A lot of people reading my book Prayers for Those Standing on the Edge of Greatness have told me that it has been a tremendous blessing in helping them release toxic relationships, negative energy, old baggage, and other stuff that we all have to clean up in order to move forward in our lives.
Several weeks ago, at the SPIRITMUV Sunday Service, I addressed the commandment that best supports this process of spiritual de-cluttering, which is the Seventh Commandment: You shall not commit adultery. In the flesh, we believe that the Seventh Commandment is just about lying to others. But it is also about lying to ourselves. The only way that we can cleanse what we don’t need in our lives is to take an honest inventory of what’s there. Jesus taught that we should have so much integrity that if our right eye causes us to sin, we must “gouge it out and throw it away” and if our right hand causes us to sin, we must “cut it off and throw it away.”
It takes a lot to cut off our hand or pluck out our eye and fortunately, it’s not required that we do it in the physical realm. But Jesus said, do the work. Do as much as you can to clean up your act. Only then, do you even begin to see the blessings behind the door upon which your heart knocks.
The Seventh Commandment’s mandate to clean up our acts forces us to dig well beyond the appearances of the lives we lead to remove all of the complex lies that we hide in. In fact, I believe that a better way of saying this commandment is not that you must not cheat on others but that you must not cheat yourself. If you are lying to others, you are lying to yourself. If you are cheating yourself, you are not being your best nor are you attracting the best relationships and experiences to you.
Eric Butterworth taught that you can be in a marriage committing adultery, even if you are faithful to your spouse in the physical sense. You are cheating your spouse and yourself if you don’t want to be in the marriage, but you don’t have the courage to leave. Any time you are dishonest, you are committing adultery because you are cheating your Highest Self, by living a lie. Jesus confronted everyone with their lies when he told the crowd at the Mount of Olives, let he who has no sin cast the first stone. (John 8:7 NIV)
Not one of us is perfect. All of us have lied. All of us have cheated. All of us have sinned. Cleaning our own house does not permit finger-pointing, unless it is at ourselves. We know that each person on the Mount of Olives who had condemned the woman scorned disappeared when Jesus added the requirement that only those who had no sin could stone her. The Bible said that each person left one by one, “beginning with the oldest even to the last.” No one was spared.
Cleaning our houses means that we let go of the past, step away from the person who we used to be, and move forward in the divine energy of renewed commitment. Jesus said, go and sin no more. (John 8:11) How exactly do we do that? Sometimes when we look at where we are, it seems overwhelming. First, we can start with the physical stuff. We can throw away or give away the papers, the boxes, the files, the clothes, and other stuff that we no longer need — in order to make room for the new. When we do this simple physical task, we open spaces in our consciousness to receive God’s good.
Second, we can forgive the people, the situations and the circumstances that we have been holding onto. Sometimes we can’t do this part alone. So we pray to Spirit, to God, to Love to do the work through us. This often requires the heavy lifting of disappointments, pain and remorse. This requires us to stop hanging on to crutches and stop languishing in the belief that we are less than God’s anointed. Deep down inside, we are aware of the relationships that no longer serve our highest good, that are filled with jealousy and gossip and hatred.
Albert Einstein said “arrows of hate have been shot at me too, but they never hit me because somehow they belong to another world with which I have no connection whatsoever.” (Michael Beckwith, quoting Einstein in Spiritual Liberation) The world that Einstein speaks of is one that is cleansed of his own bitterness and frustration, one where he has released whatever and whoever was not supportive of his higher good and greater purpose. As Arthur Schopenhauer indicated, we have to release those we thought were friends when they will not support our success.
Third, we have to cleanse the consciousness and conduct that causes us to cheat ourselves out of being the divine creation that we are. This is even more difficult. In order to cast out the old hang-ups, fears and doubts, we have to first identify them; and then we have to be courageous enough to let them go. We have to be honest with ourselves about what causes us to fall short of what we want to accomplish in our lives. We have to be honest about what we need to do in order to demonstrate the power that we are blessed with.
Of course, this is not a seasonal but an ongoing process of self-examination and self-discovery.
As autumn winds blow and colder days arrive, it is a perfect time to go within and at least begin this inner journey.
At minimum, we can begin to clean up our acts, so that we can stop blocking the endless flow of good that God is pouring into our lives. Yes, it is a process that we must grow through. But ultimately, this process is far more important than the hopes and dreams that lead us through it.
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