How much energy do we use trying to control or move people?
We want people to buy our product so we use words that make our product look best and our competitors look worse. Or maybe we want people to act a certain way, so we use words filled with judgment so their behavior is “good” and not “evil.”
Go beyond language. In our society, we are surrounded by signs guiding people to move in one direction while keeping people from going someplace else. In government we seek to legislate how people are supposed to act. We label something as dangerous or unhealthy, safe or good, then we pass laws that impose these guidelines on behavior.
We no longer do the right thing because we recognize it as a good thing to do. Now we do what we are told because we are afraid of what will happen when we violate the line of control.
Paradoxically this shift away from teaching responsible thinking makes it more likely that we will do the wrong thing, sometimes by accident but more likely out of a sense of rebellion and resistance.
Where is the love in that?
Where is the life in that?
When we reduce our existence to simply navigating a logic tree of what other people tell us is right, a puppet or robot becomes the image of the ideal citizen: they know the rules and they can only operate within those rules.
Sadly, many of our communities of faith don’t help. Many leaders within our communities of faith lead this movement to legislate morality, thinking that is all we need to bring righteousness into the world.
Where is the grace?
When that becomes our focus we have missed the mark in creating a righteous people.
Our task needs to be less about enforcing a set of moral standards and more about inviting people into the full presence of Love. This is how we nurture disciples of the Essence of Life.
Fully dimensional living lives in the Invitation.
No, this is the covenant that I will make with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my Instructions within them and engrave them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
We are created with the gift of a will to make choices with. While our choices are not always the best ones, God continues to give us the choice. We do face the consequences of our choices, but God remains present with us, inviting us again and again to love.
There is no manipulation or management in love. There is invitation and there is response.
Puppets and robots cannot love, no matter what the Science Fiction writers might lead us to believe. A true love that responds freely to the possibilities of life in the Living Presence of Grace is illogical and cannot be imposed or legislated.
We are not puppets or robots, we are people who can say yes to the Great Invitation and who can say No. That is our struggle.
The good news is that even when we say no, the invitation remains open and God’s freely given love waits for us. The great new is that when we say yes, God’s Essence within us remains fresh and alive.
- What can you do to live the invitation?
- Where are you able to say yes to the Presence of love in your life?
- How can you open the door of God’s grace to someone in your life who has known only control or judgment?
- How can you walk through the door yourself?