So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
This next Saturday is the 4th of July, where we celebrate the birth of our nation. One of the distinguishing features of our Constitution, and of this Nation in general, is that we believe in the inherent worth of every individual, that every person is important and deserves respect.
It is written this way in our Constitution: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
There is a difference between the Word of People and the Word of God. These words were written by and intended for only white men, yet they reflect the inner nature and Truth of Spirit. Today we know that all people are Children of God and fall under those Words of God – they are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. At that time, the spiritual consciousness of newly formed America was more immature than it is today. Then, there were slaves, and black people were not considered people, but possessions. Women, also, did not have rights and were not thought of as equals. Today, a small percentage of Americans still struggles to grasp the Truth of God, that all people are created equal, have intrinsic value, and are gifted with rights from God.
Although the Words of the Constitution were perfect, it was not until we developed a sufficient spiritual awakening that the words and the meaning behind the words came into alignment.
The same is true with some of the translations of the Bible. I believe that the Bible reflects the Word of God. But as human beings, we have struggled to understand their meaning and still are searching for the truth. To give one simple example: The King James translation of Romans 14:2 reads: For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.
Mary and I have been vegetarians in the past, our kids are vegans, I have vegetarian friends. Today, Mary and I eat pretty much everything … I don’t like Lima Beans … but other than that pretty much everything. According to this translation, when we were eating only vegetables, we were weak. Whether they meant of spirit or body or mind, I don’t know. But if you are a vegetarian, how does that make you feel? And if you eat animals as well as vegetables, how does that make you feel? Stronger, better, superior, ‘Godlier’?
The New International translations reveals this: One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. So, if we are vegetarians, it is our faith that is weak. If we eat meat, then, do we hold this over people’s heads: “Well, if you only believed more and trusted more in God, then you would see that you can eat anything.”
One last translation. The New Living translation offers this: One person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Now it is the vegetarian’s turn to gloat and point fingers. “Ha, I have a sensitive conscience; you, obviously, are an insensitive meat-eating loser.”
Now, I believe that that verse reflects the Word of God. I propose that once our consciousness is ready for it, we will hear the Truth of those words. Where my consciousness is today, I hear, “Patrick, welcome all faiths, and don’t quarrel over opinions. Whether they eat everything or only vegetables, you are all My Children, and are worthy of love and respect.” That is the Word of God, the meaning behind the words, despite how humankind has chosen to express it.
Father of Shipbuilding, Henry Kaiser, once said that if we could remember that every person was a Child of God and was important, we would automatically practice good human relations. If we could remember that every person, black or white, male or female, Jew or Muslim, gay or straight, meat-eater or Vegan, was a Child of God, we would treat them as a fellow member of a large well-loved family.
Author, Les Giblin, wrote several books on human relations. He claimed that pretty much everyone wanted the same thing: to be happy and have success. I interpret ‘success’ as meaning doing something that gives us pleasure and satisfaction in this moment. Of all the great ideas Giblin has presented in how to get along, the Nectar Principle comes to mind. The Earthly Kingdom of God shows us how to get along. Just look at the flower. As human beings, we attempt to manipulate people into doing what we want through pleading, begging, intimidating, coercing, or scolding. Not the flower. The flower knows that the bee wants the sweet food of nectar. The bee moves in to feed on the nectar, and while in the bloom it gets pollen all over it. As the bee moves onto another blossom, it moves in to feed and deposits some of the gathered pollen and pollenates the flower, and something fantastic happens – this interaction allows the flower to thrive and propagate. The bee is happy, the flower is happy.
As in all of Nature, we live synergistically with all other people. Every person is valuable and has something to offer. We each have something to offer and at the same time we are looking for something. The flower knows that to achieve its goal, it must attract a bee to itself. The flower has developed the attractant of nectar to lure that bee. The bee is the flower’s friend. Our nectar, our attractants, are our attitude toward others, our appreciation, acceptance, and approval of others. This is our nectar; three keys to attracting the right and perfect people into our lives and feeding them what they want and need. These three ideas are the key to win-win happiness and success.
Acceptance is allowing people to be themselves and being great with that. We do not expect or insist that someone attains some standard before it suits us, nor impose our moral code upon them. We all have noticed that critical, fault-finding people who delight in offering their solutions, recommendations, or opinions, and are quick to point out the shortcomings of others, are rarely surrounded by crowds standing in line to be their close friends.
In fact, it is the person who totally accepts another that has more influence on their behavior – not because of criticism, but because their relationship is built upon acceptance. Guards come down as trust opens up. By accepting someone, we empower them to change themselves. We cannot be accepted by everyone, but we can strive to be accepted by the people who matter to us personally.
Whereas acceptance is often overlooking shortcomings as we see them, approval is finding something positive to like about someone or something. Positive people see strengths, gifts, talents, and uniqueness, and look for ways to uplift. Negative people see flaws, seek out things to criticize, and look for opportunities to degrade. We can bask in the light of approval from people who matter to us, and grow big, or shrink in the presence of criticism and fault-finding. It is better to go where we are celebrated and approved of, than stay where we are tolerated or even reviled. Knowing this, we can help people grow by shining our light of approval on them. This helps them find their own light to share with others.
The third golden key to human relations, and even all life relations, is appreciation, which means to raise in value. People are the most valuable, most important gifts in our lives. The sooner we recognize this and accept it, the sooner we will find happiness and success. We need people, we need friends, mates, associates, comrades. No matter how much of a loner we like to believe we are, one is too small a number to accomplish anything great. God made Adam and Eve: two people. That is significant.
Here are a few ways to show appreciation:
1. Be on time. This shows respect of their time.
2. Look at them and acknowledge their presence
3. Thank people
4. Treat people as ‘special’, individuals
a. People are not all alike; they are unique, just like everyone else. (joke!)
b. The man that says, “All women are alike,” is apt to live a very lonely existence.
c. People are not machines, numbers, or masses of human beings thrown into a category.
d. We don’t learn to get along with ‘people’, but with that person and this person.
e. There is no such animal as “people”. The world is populated with individual persons. “People” is an abstract term.
f. We like to be recognized as an individual, not as part of a mob, or group.
A study showed that only 15% of a person’s success in any field is dependent upon their skills; 85% was attributed to their people skills. We can become better parents, employers, employees, and by developing our people skills.
Some people are still in the process of understanding that people are valuable to us on our life journey. Our nectar for attracting people to us is through accepting them, approving of them, and appreciating them. This is an ongoing spiritual cycle. The wonderful synergistic relationship between the bee and the flower results in the creation of new life.
When we attract people to us by acceptance, approval, and appreciation, it is what the person wants. But what spills on to them is love and respect. They weren’t there for that, but that is what they take away from our interaction - and then something fantastic happens. They are different because they have encountered us; for a moment, they thrive, and when they meet someone else some of that love and respect is shared. The world is a slightly better place because we participated in this cycle of Love.
It is my prayer that we will recognize the importance and worth of every person. I pray that we will at last see that all people are Children of God and deserve the same acceptance, approval, appreciation, and Love that Christ gives us.