You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free. John 8:32
Having been raised in the United States we often talk of freedom. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of thought. And most importantly our unalienable rights to freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If we have the right to the pursuit of happiness why are so few people actually happy? We have it all. We can pursue any dream we can contrive. We have more material abundance than most of the entire world. What is wrong?
I believe we are not Choosing Truth. And I don’t mean in the context of Choosing Jesus, I mean choosing our perceptions of people, places and things that control our moods and attitudes that will either enhance our ability to live a happy live or destroy it. Because there are happy people in all religious faiths and for certain there are unhappy people in all religious faiths.
So it’s not the choosing of religious texts or places of worship that constitute a happy and joyful demeanor its what you allow to rule your head and your heart and what you choose to focus on moment-by-moment that will rule your life.
Earlier in the chapter there is a sneaky piece of wisdom in which Jesus says, Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
Did you catch it?
First Jesus knew where He came from and where He was going. How many of us can say we are keenly aware of that reality? If you said yes, then you obviously know that most of the stuff you experience in life is Not That Important.
To choose truth, to choose happiness, the first choice you can make is to live in your own right size. If you are tempted to get upset because the grocery line is too long or someone cut you off in traffic, choose yourself over frustration. Peace is of higher value and feels better than stress and anxiety. Wouldn’t you agree?
When you have a deep sense of your place in this wild and crazy universe, as a Child of God, and you can detach your emotions from the outside happenings and see them for what they are, FACTS, you won’t get so upset. You don’t have to lose your joy.
And that leads us to the second sneaky piece of wisdom which is that Jesus didn’t judge according to the flesh and He said even further I judge no one.
What does that mean? I thought Jesus was here to judge! Isn’t that the point. Separating the wheat from the chaff. Writing our name in the book of life. Calling us back to Himself if we believe and sending non-believers into everlasting punishment where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth?
Jesus is pure love. Pure love sees more deeply. Pure love allows the unfolding of eternal awareness to happen at our own pace and sets us up for success. We just don’t often realize it. He wants us to learn, not lose. To grow, not die. So life, which we often think is happening TO us is happening FOR us. You are exactly where you need to be right now to learn the lessons God is hoping you will awaken to. Why? So you can be even more aware of His love for you and also His love for others.
Let’s face it. We are the center of our own universe. We experience life through our own eyes and our feelings through our own bodies and that is how we judge situations and people. How they effect us is of utmost importance. But maybe we have it all wrong?
Maybe life is working out for your good. Maybe you are one decision away from a totally new you. Even if only in the space between your ears!
Judging no one means that you can look at what you perceive the facts to be of a situation and pause. You can admit that you only know a very little bit about it. You mostly don’t know what other people think. Or why they do what they do. And you certainly aren’t the center of their universe so the actions they are taking have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
Jesus knew this. Which is why He was never offended. He simply allowed people to be present in their own thoughts and saw their hearts. He didn’t force His will on them or He simply bore witness of the Father. Meaning, He showed up and gave them and experience, a taste of what the Father had to offer. They chose to believe it or not.
This may be hard to swallow. Jesus NOT judging. We’re so engrained with the idea that it almost seems crazy to think that we are free from judgment. But imagine the feeling of being free from judgment. You don’t have to judge yourself anymore!
Then if you truly believe that you can begin your pursuit of happiness. Why? Because you are free from judging others. You realize life is working out for you. You can see that life is working out for others too. And that each moment is a chance to grow and has been specifically designed by you and God to help you awaken to an easier, softer way of living.
Let me close with this idea. Aim for neutrality. This has been my secret weapon for a number of years. To live with serenity (which I do most of the time) I have learned to look at facts, observe from a third person point of view and remain neutral. Neutrality is actually a very high mental vibrational level. It’s solid.
When Hurricane Irma hit our little town of Naples, FL I saw all kinds of craziness. People stressing out over whether to evacuate or stay. People loading up cars with water and standing in long lines to get gas after the storm had passed. I felt none of the emotional turmoil. In fact, the night before the storm I went out to the beach to do a Facebook Live and show everyone what the weather looked like, asked them to say a prayer and accepted the fact that the storm WAS coming and we chose to stay and weather it. And here are the possible outcomes as I saw them then.
1) Our house stands or gets destroyed and we have to rebuild it.
2) Our power is out for weeks and we are hot and inconvenience or it comes on quickly and we start recovery.
3) We have gas or we don’t have gas.
4) We get a storm surge or we don’t get a storm surge.
Do you get the jist? It was merely a matter of this will happen or this will happen. Either way I knew we could deal with it. Why? Because that is life. Unless you actually die (and in that case you don’t have to worry either) you will deal with it and get past it. So why make your life miserable in the process? Enjoy the ride.
That is the message of my first book Ride the Wave: Journey to Peaceful Living. Stop making yourself crazy. Stop trying to control the external facts of your life and start trying to control that piece of fat between your ears. Stop judging everyone and everything as it relates to YOUR tiny little existence and stop taking everything so personally. It’s not about you. It never was.
Remember “All things are working together for your good according to His riches in glory.” When something isn’t going as expected I say, “Isn’t that interesting….I wonder how this is going to turn out.” And I smile.
Give into the stream of life. See people’s hearts as God sees them. Love people in their unawareness and pray that God will help them awaken to the faith which you so easily enjoy now. This is how we do God’s work in the world. Be solid. Have faith. Choose happiness. In all things. Choose truth.
Day 15 Lenten Love Prayer:
I’m having a hard time believing that You don’t judge me. But You said you don’t so I’ll take You at your Word. Help me to not judge others. Help me to not judge situation and jump to conclusions. Help me to slow down and acknowledge I only know a very little about anyone or any situation I encounter. Help me to see life as a moment-by-moment unfolding of perfection. That you are orchestrating the events of my life to help me awaken to peace and trust you more. Help me also to accept responsibility for my emotions and when they are rough, let me go to prayer and ask for your eyes. I want to see people as you see them. Loved. And maybe just living in unawareness of You. No wonder so many people are tired and frustrated and angry and hopeless. Let me be the light in their day. The smile that let’s them know there is more to life than just the simple tasks that make up our days. You were certain of yourself. You knew where you came from and where you were going. May I also have that same confidence to walk through life not needed others to conform to my will, but that I would be willing to conform to Yours. I want to be free from allowing the external situations of my life to control my mood. That is true freedom and I can see that it is possible if I’m willing to practice. Thank you for being patient with me. I will choose peace, I choose truth, I choose freedom.
Day 15 Scripture:
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17