“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ ~ Matthew 25:40
It was an unusually rainy afternoon in Florida during winter. Molly and I were in a rush. Parking the car we ran to take cover under the same walkway a man I vaguely knew was lingering in. We were in a hurry to get our nails done and make it to Amy’s volleyball game in time.
I’ll admit that I had recognized him from a distance when I pulled in. The dirty clothes. The rusted bike. Yes, I knew that man. He was homeless and after Hurricane Irma I saw him quite regularly surfacing at our daily 8 am meetings to eat a donut or grab a hot cup of coffee. I hadn’t seen him in awhile and sometimes wondered what had happened to him. I hoped he was okay.
Here was my chance to offer a hug and a brief word of encouragement…
….instead, I ran right by. I don’t know if he saw me, or even would have recognized me. But I knew.
Inside the nail salon, I was feeling horribly guilty. They were too busy to take us and as we walked out five minutes later I thought, I’m going to say ‘Hi’ and ask how he’s doing. See if I can buy him some food at the Chinese restaurant at the end of the plaza.
He was gone. I missed my chance channel God’s love into another human being who so desperately needed it. My pride got in the way.
If there is a theme I’m learning routinely it’s this. Listen to that still small voice AND act on it. With discernment, of course. Choose courage.
One of my favorite books is Power vs. Force by Dr. David Hawkins. In it, he reveals his scientific research on the vibrational levels of different energy fields and how they present themselves in the world. According to his kinesiological experiments, the level of COURAGE is the first power field sitting directly above the last force field, Pride.
Why does this matter? Choosing courage is the difference between staying stuck in a negative, contracting state of taking energy or moving into an expansive, powerful state of giving energy and affecting change in the world.
Pride doesn’t want us to change. It is afraid of change. It is demanding and unforgiving. It has scorn for new ideas. It is inflated and thinks more of itself that of others. It is indifferent to God.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
Pride is where a great many people in this world live. Their lives are being stolen and they don’t even know it. Stolen from what? From experiencing the love God has for them.
We can easily tell if someone is vibrating at the level of Pride or below. They view God as despising, punitive, condemning. They view life as hopeless, frightening and demanding. They regularly feel regret, anxiety or blame others. But is that the reality of the nature of God and of this life?
A few verses later we see this polarity revealed in a subtle way.
When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” John 10: 19-21
The Bible continually displays the force fields in action. The Pharisees who were the epitome of pride. Rejecting Jesus throughout His entire ministry. They received nothing from Jesus but condemnation.
And then we have people like the woman who pressed through the crowds to touch the hem of his garment. She had courage. She received healing.
So how is it that God acts with condemnation and with compassion? It is His nature that decides or the nature of the person who is viewing Him that decides? Think about that one!
Choosing courage is THE MOST POWERFUL DECISION you can make to change your life. God can’t magically choose it for you. He wants you to choose it, no doubt, but YOU have to choose it through your actions. This typically is a moment in time where you finally surrender your ego, your need to do it your own way, your denial of what is not working in your life and you give up.
What would that look like?
Choosing courage is making a decision to face the facts of an addiction and getting help.
Choosing courage is making a decision to end a relationship that is emotionally or physically abusive.
Choosing courage is making an appointment with a therapist or life coach to work through things you’ve kept hidden in the closet for years.
Choosing courage is making a decision to stop racking up credit card debt and face the financial mountain you’ve created with someone who can help you.
Choosing courage is not hard when you see that there really is no other way to live. Sure we can slip up. Pride can creep back in and tell us, “You’re fine. This really isn’t a problem. Who are you to want a better life? Just accept this is the way it is.”
And in that moment we say, “NO! I don’t want to suffer anymore. I am willing to be willing.”
We say “YES” to a new chapter even though we feel scared and uncertain. God is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. If all of these promises are ours already, why not choose courage?
My conscious was suffering that afternoon. I had allowed pride to creep in and it didn’t feel good. I asked for forgiveness and that I might have another opportunity to run into him again. And when I do, I pray that I will choose courage.
Day 27 Lenten Love Prayer:
How often I have allowed pride to steer me off course. Away from the love You have poured out on me. I have been afraid to make changes in areas I know clearly are not working. Forgive me for not trusting You. Help me to see what I can do today to choose courage. I feel scared. Alone. Sometimes even just a little unwilling to make a change. Forgive me for not believing you have a better life for me. Forgive me for being apathetic and accepting of people and situations that are not serving You or me. Forgive me for not showing up in this life as a conduit of Your love at all times. Forgive me for choosing fear and pride over courage. I ask today that you give me the willingness to change. I ask that you give me the right words to say. I ask that you send the right people along my path who can help me. I ask that when the opportunity arises that despite anxiety or anger or hate I would choose courage. I pray that in that moment I will trust You and be sensitive to the inner voice that is directing me. Thank you for all the hurdles in my life right now that are giving me the opportunity to learn and grow up. I don’t want to circle this mountain for another decade. I don’t even want to circle it for one more day. Help me to correct course. Today.
Day 27 Scripture:
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6