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Feed One Another: Patterns of Attack and Surrender in Personal Relationships

Romans 12 Wisdom:

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The coals are metaphorical—they burn out thoughts that create strife and separation. “God’s vengeance” is not wrath; it is love. The most radical thing we can do is love one another despite our differences. I find that this challenge is most confronting in our intimate and personal relationships. When social graces are removed (the “niceness” we wear in front of strangers and acquaintances), how does that alter the content of our words? When ideas surface that we disagree with, is our first response compassion and understanding, or do we deep dive into criticism and judgement? Why does it often feel like a personal affront when someone you love disagrees with you, but when a stranger or acquaintance does, you can write it off or even listen with greater objectivity?

I think our egos get tied up in our personal relationships. If a lover shares an opinion that is the stark opposite of mine, and it is regarding a subject I revere as important, then it feels almost like a betrayal. How dare you think that? Are you crazy? I didn’t realize you were so ignorant. Suddenly, the conversation turns from an innocent exchange to an attack. Wounds open. The salt stings. And your ego says: destroy and [r]eject; it is no longer safe to associate with this person.

A Course in Miracles says, “Whoever is saner at the time the threat is perceived” can choose to enter into the Holy Instant. Basically, it means: the person who remembers that He or She comes from LOVE can ask that the situation be turned over to God (who says, “Vengeance” aka CORRECTION THROUGH LOVE “is mine”). Every relationship is holy because it offers a chance to return to the Holy Instant: choosing LOVE instead of FEAR or HATE. Choosing Love over the need to be “right.” Giving your strife to God, so He can deal with it. Meanwhile, you feed your brother something good.






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