STEP TEN CONTINUED: Seek tolerance and, when possible accept all religious faiths without judgment.
Instruction: Refuse to judge.
The following quote from Mother Teresa helps us understand the negative power of judging: “I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.” We tend to give power to things that we oppose. By protesting something that we consider negative, such as war, we give it attention and often make it stronger. By focusing on the positive, as Mother Teresa did, we find a better way to work for what helps to heal our planet. If Religious Recovery were to take it upon themselves to judge which religions were good and which were bad, we could get so caught up in the minutiae that we couldn’t do the work we set out to do, namely, to help people heal from religious abuse. What would a rating scale of good-better-best and bad-worse-worst accomplish anyway? People might flock to the worst religious experiences out of curiosity.
Many people have had enough of the practice of judging, and that is why many have given up on a religion that teaches and practices judging people as right or wrong, saved or damned. We refuse to judge even these religious institutions, also, because many people find some of these religious groups helpful and meaningful. We don’t want to take away anything that might be helping people. Tolerance begins with refusing to judge. It continues by opening our hearts to individuals no matter what their religious affiliation, or lack thereof, might be. I find it interesting that there often seems to be a religious villain of the day. Sometimes the religion that we villainize today is replaced tomorrow by something considered more atrocious. Religious Recovery recognizes that many people have been hurt, disappointed, or even abused by a religion or a religious person, but, as the saying goes, we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We honor all things religious and spiritual, and we also honor those who reject all things religious and spiritual. We do this, because we know that we are all connected, and to reject a part of one is to reject a part of ourselves.
Take time to consider if you are judging a religion or even a religious nation based on what you have heard about them or about a radical subgroup of that religion. Seek out those who practice religion with love, forgiveness, and peace. Refuse to judge based on the negative actions of a few.
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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.