Lesson 3: Human Relationships
Just think in self, "somebody cares!" it is the greatest thought that comes to the mind of man – "somebody cares." For what? As to whether ye are this or that, or that they may use you for this or that? No! That they would like to give, like to be, like to supply thy every thought, thy every need of every nature. (3365-1)
Try to see self in the other's place. And this will bring the basic spiritual forces that must be the prompting influence in the experience of each soul, if it would grow in grace, in knowledge, in understanding; not only of its relationship to God, its relationship to its fellow man, but its relationship in the home and in the social life. (2936-2)
As was noted in the lesson on Righteousness vs. Sin, the original sin that plagues the human race is self-centeredness. By default humans tend to be so focused on themselves so as to miss out on the opportunity to express love to others.
Empathy is a means for transcending self-preoccupation. By putting oneself in the place of another, the world is changed a little bit for the better. The point is to try to see the world from their perspective and feel what they may feel, but not in a way to manipulate or use them for your benefit. This is the basis for constructive human relationships.
Application: Make a special effort today to be empathic and care about the needs of others. Find a simple, direct way to express that caring (whether by spoken word or action) so that the other person becomes aware that “somebody cares.”
Supporting Humanitarian Efforts
(Q) How much money must the entity accumulate to enable him to comfortably provide for his family – etc?
(A) Use that thou hast in hand! and he that will not contribute to the humanitarian interest with one PENNY above the needed from day to day, will NOT contribute were there MILLIONS at hand! THIS a truth. (520-1)
Sacrificial giving in support of humanitarian interest, whether as a form of tithing or simply an act of spontaneous kindness, has a role in the search for God.
Such giving does not replace person-to-person sharing that may arise in the midst of life. Yet there are humanitarian needs to be met that are best served as cooperative social ventures where enormous resources are required to address widespread suffering.
Application: Consider donating to a charity or some humanitarian interest as a gift to God. Reflect upon that act of giving in your relationship to God and to those to whom your generosity is directed.
Watch Your Step
So oft in seeking that some great thing may be done does the soul stumble over itself… (557-3)
When seeking to apply spiritual principles and bring light into the world, it is easy to become grandiose and stumble over your own good intentions. Be careful about trying to save the world or convert humanity to your way of thinking.
It is in the little things that we make progress. So even as the scope of giving expands, it can still be little steps that make a difference: Small donations, small gifts of time or energy in volunteer activities, little acts of selflessness, a single vote for a political candidate. These little steps in the direction of expressing God’s love as light in the world are the place to start the journey. With progress and success, larger steps may then be taken, if attunement is maintained.
Application: As you seek express God’s love outward into the world, take it one small step at a time, patiently doing God’s will as the opportunity arises. When larger opportunities arise, be careful to stay attuned to God’s will so as not to lose your balance.