August 28, 2022
Welcome back to my Precepts series—inspired by meaningful thoughts, insights, and discoveries I have during each week, and intentionally designed to help make your life just a little bit better. I recently read the classical spiritual adventure story Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall, and was inspired to share many of my thoughts and notes with you in today's special article, which contains Precepts developed directly from her book. Enjoy!
You can find the Precepts series in its entirety here.
Precept 43: 3 Keys To Relationship Success
Do you want to have better relationships? Do you want to be better understood? Do you want to know that you love fully and are loved fully (which is the primary concern of most people on their deathbed!)? Then follow these three rules:
1) Say “I don’t know” more;
2) Readily admit when you are wrong;
3) Ask for forgiveness anytime you know you have done something wrong.
Points #1 and #2 above are theoretically simple to understand, but can be logistically difficult to actually pull off. They require ample amounts of humility, and you’d be surprised at the number of people who have an extreme cognitive resistance to simply saying, “I don’t know,” or saying, “I was wrong about this or that.” But if you can swallow your pride and adopt these values as part of your regular communication, you will find yourself experiencing far less angst in any of your relationships.
Finally, regarding the third point in the list above, which was inspired by the Bible verse in Ephesians 4:26–27 that says, “Never let the sun go down on your anger,” there is one important caveat: if you truly feel you have done nothing wrong, then be radically honest with your child or spouse or friend or co-worker and tell them that you are having a hard time finding or seeing what you did wrong, and ask them to help you understand why they think you may have done something wrong. As Doug Wilson writes here, don't apologize just to make someone feel better, as that will result in you simply living a lie.
Precept 44: Soul With A Body
As I alluded to here when I explained how we are “light beings”…
“…only your soul defines you. Only your soul will go on to exist for eternity, for better or worse. For those of us tempted to do all that we can to cling to every last semblance of bodily health in what is eventually a fruitless effort, this is an incredibly freeing concept to understand. Sure, it’s rewarding, and it feels good to have a nicely operating body and brain, but if you prioritize your spiritual care first, any efforts you put into your body and brain maintenance become far more enjoyable and rewarding because they’re no longer necessary for your happiness, but rather, the “icing on the cake” of an already fulfilled life.”
Think about it this way: as Deepak Chopra says, “You are a spiritual being having a human experience, not a human being having a spiritual experience.” So now I challenge you to begin to think our yourself just a little bit more like that – as a spirit, not a body – and see what happens.
Precept 45: One Rule
What I’m about to tell you is simple, but powerful, and is a very good rule to live your life by.
God is watching everything.
Once you begin to live your life by this rule, actions both small and large will become – by the grace of God – more aware, mindful, and full of empathy towards others. Didn't wash your hands before making your family a meal? God is watching. Forgot to wipe the pee on the toilet seat, or replace the toilet paper? God is watching. Sneaking a few extra covetous glances at your neighbor's home, or car, or spouse? God is watching. Tempted not to mention the extra bottle of water the grocer clerk forgot to charge you for? God is watching. Did the mailman accidentally deliver your neighbor's mail to your house, and rather than hassling to bring it to your neighbor, you toss it in the trash instead? God is watching.
You get the idea. This also applies to work. If you labor in anonymous authenticity for God’s pleasure, you’ll find far more reward than all the public inauthentic work you could ever do for the world’s pleasure. God is watching everything, and He loves you.
That's it for this week! If you have questions, comments, or feedback below, please leave your thoughts. I read them all!
5 thoughts on “Precepts: 3 Keys To Relationship Success, Soul With A Body & One Rule”
Ben, I believe GOD indeed sees / knows and while His time and space are not as ours — He realizes we live in a sin filled world, but a world where His grace abounds to enable us to overcome and walk in His ways. We are His children, in relationship with Him, and our life is a journey to become more Chris-like. We are to Shama: Hear and Obey.
This world is fallen and one I daresay is “as it was in the days of Noah”. One day we all will stand in front of Yeshua and I have read there will be two types of humans: believer and non-believers, and the Word tells us there will be those who will not enter the kingdom…so we best get right in our hearts. We have been given God’s instructions (The Torah—the first five books of the Bible) but many do not like / refuse to acknowledge these books, but say God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow / unchanging — so why is it difficult to believe the instructions He gave still apply? We would be good to remember Hasatan works through man and perhaps not everything we have received passed down throughout the centuries is ‘spot on’ and thsu we have been led off the path a bit?? During our life / journey, Father works (but not against free will) to get us back on the path. (I have also heard/understand Yeshua actually tightened the teachings of Moses… (I am not Jewish but I am learning first century Hebraic roots / life.)
A Spurgeon post from today (not saying everyone is a Nazirite but we each need to come to greater understanding… You work hard to share with others;, bless you. You are an inspiration):
Nazirites had taken, among other vows, one that debarred them from the use of wine. In order that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to drink the vinegar of wine or strong liquors; and to make the rule even clearer, they were not to touch the unfermented juice of grapes, nor even to eat the fruit either fresh or dried. In order to secure the integrity of the vow, they were not even allowed anything that had to do with the vine; they were, in fact, to avoid the appearance of evil.
Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones, teaching them to come away from sin in every form, to avoid not merely its grosser shapes but even its spirit and likeness. Such strict walking is much despised in these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is the safest and happiest path. He who yields a point or two to the world is in fearful peril; he who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crevice in the seawall in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap soon swells until a province is drowned.
Worldly conformity, in any degree, is a snare to the soul and makes it more and more liable to presumptuous sins. The Nazirite who drank grape juice could not be completely certain whether or not it had fermented and consequently could not be clear in heart that his vow was intact. In a similar way the yielding, vacillating Christian cannot have a clear conscience but is constantly aware of his double standard. Doubtful things we need not wonder about; they are wrong for us. Tempting things we must not play with, but run from them speedily. Better to be sneered at as a Puritan than to be despised as a hypocrite. Careful walking may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own that are more than a sufficient reward.
I agree with much of what you wrote above except for one thing, and it’s fundamental. I am not a believer in the idea that “God is watching everything”, as if God is a parent taking care of a child that may stumble and fall on occasion. From my perspective “God” is the creative force behind every kind pf manifestation, and has given us, as sentient beings, free will as part of the package of life. But free will means we are individually responsible for every choice and every action we have ever taken, and every will, in this life or in any other incarnation we will have on our path of self realization. If we fuck up we create negative karma. When we do good we create positive karma. Over the eons we have successful and unsuccessful lives, which means we have to “work off” the bad karma. Each life is an adventure in which we get to decide, do we want to go up or down on the path of spiritual evolution.
My God is not judgmental
Being imperfect is being human
If God is watching, he adores me as I am
I am enough
I understand where you are coming from. God is always present with us. Our respect, awe and love for Him is what pushes us to lead a life that pleases Him. Although I do try to view Him from a less judge-mental point of view. That is how I viewed Him for a long time- always watching and waiting for me to screw up. I am really working on seeing Him differently- not in this light but as my creator who loves me and died to save me. When I view Him that way— I want to be better because of what He did for me.
You describe God like “he” is your superego watching and keeping track of all your actions, both good and bad. This feels oppressive and like the Old Gods very human. At the end you throw in God loves you as if “he” is your grandfather who in the end loves you no matter what the score.
My higher powers are less personal, less watchful, more like the laws of Nature which govern the universe. I’m responsible for bringing love in to my life no matter whether anyone is watching or not.