I was stunned and saddened earlier this week to receive a Facebook invitation to a workshop that proclaimed, “If you do not have money constantly circulating in your life, there is something radically wrong with you.” The invitation was from a minister who practices the teachings of Jesus.
This young man is an indisputably beautiful person whom I genuinely love, and my intent is not to disparage him in any way. But admittedly, I was so surprised by his declaration that the Loud Mouth within me succumbed to the lure of the empty comment box beneath the invitation in about a nanosecond, immediately questioning the judgmental nature of his marketing message.
Scripture tells us that Jesus believed that absolutely nothing was wrong with the blind beggar. As far as Jesus was concerned, the man, who had been blind since birth, had done nothing wrong and neither had his parents, as presumed by the curious disciples.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” John 9:2-3 (NIV) I could be wrong; but it seems to me that Jesus’s lesson here was that all physical conditions—even those perceived by humans to be negative, disadvantaged or disabling—serve God’s purpose.
Scripturally, God is Love 1 John 4:8 (NIV), and “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Cor 13:4-5 (NIV) When I connect those dots, it means that God’s purpose is not to harm us, and every condition benefits us in some way. Of course, this directly contradicts Exodus 20:5, the scripture to which Jesus’s disciples had referred, a scripture that claims that God unfairly punishes children for their parents’ and ancestors’ wrongdoing.
As far as I’m concerned, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. Holding to that principle, scriptures that portray God as sadistic fall through my strainer and into the disposal; however, I honor others’ right to capture those images of an angry vindictive God in their bowls and cling to them. Similarly, I respect those who believe that material prosperity reflects a heightened level of spiritual consciousness. To me, they’re on different planes, parallel and distinct.
Investing time and energy in the acquisition of the temporary tangibles of planet Earth distracts us from the real reason we are here. However, I give loving allowance for others to hold a different belief. I’m even open to seeing proof that we can learn the lessons necessary to raise our spiritual consciousness if we’re focused on boosting our cash consciousness.
Just as we have different beliefs, we all have different styles of learning. I generally learn better when I’m paying attention to my teacher, reading the appropriate texts, questioning things that don’t make sense, and doing my homework. For example, I don’t believe that I can learn chemistry by studying English literature.
When it comes to prosperity and spirituality, I actually learned and evolved more when I was broke. Guess it’s my learning style. When my life was out of my control, I found that I was more motivated to seek Truth. Before then, I was too busy enjoying the big house with the circular drive, luxury cars and in-ground pool to ask the important questions and receive the answers that eventually brought me a more dynamic, enduring level of prosperity and priceless inner peace. In fact, I’m beginning to suspect that it was the inner peace and unconditional trust that whatever I was experiencing was for my Highest Good that attracted more bounty than I ever did through creative visualizations or 40-day prosperity programs. I’ve tried them, so I know of what I speak.
As Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) says, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.” It is one of my guiding principals. I trust it as unwaveringly as I trust God’s love. To deeply understand something, we must research; we must ask probing questions, not simply accept other folks’ answers. In this instance, my question was: Is my agitated response to the prosperity workshop invitation due to the minister’s lack of understanding—or my own?
If I’ve learned only one thing in my quest for spiritual truth, it’s that I’m better served by paying less attention to other people’s actions and more attention to my reactions. After all, I will not be held accountable for the way others act, only how I react.
With that in mind, there was only one thing to do: Examine this situation under the loving light of the Christ. I always begin with the premise that all dramas and all actors are playing in my theater for one reason only: to support my spiritual enlightenment. Consequently, I always begin with two questions: Why did I invite this scenario? How does it serve me?
Then I delve into the scenario-specific details. In this case: Does the concept of prosperity workshops annoy me? Truly. Am I disturbed by the idea that something is “radically wrong” with me if I don’t have positive cash flow? No question about it.
The next step takes circles back to the beginning: Why did I invite this scenario, and how does it serve me? Once asked, the answers always come—rarely immediate, but always on time. In this case, it took about a day; but, as usual, it was worth the wait.
I discovered that neither the workshops nor the “something is radically wrong with you” edict was at the heart of my discontent. When Spirit allowed me to sit in the balcony and watching the drama performed under the loving light of the Christ, I was blown away by what was revealed: The message in the invitation mirrored a judgmental, condescending and manipulative aspect of my own ego that I needed to confront and heal. Surprise, surprise, the problem was mine!
I couldn’t have gotten better news. Here’s the deal: I can’t control others’ actions, reactions, thoughts or beliefs; but I can control my own. Once I own the problem, I can shape the outcome. I have the authority and ability to change any aspect of it that I desire.
How empowering, how liberating, how exhilarating! Whoo hoo! Spirit had revealed the lesson and the blessing of the workshop invitation—a very generous gift for which I am eternally grateful.
Now the transformative work can begin: I must accept full responsibility for healing this aspect of my ego self. I must agree to be consciously aware of the lesson learned here because more scenes like it will encore on my stage. I must embrace each scenario as an opportunity to rehearse a more enlightened response, so that one day I can lovingly bring down the curtain on it and all dramas that hold no entertainment value.
The most important lesson I’ve learned through these spiritual epiphanies is that I must remember that I am not simply in the Light, I am the Light. For that, I love myself unconditionally. You are not simply in the Light. You are the Light. For that, I love you unconditionally.
What better day than Valentine’s Day to affirm and stand firm in our love for ourselves? What better day to know that just because money is not lounging in our bank accounts doesn’t meant that it’s not constantly flowing through our lives? There is only One Life and we’re in it.
What better day than this day to remember that no matter what anyone says, there is absolutely nothing wrong with us! Even if we don’t know where our next meal is coming from and can’t pay our rent or mortgage, the radical truth is that there is no spot where God is not. We are worthy of God’s presence. God is with us always–in the urban homeless shelter and the suburban mansion, in the unemployment check and the Wall Street bonus.
God is equally present and equally loving. God doesn’t love one child more or less than another. No one is highly favored. What you possess is no measure of God’s love. If you want more, simply step onto that glorious path called Self Love.
Have a divine Valentine’s Day!