This article by John-Roger, DSS, was first published in the New Day Herald, September 1989.
You know something about choices; you make them every day. And that’s one of the things about choices … they do have to be made anew every day. You can’t decide that this aspirin is going to handle all your headaches forever. It doesn’t work that way. That would be deadening yourself to life. But every day you get up and you say, “I choose to live more fully today. I’m going to attempt to walk more in the Spirit of Loving.” And when someone takes your parking place, you have that choice available to you again. You can choose to ram ’em or you can choose to drive around the corner and look for another place (maybe a better one). Sometimes not getting what you want is the blessing to make you do the better thing for yourself … if you choose to use the opportunity it presents to you.
There is always the opportunity to use what is presented to you for your upliftment, for your advancement… or to use it to bring you down. Those two choices are always present. One is choosing to live under the grace of God; the other is choosing to live under the law. Why does it seem that some people are living in a grace-full way and others seem to struggle and to always be dealing with difficult issues in their lives? It may be that one is choosing grace and the other is choosing law. Let’s look at what these two approaches are in some more detail.
I was looking at the differences between “law” and “grace” and I came up with a number of key words that represent the two polarities:
|Debunking your hunting||Hunting for God|
|Spreader of Darkness||Messenger of Light|
|Bridge burner||Bridge builder|
These words can be tools for you to discern whether you are living in grace or living through the law, at any particular moment. They can be used as direction for choosing grace, if that is what you want. Keep in mind that we can all move back and forth between these at various times. So it would be wise not to expect perfection of yourself. But if you have more of an identification of these things, you may be able to choose “grace” more often than before. Overall, grace is the Light and law is the dark. And then I’ve identified some other words that further define law and grace.
The one who chooses represents grace. The one who accuses represents the law. Look at couples who divorce. If they stop choosing the loving that was present and begin to accuse one another of unhappiness, they are living under the law. The student who does not choose to learn the lessons presented in class often accuses the teacher of being no good. When the car you choose to buy turns out to be a lemon, you accuse the salesperson of cheating you.
The ones who achieve but then turn to the negative expression begin to deceive. People who express negatively often make their expression very righteous, as if they had the answers and knew what was true. The one who comes before the Lord in the purity of heart and says, “I really don’t know,” allows God to respond, ‘Well, I’ll just take care of it for you.” And the achievement happens effortlessly, through grace. The deceiver tries to make you think he has the answers, and he will fight to prove that he is right and you are wrong.
When we are living under grace, we become users. We use information that comes to us to see if it works. We use resources to build what can be of service to many. We use the gifts and the talents we are given. When we slip into abusing ourselves or others, or abusing our positions in life or information we have been given, we are living under the law.
Under grace, we become claimers of the divine plan. We start to claim our experiences; we start to claim our divinity; we start to claim that we are the children of God and recognize God as the father. If you do not claim the experience of Spirit, you will, by default, default, disclaim it and throw away your awareness of Spirit. When you claim your experiences of Spirit, you acknowledge your value as an essence of God; and this gives you the courage and confidence to step out into the world in ways you wouldn’t otherwise do. You create success for yourself. Those who have stopped the process of claiming the Spirit, move across to the law and become blamers. They say, “It’s because of you that all my problems appeared; if you hadn’t come onto this planet, I wouldn’t have these problems.”
Under grace, we are making progress. And we can see our progress because, instead of yelling at our spouse like we might ordinarily do, we laugh; we become playful, we move into cooperation and into loving. Those who don’t progress persecute. They persecute those who do progress. When the one who is progressing is getting ahead, the persecutors call you up and tell tales that can ruin your day. They pretend to be “do gooders” but actually do disservice. Under the law, they see their right to prevail no matter what manner of hurt they cause.
Those who are living under grace are selectors. We are selecting what we care to believe, what we care to investigate, what we care to listen to. Those who live under the law become dissectors. They start to take apart and show you how wrong everything is that you’ve selected. The inference is that they know what is right and true and what is best for you and your experience is no good.
When we are humble we are living under grace. We are not trying to be what we are not. When someone has success, we share in that success joyfully. We are happy for them. Under the law, people make excuses for another’s success by saying, ‘They took their material from me; I gave them that idea. I deserve the credit.” They are egotistic. They are self-possessed by their own knowledge about their own self and their own experience; and they become so full of themselves that there is no room for anyone else. They spend most of the time talking to themselves in the mirror because no one else is really worth talking to.
People living under grace are seeking to be clear. Those who live under the law are looking at the hurt. They say, “Look how you hurt me.” And they can list all the ways other people have been unkind or inconsiderate to them. They use their hurt as a weapon to make you wrong and themselves right.
Under grace, we are always hunting for God. We are looking for God in all things, in all people, in all situations. Those who live under the law are always debunking your hunting. They are putting you down; they are casting doubt on your discoveries.
People living under grace are relating. They will actually go out of their way to try and understand you. They are concerned and caring. People who are living under the law are alienating. Another word for it would be “polarizing.” They are saying, “There can be no middle ground; it’s either your way or my way.”
Under grace, we prove things. We prove God in our lives. Many people are starting to tithe, and they are finding out that it really works. It’s more than words. Some say, “I hate to do it, but it works.” The next step is to say, “I joyfully do it.” And then the blessing comes back as a joyful one. Those who live under the law become the doubters. They can’t prove anything to themselves because there can always be something on the other side of the story to make them doubt. The doubt becomes their focus. If you allow them to cast doubt in your mind, you lose the focus of grace. When they tell you everything that is wrong with what you are doing, it is time for you to go back to the God within and reinforce the positive, loving focus within you. It’s time for you to prove the Light in your life.
When we start to become detectors, detecting the Spirit and the love in our lives, we are living in grace. We start to look into the hearts of our friends and family to see the God within, to see the harmony of God. Those who live tinder the law become the detractors; instead of looking for the God within others, they are looking to detract others from their upward progression.
People living under grace are going for freedom; not only are they after their own personal freedom, they are allowing everyone else their own freedom. They do not want to control or manipulate; they want freedom for themselves and everyone else. People living under the law bring confinement; they want to confine you in your freedom so you can’t have any more than they do… or maybe not as much. They try to corral and control the freedom and they use a process of confinement to do that. Jesus reminds his disciples that it is very easy to love your friends; but to love your enemies is true freedom. Pray for those who would spitefully use you; this will build your inner character and strength.
Winners are living under grace. They are having success in their lives because they are expressing and experiencing life fully … whether it’s by working creatively, raising a family, dancing, singing, studying, or whatever. They are involved with life. Victims are living under the law. They are looking for situations outside themselves to blame for their failures.
Free expression comes spontaneously. In it there is joy, attunement with Spirit, and grace. Controllers attempt to limit free expression; they see the world as limited and defined by rules and by laws. If you step outside what they perceive as the law, they want to see you punished. They see free expression as dangerous because it might upset the order and control the law seems to dictate.
People who are living under grace are ministers. They give of themselves to others, selflessly, in joy, for the good of all and the upliftment of everyone. Those who live under the law become sinisters; they may come close to you in order to get something, and then they may stab you in the back.
In grace, we are hunters because we are hunting for God’s way in our lives. We are going all the way home to God. There is an expression: “He wins who endures to the end.” With endurance comes grace because Christ will finish what you begin. If you do not sustain the effort, you fall away. And then you do not know God.
Liberation is an expression and experience of grace; it means that, not only do we want freedom while we are here on the planet, but we want to get off the planet, get off the wheel of incarnation, and be free in Spirit with the Lord. Those who live under the law become debilitating. Have you ever noticed how people who lay down the law seem to get a pasty look about them? They are not expressing the vitality of Spirit. They are dragging; their energy is low.
When we recognize that we are ordinary, we are living in grace. We know that ordinariness is a prior condition of God. When we experience our ordinariness, we know we are getting close to the Source of Spirit. As soon as we start to “puff up,” to become special in our own eyes, we are living under the law.
Those who live in grace are messengers of Light. We really want to bring health, wealth, happiness, loving, caring, sharing, prosperity, abundance and riches to ourselves, from ourselves, around ourselves, out of our pocketbooks, everything. We want to share with other people. Giving becomes joyful; receiving becomes joyful. It is all an expression of Spirit and God’s loving. If you worship the masters of materiality, you become a spreader of darkness. Your message becomes one of doom and gloom; you see things as dying, sinking, failing. Spreaders of darkness talk about the darkness of their own being as if that were an enlightening subject. It’s not.
Those who live in grace are bridge builders. We are building bridges from here to Spirit, from here into our hearts, and from our hearts to the hearts of others. We are building bridges we can walk across; they are made of understanding, compassion, empathy. We allow our bridges and those of others to be imperfect; sometimes they creak or sway or rock a little … but that’s okay because they still work. The people under the law are bridge burners. They just love to burn your bridges behind you. Sometimes the people under the law seem to be smarter than those under grace. They can burn your bridges but not their own. It takes a lot of grace in your consciousness to simply rebuild your bridge in another direction and keep on going toward God.
Under grace, we get discipline because we become disciples of Christ. And what do the law givers want to do with that? They are punishers. They want to give punishment. They threaten you with punishment.
Humor is under grace; sarcasm is under the law. Sarcasm can be a mask for anger, and there are times when you do become angry about things that occur in life. But if you can train yourself to laugh spontaneously, to laugh at yourself, to laugh at the situations that this world presents to you, then you have moved from law to grace. Often, a sign of the Spirit coming present is laughter. Sometimes you will find yourself spontaneously laughing at the littlest things; you know that you are experiencing the joyfulness of Spirit.
Truth is under grace; conviction is under the law. When you are convinced that your way is right, expand in that moment past your considerations and look for the truth. It may set you free.
When you find yourself dealing in negative thoughts and expressions, take a look and see if you are living under the law and, if you would prefer to live under grace, see if you can change your expression. One of the fastest ways to get out from under the law is just to say, “I’m sorry.” If you say it as a technique, it won’t work. If you say it as a heartfelt apology, it will work better. And performance is the best apology. If you correct what you are sorry about, you have demonstrated your apology and you are living in grace.
Choices. You have choices, every day, every moment. Do you choose grace or do you choose the law? It’s up to you. I choose to live in grace. It is my wish for you that you make that choice, also. When you do, we are one-together in God’s heart. And if you don’t, my love is with you because that, also, is what I choose.