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Sunday Message for November 13, 2022


What we want to learn and practice this week is that Release doesn't mean pretending you don't have certain thoughts or emotions. Release doesn't mean pretending you don't have any problems - especially ones that may be ruining your life, such as alcoholism, compulsive spending, or gambling, fits of rage, fears, or other toxic feelings or behaviors. Release IS letting go of anything that stands in the way of expressing the fullness of God's good. "Get real" with yourself, get honest, get help. Let go and let God.

Let's look at the absolute and practical realms. Let's consider a short case study of a Truth student who is in trouble. Here is a person who is out of control with the use of alcohol. He is suffering. People around him in his life are suffering. He tells himself and them, "I'm okay. I'm fine. I don't have a problem with alcohol. God doesn't see alcoholism. Neither do I. Neither should you. Don't be so negative. Just see me as I really am - a child of God."

What's wrong with this picture? This is addressing one of the biggest misunderstandings people have in metaphysical teachings. Contrary to popular belief, we do not teach denial. We teach you to think positively and to see the highest and best good - but to be honestly in touch with who you are and what you are doing.

So, this Truth student, rather than drawing on his spiritual identity to help and heal his problems, is trying to use "God" to avoid or deny he has these problems. He is hiding rather than healing. It is much healthier, enriching, and growthful to be in touch with our emotions and to see our behaviors than to repress, numb ourselves, try to alter our moods with chemicals or distractions, or use religion to avoid getting well.

There is an absolute realm of spiritual being that we all share as our Source and ultimate essence. We draw upon and express our spiritual nature through or by means of our Twelve Powers to live a full, complete, whole, helpful life. So, the "absolute" gets expressed in our "practical" or "everyday" living in mature spiritual practice and application. We are interested in "Practical Christianity," practical mysticism that meets and solves life's challenges and problems.

I can say, "I am God" all day, but if my life isn't reflecting it - then it is just theory. We have to prove this teaching by demonstrating it in our lives.

There are only a few instances where we might need to deny what we are really feeling - Like this one: A guy from Delaware was driving through Texas when he collided with a truck carrying a horse. A few months later he tried to collect damages for his injuries.

"How can you now claim to have all these injuries?" asked the insurance company's lawyer. "According to the police report, at the time you said you were not hurt."

"It's like this," said the man from Delaware. "I was lying in the road in a lot of pain, and I heard someone say the horse had a broken leg. The next thing I know the sheriff pulled out his gun and shot the horse. Then he turned to me and said, "Are you okay?"

But instances like these are few and far between. It's usually best to stick with expressing your feelings honestly.

In Matthew 23 Jesus Denounces the Scribes and the Pharisees "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.""

"They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them."

" They do all their deeds to be seen by others; ... They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi..."

" The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted..."

" Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!"

" Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean."a

In the Beatitudes Jesus tells us, "Blessed are the teachable."b Jesus did not criticize the "sinners," outcasts, adulterers, lepers, ill, tax collectors, and prostitutes. But Biblical accounts show him soundly challenging the Scribes and Pharisees, because they lived in self-righteous pretense, acted holier-than-thou and placed heavy burdens of perfectionism on people - they were supposed to obey all the legalistic religious requirements of the day. So, he praised people who admitted their needs humbly and who searched for help. He criticized those who acted like they were perfect and better than others.

It is best to humbly and honestly ask for what you need.

There was an older man who met and courted an older woman. In the old-fashioned style, he got on his knees in front of her to pop the question. He said, "I have two questions. First, will you marry me?"

"Yes, I will," she answered. "And what is your second question?"

The older gentleman replied, "Will you help me up?"

It's only when we get help, that we get well. As we use our Twelve Powers we can improve, heal, and develop our lives in positive ways of continuous improvement. We use wisdom, strength, imagination, love, understanding, faith, and all of our spiritual faculties to get help, give help, and get well.

A person in a prayer group said to the others in the group, "We must impress on people that they are perfect; they don't have any problems whatsoever, they are all perfect spiritual beings." Someone in the group reminded the others that "if people did not call in, write, tell their needs, put in prayer requests, and ask for help, we would not be able to extend that prayer help to each other." Admitting we need help and asking for help is not "being negative" or "not believing in God." It is believing in God and God's help within and between us.

That's how this Unity movement got started. Myrtle Fillmore was a very sick, weak women with Tuberculosis. She went to a class given by Emma Curtis Hopkins and healed herself through prayer. People then started coming to Myrtle to ask for help and prayer. Out of that - came this Unity movement.

Feelings are our friends. Our feelings, no matter what their nature, are not a part of us to run from, hide, ignore, consider as separate from our spiritual quest. An experience that all of us have, for instance, where we need to respect and deal with our feelings is when we have a loss in our life - maybe the loss of a loved one who makes his or her transition. We "know the Truth" that this one is continuing on in immortality and the ongoingness of life. We also know that we must honor and deal with our natural feelings of loss and all that goes with the honoring of this human experience. When we allow ourselves to go through the grieving process, we heal the experience a lot faster.

The most poignant words in the Bible may be the ones about Jesus, when the relatives were weeping over the loss of Lazarus.

(John 11:32-35) "When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus began to weep."c

He was deeply in touch with his human feelings and expressed them openly in a normal, healthy way. He then was able to go beyond those feelings to a greater experience of life expression and demonstration with himself and Lazarus.

Gandhi said, "It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."d

We need to own and express (release) our feelings. Being in touch with our feelings and being able to share them doesn't mean we should dump our negative emotions on those we care about. This can harm rather than heal. We own our own feelings, and we use wisdom and love in sharing them as, "My feeling is..." To share our feelings, whatever they authentically are, can be healing. When we are dealing with the loss of a loved one, for instance, to admit, "I feel sad," "I feel a great loss," "I feel angry over the drunk who hit my daughter's car," "I grieve over missing my dear mother." These are normal, natural, healthy emotions that help to integrate the experience and free us to overcome the loss. We find healing as we honor, rather than ignore our feeling nature. Then we are free also to express our "positive" feelings of joy, love, gratitude, and celebration.

We need to have a higher understanding of prayer. Many of you may follow the cartoon series, The Family Circus, by Bill Keane. In one of them, the older brother leans on a crushed football and says, "I need a new football. I don't know if I should send up a prayer, write a letter to Santa Claus, or call Grandma."e

Prayer is not a means by which we can have every whim of our hearts satisfied. Prayer is that time when we stand or kneel in the presence of God. It is a time to offer ourselves to God, as someone once put it, as a blank canvas might be offered to the master artist.

We come to God trusting that God loves us as no other can or will. We come to God believing that God knows the deepest needs of our hearts.

One day while Abraham Lincoln was president, his little son came to see him with his shirt torn and his face bleeding after a fight. Lincoln was in his office in the White House conducting some state business. So, the boy approached one of the cabinet members, who said with a condescending smile, "Oh, do you want to see the president of the United States?" To which the little boy replied, "No, I want to see my father."

We come into God's presence trusting that God is "Abba," as Jesus taught us to pray; that God is "Daddy." In the highest moments of prayer, we ask nothing but to be in God's presence and to trust God's providence.

When we do yield ourselves up to God so completely, we discover not only peace, but also power; we discover strength, but also sensitivity; we discover patience, but also a strange passion to make our lives count for something significant.

So, Release is letting go of anything that stands in the way of expressing the fullness of God's good. "Get real" with yourself, get honest, get help. Let go and let God.

aMatthew 23
bMatthew 5:3
cJohn 11:32-35
eThe Family Circus by Bill Keane

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