No cause for stumbling.

Every time we have a meditation circle, different thoughts and images come up, and I often write my experiences out. I'll take time to share some here, as we continue in meditation--both my experiences and the thoughts of others. The meditation I want to share about today was guided last month by Chinua at our space in Pai. It was a Lectio Divina meditation from 1 John 2: 8-11.

At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because he darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

While in silence, I had a very clear picture of walking in darkness. It was from 2006, when I was at the National Rainbow Gathering in Colorado, walking through the pitch black woods with a flashlight. I had a flashlight! But it was only a maglite and the little beam of light it produced wasn’t enough to distinguish a path from a non path in the woods. I very badly wanted to get to the Pop-Corner kitchen to eat lemon flavored popcorn but eventually I had to admit defeat and simply turn around to go back to my camp. I couldn’t get through the woods in the dark. The next morning, the path I had been seeking was perfectly easy to find. The sunlight made the forest a perfect place to be, I saw the way I needed to walk and I also saw the beauty of the Colorado aspens.

In meditation it became so clear to me, through this picture, that hatred blinds us. In hatred, perhaps of a difficult person, we cannot see the way forward, we can’t help but be lost. The love of God alone allows our path with a person to be illuminated, to truly know the way to walk, to walk in the light and not stumble around blindly in the wrong section of the forest entirely. Have you ever viewed someone with bitterness and found that every single thing that they do is distorted to be the worst possible thing with the worst possible motive? Likewise, the same actions viewed with love receive the benefit of the doubt, the person is seen clearly as a child who is loved and needs love, no matter how broken or misguided their actions may be. This verse is not about punishment, but about what hatred versus love does to the human soul. God sees in perfect love and wants us to see the same way.