(195) Love is the way I walk in gratitude.
Today's review adds a new note to the lesson. I walk in the way of love. As I walk, the Holy Spirit walks with me (1:3-4), and shows me the way to go.
Walking in the way of love is not always simple. Often, the "loving thing" to do is not obvious. If someone breaks into my home, and is arrested, do I press charges, or do I let them off the hook? Which action is "loving"? Or, to make it much more simple: A friend, prone to misuse of money, asks me for a loan. Do I give them the money, or refuse? Which is the way of love?
I do not know. Even if I think I know, I do not know. I cannot possibly know all the variables. I cannot evaluate the ego motivation of another. How could I possibly do that when I can't even evaluate my own ego motivations? I cannot judge when a person is open to a merciful action, or when the most loving thing would be to let them face the consequences of their mistakes. But the Holy Spirit does know all those things. He is my only Guide. My past experiences, no matter how extensive, are never enough to grant me perfect judgment. The Holy Spirit, however, knows every detail of every situation. He knows the ramifications of every possible outcome, and can guide me in the loving action I should choose.
How do I discern His Voice? Again, there is no guaranteed way. Learning to discern His Voice clearly is a lifelong process. All I need do is to refer the situation to Him, consciously give it into His hands, and then act in whatever way seems best to me. Each day, and in each situation, I renew my resolve to never make a decision by myself. Sometimes I will sense an inner "nudge" in a certain direction, for no reason I can detect. Perhaps circumstances will occur that seem to point me in a particular direction. Serendipitous coincidences may occur that seem to be signs, directing me. Other times I will seemingly be left on my own. The Course promises us that if we make a mistake, He will correct us, if we have given the situation to Him. We will make mistakes, but we have His promise of correction.
One of the most important aspects of hearing His Voice, I have learned, is letting go of any investment in a particular outcome. The only outcome I seek is the outcome of forgiveness, the outcome of love, the outcome of peace of mind in all concerned. I cannot pick what external circumstances are best suited to this kind of outcome; only the Holy Spirit knows. A rebellious teenager threatens to leave home, or drop out of school. As a parent or friend I may believe that the best thing is that she stay at home, or stay in school. I do not know. Perhaps the lessons she needs to learn can only be found if she distances herself for a while from family and friends. So I lay the situation in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and ask that I be guided to say and do whatever best serves the way of love. Then, I keep my hands off. I trust that I am being guided, even if things begin to move in a way I, in my shortsightedness, do not like. My primary responsibility is simply not to interfere with Him.
Today, let me walk the way of love in gratitude, trusting the Holy Spirit to guide my every word and action. Let me remind myself that I am here only to be truly helpful, to represent Him Who sent me, knowing that I do not have to worry about what I will say or do, for He will direct me (see T-2.(V)A.18:2-6).