Monday, November 10, 2008

Keep the Strife out of Your Life

Obama was elected President! Now we will transition from Bush to Obama. It appears that they are working together to make this transition as smooth as possible. Whatever conflicts arose previously, they are forming a relationship that will help our country heal from economic wounds and war. After all, relationships are all that really matter in life. If we had good relations with everyone, there would be no more wars. Our relationship with God, our significant other, our children, our grandchildren, our extended families, our friends, and our community mean everything to our happiness. Yet, we can't deny that with the differences in our personalities, our politics, our belief systems, and our temperments, we can't always keep the peace. How do we keep strife out of our lives? How do we keep pride from getting the upper hand? Eckhart Tolle wrote that "power over others is weakness described as strength." Joel Osteen says in chapter twelve of BECOME A BETTER YOU that "we must learn to give others the benefit of the doubt....Every person has faults; we all have weaknesses. We should not expect the people with whom we are in a relationship to be perfect.....there are some things I have to overlook, some things for which I have to make allowances." This reminds me of "The Parable of the Rose". I don't know who wrote this, but I think it is beautiful:

"A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully.
Before it blossomed, he examined it.
He saw a bud that would soon blossom.
He also saw thorns, and he thought,
"How can any beautiful flower come from a plant,
burdened with so many sharp thorns?'
Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose,
and before it was ready to bloom, it died.

So it is with many people.
Within every soul, there is a rose.
The 'God-like' qualities planted in us at birth,
growing amidst the thorns of our faults.
Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects.
We despair, thinking nothing good can possibly come from us.
We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies.
We never realize our full potential.

Some don't see the rose within themselves.
It takes someone else to show it to them.
One of the greatest gifts a person can possess
is to be able to reach past the thorns and find
the rose within others.
This is the truest, most innocent, and gracious characteristic of love-
to know another person, including his faults,
recognize the nobility in his soul,
and help that person to realize he can overcome his faults.
If we show him the rose, he will conquer the thorns.
Only then will he blossom, and most likely
bloom thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold, as it is given to him.

Our duty in this world is to help others,
by showing them their roses and not their thorns.
It is then that we achieve the love we should feel for each other.
Only then can we bloom in our own garden."

In relationships, it is so important to keep strife out of our lives. If we are critical faultfinders and keep account of everything someone does that is wrong, our relationship with that person with suffer and deteriorate into arguing and fighting. The bible teaches us that love believes the best in people (I Corinthians 13:4-8). In another place, it says that love covers a multitude of sin. If someone has wronged us in the past, we need to let that pain stay in the past so that we don't have strife in the present. Joel asks, "Do you want to be right, or do you want peace in your home? Do you want to have your way, or do you want to have healthy relationships?"

Love and Light,

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