Two spiritual exercises

To the editor:

There is one spiritual teaching that virtually every major religion follows. That is, ?to treat others as we want to be treated? or some facsimile thereof. The spiritual challenge or exercise is to treat others as we want to be treated whether they do or not. Not easy, not ever.

Imagine trying to do this as a neighbor, employee, tenant, friend, husband, wife, brother, sister, at all times, no matter what? Not easy, perhaps, but worth a try at least. And if you succeed? To not use the success to feel superior to others.

Another challenge is to not give up on anyone, not ever, no matter what they do. Now, I am not saying you have to be a friend to them or even be around this person. I am saying you never give up on them; not completely. You believe they can change, can grow, can become a better person. They may not, but you can always believe they can; that it is possible.

So what might be the reward for accepting these two daunting spiritual challenges? We might realize that this is exactly what we want from others. We want them to treat us as we would like to be treated even when have a bad day, are not at our best, or even at our worst. That we might be forgiven and loved even when we have made some really bad mistakes.

Why do we try to never give up on others? Because we would like them to never give up on us. We may need to face the fact that people may no longer want to be our friends ? or even be in our company ? but we still, most of us anyway, do not want people to give up on us.

On further reflection, we might come to the conclusion that this is exactly what our Heavenly Father gives us. He never forsakes us, not ever, no matter what we might have done. God will let us reap what we sow. He will forgive us. And no matter how many times we ignore God, take his name in vain, break his commandments, God will never treat us as we have treated him. He will always accept us, forgive us and love us unconditionally. But we still will, always, have to reap what we sow. It is our choice always whether to live a good life or not. A belief in God can be the difference.


? Jim Turner, Fairfield