STEP TWELVE CONTINUED: Having recognized the difference between religion and spirituality, we strive to be true to the Spirit within all of Divine Creation and to be a Light to point the way.
Instruction: Choose the Spirit.
Not only is it important to know the difference between religion and spirituality, but it behooves us to follow the Spirit in all decisions even when that choice goes against our religious beliefs. Those who have elevated their religion to the status of perfection might consider this to be an alien concept, but history has shown that there isn’t one perfect religion—all have failed and fallen short of their desired goal. How do we know when to follow the teachings of our chosen religion and when to abandon those teachings and follow the Spirit within our heart? For many, that is a serious question, because they don’t see a conflict between what their religion tells them and what their Higher Power would have them hear. Spiritual and religious concepts can be twisted to justify what a person wants, even if what they want is not in keeping with the basic laws of love, respect, honor, tolerance, and forgiveness. When we strive to be true to the Spirit within all of Divine Creation, we honor every person, every plant, every animal, the earth, the wind, the seas, the trees, and the waters.
We understand that life is sacred—all life—and we show respect to those who came before us and to those who follow us. Our duty is to our planet, not just individual nations. Our family stretches across the entire globe, and to treat someone as an enemy is to disrespect that person and ourselves. We treat everyone we meet as if he or she were our dearest friend. We recognize that we were all created equal—that no one nation is The Divine’s chosen, because we are all created by the same divinity so that we might be co-creators in charge of maintaining a loving, peaceful, abundant world where no one has lack. That is all a part of what it means to be true to the Spirit within all of Divine Creation. That is what it means to make spiritual decisions over religious decisions. Being true to the Spirit simply means asking, “What would love do?” and then honestly answering that question and acting on the answer.
Today’s lesson is to consider ways in which the laws of love have been violated in your world. Have some of those violations come at the hands of a religious belief that was applied without love or grace? Consider moments in your life where you might have followed something blindly without considering the cries for love and mercy that could have transformed a situation and brought about a miracle in someone’s life. Give yourself loving forgiveness and determine to do better the next time a similar situation is presented.
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Our purpose is to help individuals to heal who have been injured by religion or the religious. We welcome your comments and questions.