Dave Brisbin 8.23.20
There are two basic ways we make choices. The first is with judgment—applying all we have experienced and learned to a particular situation or circumstance. We’ve been taught all our lives that it is wisdom to exercise good judgment. Then Jesus tells us not to judge. Are we supposed to throw out all the programming, the learned and experienced data of a lifetime that has helped us survive? Of course not. But when it comes to personal relationships and spirituality, a preprogrammed response necessarily brings the biases and stereotypes that kill relationships by allowing us to make decisions about people without ever being present to them. Which bring us to the second way to make choices: to choose what love requires. What does love require? First and foremost, it requires presence. Love is not possible without presence: being connected, one with the beloved.

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When it comes to our relationships with the people around us all day long, our relationship with the unseen spirit in all of creation, Jesus is asking us to throw out our programmed responses, our learned categories and distinctions and triggers so we can really see who and what is right in front of us. Love and presence is the same thing looked at from different sides of a relationship. To make loving choices, choices that define us as followers of Jesus—as simply decent people—requires presence and the willingness to throw out the rules if that’s what love requires. The Way of Jesus is the way of presence. Once truly present, we can’t help falling in love. And that’s our purpose as humans—falling in love. Not following rules.

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