STEP TEN CONTINUED: Seek tolerance and, when possible accept all religious faiths without judgment.
Instruction: Give yourself time.
What if I can’t accept all religious faiths without judgment? It can be challenging to accept all religious beliefs, and perhaps we shouldn’t have to. Certainly, I wouldn’t accept a religious faith that required bodily sacrifice to a god. Killing someone in the name of a religion doesn’t resonate with my heart or my head. Religious Recovery doesn’t come right out and oppose any religion because of our decision to be neutral, but we do give each individual the respect and honor they deserve to make those decisions for themselves. We might give advice if asked on an individual basis, but, for the most part, we allow everyone to be responsible for their own spiritual path as we teach in Stone One.
The religious experience a person struggles with the most is often the one that hurt, disappointed, or abused them. After what that organization did to them, how can they be expected to accept them? Perhaps they never can. Perhaps, in time, they can find some good in that experience and release the hurt and pain. Miracles can happen instantly, but when it involves something as important as our spiritual lives, miracles often take time—sometimes months or even years. Some people choose to attack their former religious organization, and we’re not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but we do understand that attack without healing through forgiveness can leave the attacker in more hurt and pain. We also understand that when we attack, those we attack may retaliate. The stance of Religious Recovery is not to attack any religion but to take those who have been wounded and help them heal themselves with as little additional pain and suffering as possible. We might not be able to accept a religion as viable, but we can accept our experience, learn from it, heal from it, and then help those who suffered similar abuses. As we heal ourselves, we become available to heal others. We will not have to look for them, because when both are ready, they will find one another.
For those who in the midst of healing from abuse, today’s assignment is to give yourself time to heal. You might be looking for retribution or revenge, but, when we try to attack we often find that we will be attacked in return. This leads to fear, and fear blocks healing, love, and forgiveness. When we haven’t forgiven, we aren’t able to be our most effective self. Our strength comes from our ability to forgive. Only when we can offer radical forgiveness can we work towards ending the abusive behavior while still seeing the abuser as someone who is also in need of healing and help.
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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.