I’ve been in a rather introverted state of mind this last year. I’m going through a phase where I feel like a fraud in many areas of my life – particularly in my career, but also in my spiritual life too. This morning’s Church service was great however, a real “invigorator”, helped in no small part by the hymns, one of which was Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, my favourite. I just pity the poor people sat near me who had to endure my enthusiastic but not-so-tuneful rendition!
Have you ever heard the voice of God?
Last year, on two occasions, I believe I heard God speaking directly to me. In each instance, after going to bed and falling asleep, I woke into sleep paralysis and then found myself in the void. The void is a state of consciousness where I am fully aware, but have no sense or conception of a physical self. It is often the state from which I will be projected into an out-of-body experience / astral projection but quite often weird things happen in that state too and I have come to think of it as a place where the greater self integrates into the everyday, waking self.
In this place, quite unexpectedly, a voice spoke to me. The voice was so grand it could have shaken the atoms of my being apart, yet it was crystal clear. What was said will remain between me and God, but until this morning I don’t think I quite understood the meaning.
Matthew 18:32-351599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
32 Then his lord called him unto him, and said to him, O evil servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou prayedst me.
33 Oughtest not thou also to have had pity on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 So his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him.
35 So likewise shall mine heavenly Father do unto you, except ye forgive from your hearts, each one to his brother their trespasses.
Forgiveness. Such a simple concept and generally, I have considered myself to be a very forgiving person. However, a deeper truth hit me today. Forgiveness is not just about looking back on our lives and forgiving every unjust act that’s every been dealt us by others, it’s about living in a permanent state of forgiveness.
This doesn’t mean that we have to be completely passive, but it means that we need to adopt an attitude of graceful forgiveness in realtime. That’s tricky when we’re caught up in the daily grind, but we can start by keeping in mind that humans are implusive by their nature, often reacting to events without clear thought and too much emotion. If our first response is to react in the same way, we just add more chaos and emotion to the situation and become part of the problem.
Instead, we need to adopt a higher perspective and make it our daily objective to pass on to others that which we seek from God and to do this in each and every interaction with others. If we can try to contemplate the vastness of God’s grace then even the biggest problems begin to feel trivial against such awesomeness.
Perhaps collectively, intead of movements of mass protest, we should be creating movements of mass forgiveness, spreading grace instead of exacerbating chaos.
As verse 35 warns us, it is in our highest interest to do this.