else exists except the eternal now. God and all good things are present in your life NOW.
A Course in Miracles tells us; “Look lovingly upon the present, for it holds the only things that are forever true.”
In what areas are you “walking backwards” through life? To what extent are you using the past as a blueprint for the present?
In what way are your thoughts and feelings about the future affecting your present happiness?
These questions when answered may help you release what is holding you from experiencing NOW moments.
The saying, “One day at a time” could be ‘one moment at a time. We need to learn how to be present in our lives one moment at a time.
That is when change takes place. Where learning to grow into the people we want to be…who we need to be to truly live a blessed life.
It’s not wrong to have desires. Neither is it wrong to expect fair treatment. But our flights into our past or future leave us wanting for the peace that can only be found in the Now moment.
And we will have disappointments when our dreams to not come to fruition. When we spend too much time lamenting the unrealized dream, we miss opportunities in the here and now.
Disappointment can be a joy destroyer. We all need to process our disappointments.
But we also need to realize that God is our Source. What we were hoping for may not be what is ours to have or experience.
And if we are really in touch with ourselves and the Universe, then we know not to have expectations…that’s hard though, isn’t it? Disappointments come from having expectations.
In the “Creative Mind.” Ernest Holmes tells us:
Life is for us today. There will be no change for tomorrow unless we do the changing today. Today we are setting into motion the power of tomorrow. Today is God’s day, and we must extract from it what of life we are to live. Tomorrow in the divine course of events will care for itself. The soul that learns to live in the great gladness of today will never weary of life but will find that he is living in an eternal here and now.”
The Now moment is where paradise resides. The Now moment is the only space and time where we can change, grow, and feel real joy…that is where God resides.
Two wonderful words to start our series for Lent. The other words for future Sundays are: Oneness, Truth, Vision, Completion, Surrender.
I hope you will continue to tune in to our Sunday messages. I am sure much wisdom and compassion will be part of Rev. Lord’s thoughts. I met him years ago at Unity Village, a wonderful man with great, positive energy.