Keep Going!

Don’t stop now. Keep going. The next time someone makes you feel as though, winning as you are, perhaps you’re getting too big for your britches, say to them silently, “I haven’t even started yet.”

— Marianne Williamson, A Woman’s Worth, p. 30

When the Time Comes to Let Go

Although long-term relationships and secure employment and living in that house feels good, remember, that’s not where your security lies. Let yourself bond. Get close to that woman, or man. Let yourself enjoy being friends with the best friend you’ve ever had. Be a loving parent, 100 percent. Throw yourself into that job with all your heart and soul.

But your security and joy are not in that other person or job. The magic is in you.

Don’t get angry when the time comes in your life to let go. Open your heart to that person, place, or thing, and say, “Thanks for teaching me to love and helping me to grow.”

Then let him or her go, without resentment in your heart. Because even though that time has come to an end, love can’t be lost. Even it means an end to the best time you’ve had yet in your life, look around at where you are now. Don’t forget to enjoy it, too.

This will be the next best time you’ll have.

Remember, love is a gift from God.

— Melody Beattie, More Language of Letting Go, p. 405-406

Also Distant from the Father

Elder brothers expect their goodness to pay off, and if it doesn’t there is confusion and rage. If you think goodness and decency is the way to merit a good life from God, you will be eaten up with anger, since life never goes as we wish. You will always feel that you are owed more than you are getting. You will always see someone doing better than you in some aspect of life and will ask, “Why this person and not me? After all I’ve done!” This resentment is your own fault. It is caused not by the prosperity of the other person, but by your own effort to control life through your performance.

— Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p. 52-53

Universalist Teachings of the Early Church

[About the teaching of Clement of Alexandria:] It is his lofty and wholesome doctrine that man is made in the image of God; that man’s will is free; that he is redeemed from sin by a divine education and a corrective discipline; that fear and punishment are but remedial instruments in man’s training; that Justice is but another aspect of perfect Love; that the physical world is good and not evil; that Christ is a Living not a Dead Christ; that all mankind form one great brotherhood in him; that salvation is an ethical process, not an external reward; that the atonement was not the pacification of wrath, but the revelation of God’s eternal mercy. . . . That judgment is a continuous process, not a single sentence; that God works all things up to what is better; that souls may be purified beyond the grave.

— John Wesley Hanson, Universalism, the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years: With Authorities and Extracts, p. 126-127

H for Heliotrope

The ingenuity of God is often startling. We think that we can see God’s will coming — and that it will be either A or B. Arriving, God’s will is often — as a friend of mine says — H, heliotrope, something that never would have occurred to you. It is for this reason that prayers for God’s will are best kept a daily and doable practice. This doesn’t eliminate surprises, but it does keep surprises a little more to the minimum.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 74

Forgiving our Neighbor

When we forgive our neighbor, in flows the forgiveness of God’s forgiveness to us. For God to withhold his forgiveness from the one who will not forgive his neighbor is love as well as necessity. If God said, “I forgive you,” to a man who hated his brother, what would it mean to him? How would the man interpret it? Would it not mean to him, “You may go on hating. I do not mind it. You have had great provocation, and are justified in your hate.” No, the hater must be delivered from the hell of his hate, that God’s child should be made the loving child that he meant him to be.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 162

The Elder Brother’s Spirit

We see that the elder brother “became angry.” All of his words are dripping with resentment. The first sign you have an elder-brother spirit is that when your life doesn’t go as you want, you aren’t just sorrowful but deeply angry and bitter. Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life, that God owes them a smooth road if they try very hard to live up to standards.

What happens, then, if you are an elder brother and things go wrong in your life? If you feel you have been living up to your moral standards, you will be furious with God. You don’t deserve this, you will think, after how hard you’ve worked to be a decent person! What happens, however, if things have gone wrong in your life when you know that you have been falling short of your standards? Then you will be furious with yourself, filled with self-loathing and inner pain….

Elder brothers’ inability to handle suffering arises from the fact that their moral observance is results-oriented. The good life is lived not for delight in good deeds themselves, but as calculated ways to control their environment.

— Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, p. 49-50

Love and Justice

There is no necessity that God should be reconciled with humanity, for there is no schism in the divine nature between love and justice which needs to be overcome before love can go forth in free and full forgiveness. The idea that justice and love are distinct attributes of God, differing widely in their operation, is regarded by Clement [of Alexandria] as having its origin in a mistaken conception of their nature. Justice and love are in reality the same attribute, or, to speak from the point of view which distinguishes them, God is most loving when he is most just, and most just when he is most loving….

Clement would not tolerate the thought that any soul would continue forever to resist the force of redeeming love. Somehow and somewhere in the long run of ages, that love must prove weightier than sin and death, and vindicate its power in one universal triumph.

— John Wesley Hanson, Universalism, the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years: With Authorities and Extracts, p. 122-123