Do as I Say…

Funny how this seeking for a higher meaning works, just when you think you’ve got something figured out, your turn your perspective a fraction of a degree, and suddenly it’s a whole new landscape.  There are certain verses that seem to return again and again, to show you that what you thought you knew was, in reality, only a small sampling of a greater truth, a greater equation, and that’s why I’ve landed back on Isaiah 29:13, which states, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me,”  It’s not just about being estranged from God, but also about duplicity; about our persistent habit of commingling words and actions, our false logic of substitution in which we assume our words and actions are interchangeable, and our expectation that others do what we cannot ourselves do.

We can say all the right things in flowery prose and elegant verse. We can talk our fool heads off about what is right, what is fair, what we think others should do, or be willing to do. We can be as socially acceptable and politically correct as the best little soldier out there, but the true test of where we live is in the heart, and while we can say anything, and oft times we actually do, our actions are the reflection of our thoughts and beliefs. The heart is where action resides. If we say we are against bullying, but bully others in order to prove they are bullies, then we become what we call, we use our lips to prove our “rightness” while showing what lives in our hearts: a bully. We can talk of peace and cooperation, we can take others to task for what they say or don’t say, but if our actions don’t back up our lips, we are nothing but liars, hypocrites.  We can talk a big game, but when it comes right down to it, our hearts reveal our true intent, our true thoughts and feelings, our true core beliefs, and how we act speaks to what is in our hearts.

Words and actions are not the same; they do not bear the same weight. While words can be illuminating, clarifying, and insightful, they can also be deceiving, misguided and false. Actions on the other hand, are like a mirror; they merely reveal and reflect who we are in our heart of hearts.

“Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.” (Matthew 6:5)

~SLM

What Now We Harvest

Sometimes it’s the most difficult thing in the world, focusing on the harvest. It’s so easy to get mired down in the drama of everyday life, to get our feelings hurt, if things don’t go exactly as we want them to, and that’s when the temptation to scatter just any old seeds is the strongest.  It’s so much easier to put others down, to puff up our chests with self-righteous indignation for an imagined slight or insult. Matthew 7:8 tells us that whatever we seek we will find, so if we are looking for indignation, we’ll find it, if we’re looking for hate, we’ll find that, too, but, by the same token, of we seek love and compassion, that’s what we find.

It’s so easy to criticize others, to hold them accountable to a standard that we ourselves haven’t the discipline or courage to live by. We are told, “Do not judge, or you, too, will be judged in the same manner that you have judged, and with the same measure that you have used,”(Matthew 7:1-2.) Yet, that doesn’t stop us from looking down on them, from judging them for not leading the exemplary lives that we ourselves are unable to lead. We are, indeed, all hypocrites, aren’t we? We feign outrage when someone else acts in precisely the manner we do. We wail and lament that we find no respect, no honor, no happiness or love, all the while forgetting those seeds we scattered so carelessly, so imprudently – what now we harvest.

~SLM

The Course We Choose

Sometimes in our daily lives certain events lead us to contemplation, and this week those events have lead me to the first few verses in Matthew 7.  Verses 1-2 say, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you,” and this got me to thinking…

Why is it so easy for us to see the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye, and yet we totally ignore the plank in our own? And why do we even feel compelled to point it out?  We readily see the faults of others and rarely see our own. Why do we expect others to live up to the standards that we ourselves are not disciplined enough to achieve, and isn’t pointing out to others what we perceive to be their faults another way of judging them?  We are not on the other side of that fence; we don’t know what has happened over there, or what has been brought to fruition as a result of the happenings.

Matthew 6:37 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” What if we just let others be who they are without condescension, without arrogance, and without disrespect. What if we really did love each other as we would be loved? What if we took as much time and trouble to point out to ourselves where we are lacking, spending our energy improving ourselves through meditation, prayer, self-awareness and self-control, instead of trying to perfect others by criticizing, scorning, belittling and ridiculing them?

It’s mind-boggling to me how, at times, it can be so difficult for us to accept responsibility for ourselves. We look to others, to outside sources, in any direction except in the mirror.  We want to blame someone or something for the situation that we find ourselves in, and we never even consider that the reason we find ourselves where we are is because of the choices we have made. We choose the direction, we navigate the waters, and we find ourselves in precisely the place we’ve been headed to all along. Even if we aren’t exactly aware of how we’ve come to this pass, one thing’s for certain,we didn’t take the other road, we took this one, and we are on the course we choose.

James 2:13 tells us, “There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. “ Living a wise life is about being lifted up, about lifting others up, about striving for a higher vibration – the vibration of love and patience. We cannot change others, only ourselves, and it’s our perspective that either makes a prisoner of us, or sets us free.

~SLM