Topic: Forgiving Tolerance
Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
TOMAS: I am Tomas. Good evening.
Group: Good evening, Tomas.
TOMAS: Dear ones, it gives me great pleasure to be with you again as you are pleased also to be back in your customary realm with your peers. The familiarity of your home environment, our teacher base, is a solace and a comfort and a grounding experience following the tumultuous ride we just took in our neighboring community.
My prayers are with all of those who attended, for there will be growth ramifications. Not only were many seeds planted but also much earth was moved to allow for these seedlings to sprout and grow. Oft times the mere stirring of the dirt is enough to cause a tender seedling to collapse, to fall over in fear of the birth, and so I say my prayers are with them. And to those of you whose shoots are well-developed and strong, who are standing tall in the sun, who are putting forth fruit already, be tender-hearted with those new sprouts, that when your fruit-bearing has ended, they may take your place in the orchard of the Lord.
My friends, this evening I would like, with your permission, to proceed with our customary format and address again an aspect of character. This evening I would like to call to your attention and spend some time chewing on the fruit of "forgiving tolerance." This fruit is somewhat of a paradox and resembles perhaps a pomegranate, for in spite of its appearance, it is full of many-faceted aspects of feeling, attitude and emotion, which belie its smooth surface.
In the first place, I will refer briefly to the word "tolerance" and point out that tolerance, as an admirable trait in itself, even so, bespeaks a certain superiority. It is an endurance, this tolerance. A putting up with. Totally lacking in fruit of the spirit by itself, tolerance is meaningless without the qualifier of "forgiving" (tolerance), for in forgiving, you have brought godlikeness into the picture and broadened tolerance from a mere stance of endurance to a condition of reality which has true life and love reverberations.
And so I will spend a moment discussing forgiveness. You may have heard it said that it is unnecessary of the Father to forgive his children, for He already sees all there is to see and is in complete and total understanding of all His myriad children. There is nothing for the Father to forgive, for He is love, and in love, looks upon His children with tenderness and compassion.
The human being, however, is not so easily forgiving, for in the human realms there are betrayals and offenses and thoughtlessness and these bring about emotional feelings which make forgiveness difficult. The human cannot see with the eyes of God.
And yet you are given the fruit of the spirit, forgiving tolerance, thus we know it is possible that you can learn forgiveness, that you can practice forgiving tolerance. Not only that you can practice forgiving tolerance, but that forgiving tolerance can become your very nature, and when you encounter your fellow human beings who would give you offense, you can see with the eyes of the Father. Now how is this attained? What, after all, is forgiveness?
Anything, anyone, different from you is external to you and meaningless unless you personalize the experience. When you personalize your experience, you are at once vulnerable and subject to feelings. You are at once exposed to the danger of having your feelings hurt. This can be brought about through misunderstanding, ignorance, or deliberate viciousness on the part of unbelievers.
In recognizing the Father's viewpoint, in appreciating that from His point of view all is human error, you can look then, impersonally, at the situation in terms of human error. Who has erred and for what reason? How have you been damaged by the error? What is your responsibility in the error? In the damage? To err is human, to forgive is divine; and so you must transcend your own human foibles and frailties, and this is difficult, for then you must let go of your righteous indignation. You must let go of your opinions, your prejudices, and your fears. You must learn to see that mortal being as a child of God who is subject to human error.
In some cases you can ascertain their motives, their intentions in causing you harm, in causing your hurt feelings. Sometimes you cannot understand why they would behave in such a way. Sometimes you believe that the violation is so great that you are justified in withholding forgiveness. Only as you forgive are you yourself forgiven. As long as you hold in your heart that animosity, that hatred, you are holding within yourself that block against the spirit. You hold in yourself a door closed against truth.
To find the courage to open the door and forgive is to become as a little child, to recognize that you are in the hands of the Eternal Parent who loves you and who loves all His children. When you can give he/she who has offended to God, to do with as He will, when you have unburdened your soul of the responsibility of judgment for that other individual, you have opened the door to allow yourself to be set free, washed clean of the block of anger, offense, hurt, fear, and superiority,
I tell you, my students, that as you familiarize yourself with this position of childlike acceptance and obedience to His will, you rise above the anger and the pain. You are made free. You are released from that which you held hard in your heart and you are forgiven your anger, and now when you see individuals who are different, who are ignorant, who are offensive, you are able to understand that they are immature, that they have not learned. Perhaps, like you, they seek to know, and forgiving tolerance now becomes a way of life.
It is not a matter of putting up with, for you would, in essence, reflectively, just be putting up with yourself, and that is no way for a son or daughter of God to live, to feel, or to respond to the magnificence of the gift of the awareness of being part of divinity.
All of you have an understanding of forgiving tolerance. All of you also have an understanding of when it has been that you have impatiently cast aside an opportunity to grow or serve because you were unforgiving. Be therefore tolerant of yourself, and forgiving of yourself as you seek to attain the better approach, the better way of life.
This fruit, this pomegranate that you can hold in your hand and feel as a marvelous solid red vibrant fruit of the spirit, is filled with little seeds, with membranes separating pockets of seeds from each other, and this is the condition of the human who has many emotional seeds of distrust, despair, anger, resentment, fear, prejudice, conceit -- these marbles of mortal madness are made sweet and wholesome, are turned into a fruit of the spirit, by the understanding that this fruit has been created by God and its ripened juice is sweet, its purpose is nourishment.
Forgive me for rambling. I have missed you. Those of you who did not attend the conference, be assured we had a wonderful time, we are glad to be home, and we are glad to include you in our embrace. Dear pupils, how are you? Have you questions for discussion this evening?
Leah: Tomas, I'd like to ask if forgiving tolerance is the same as unconditional love.
TOMAS: No. It is not the same, although forgiving tolerance may attain to that. As you aspire to attain unconditional love, which is, yes, a ripe pomegranate, you must perforce await its ripening, and in its ripening you learn first forgiving tolerance. This is so because of your conditioning, because of your ripening process.
Unconditional love is largely a fantasy, an ideal. It is almost always unattainable, but it remains a high ideal to aspire toward. The human always has a condition, always has a motive. It may be the most divine motivation available, but there is a condition. There must be life forthcoming, responding, resounding, somehow. And so they are different.
It is not a fruit of the spirit that you have unconditional love, for that is virtually unattainable. Even the Father, who has in His hands the unconditional love of all his diverse family, has a condition upon His love for us, and that is that we should know Him and love Him in return.
When you are admonished to manifest the fruit of the spirit "forgiving tolerance," you are applying the spirit in your work in the field, in your relationships with others. Unconditional love can be had perhaps for an infant by a mother, but even children grow up and get into things and try their mother's patience.
Has that helped to clarify?
Leah: Yes. Yes, it does, especially the analogy of ripening. I heard you say it was unattainable but then you said the thing about a mother's love which, I guess, in our human sense it seems attainable. I'd like to ask something else.
Forgiving tolerance. In our earthly realm, as we start to mature and explore and discover things, it seems that there is talk of values and what you can allow and what you can't allow. What struck me is that if a boundary has been violated, that the person who feels that something has been violated, and this continues to happen, on the earthly plane there is the opportunity for detachment mentally or physical separation, but from what I'm hearing you say, there is something to look at in the self. If this behavior is considered offensive, something needs to happen. Would you just comment?
TOMAS: Let us take the example of a love-saturated soul whose immediate agenda of time and space in radiant joy of the spirit is only to expose his or her loving soul in response to the spirit and in response to the presence of his brother or sister in the flesh; and let us say that this other brother or sister in the flesh is equally a love-saturated soul.
Here there are no boundaries; there is total union, spiritual oneness. There is nothing to forgive. There is nothing to tolerate, for it is a moment of relative perfection on Urantia. These moments, these experiences are infrequent, in the norm, for as you go about your life in your maze of patterns and programs, you are a jumble of behavior patterns and responses. The spirit is set aside, forgotten. There is no room for the spirit in, for example, a. corporate environment or a domestic dispute because the emotions or the profit motive or whatever is involved. These are the realms wherein offense is easily given and taken.
In the normal course of being a human being, a man among men, a fellow among fellows, it is so easy for you to misunderstand each other based on your own unique mental outlook. Your outlook is yours and yours alone, and this is created and altered by your life experience and your exposures to your various cultures and the myriad personalities who have impacted you. A simple phrase that is a common everyday phrase for you, uttered lightly, may, in another's mind, have inferred to them a slight, a rejection, a vulgarity. These are a result of being human. By and large they are harmless except as they compile and it becomes a real wall between you. And so these offenses may not be because of meanness but out of ignorance.
Only as you attain higher and higher spirit reality levels in your dealings with others, do these possibilities diminish, for as you know another in the spirit, you understand their intentions, you recognize their motives, you appreciate their differences, you respect their personality, and so they can be found (to be) funny, original, ingenious, mind-expanding, by comparison to the situation which lacks sufficient spirit content to give it that edge, you see. The more spirit you can bring to any situation, the more sweet your fruits will be.
Leah: Let me give a far-fetched example. Suppose someone came over to your house and swept your walk after you swept it and that irritated you. Now, that's not really that offensive, it's just something which you state to a person you really don't want them to do anymore, and they continue to do it. My question is, is there something wrong with you because you don't want them to do it? Or should you allow something because you want to be tolerant, because it seems the lesson is about "not putting up with."
Now I understand the gist of seeing this person as a child of God. Initially the example was put forth of a non-believer or someone who is immature, but if this person were the person sitting next to you, who certainly understands that you don't want something done, and they still continue to do it, I just don't know what to do with the situation.
TOMAS: Have you studied their motives? Have you tried to understand your brother? For you are aware of the analogy, the picture in the Urantia Book that describes the man, the primitive man, with his club upraised...(100:4.5)
Leah: I'm familiar with it.
TOMAS: . .. and the point of it is that if you understand someone and understand their motives, you can learn to love them. If you understood why this individual insisted on sweeping your walk even after you had swept it, you might understand that it was a gesture of love or a request for attention or a way of getting you to engage in discourse.
Also remember that some immature mortals engage in irksome behavior so that they can get attention, even if it means being yelled at or punched because that is what they learned early on as a way of getting attention, and sometimes the only attention they have known is offensive and abusive attention. Look to the background of the individual who you are feeling intolerant of so that you will understand if it is necessary to apply forgiveness in the situation. And if there is, then you will know what you are forgiving.
Leah: What if there is nothing to forgive?
Hester: I have to ask Tomas, how does one go about investigating the background of someone who is only a neighbor whom you really don't know and have difficulty approaching because they don't want to be approached?
TOMAS: They are on your front step!
Hester: So I own the steps. I have a right to ask them not to do that.
Elizabeth: She did ask them and they kept on doing it.
Hester: That's right.
TOMAS: Question also your own motives in territorially. It would be possible to stand in the doorway with the screen closed between you and discuss the beautiful autumn leaves or the political debate to open the door of conversation between you. It sounds like an unusual behavior pattern if you are truly being bothered by someone who insists on sweeping your steps. I cannot understand why you would be offended.
Elizabeth: I feel like I have to get in on this. My idea is that this goes back to something about the way you were treated as a child of the family. This sounds like a repeat, and it arouses the frustration you felt as a child when you were ignored and you would say, request something and it was just going to be slid over, and that might be the reason somebody feels bad about their reaction. They really don't have to feel bad about it because it's something that's rooted in the past. I mean, I don't know whether that's right or not, but I'm just thinking that that's something that --that came to me.
Beatrix: I remember when I was at that conference and we talked about cosmic consciousness and this was -- I can't believe how much we let people keep doing what they want! -- and she gave an example. Now, maybe it's a different slant on it. Maybe it's something that doesn't have so much to do with forgiving, but just a boundary, and I think when it interferes with your self, your respect of yourself, like your value of yourself, that then you were permitted . .. that you don't have to be rude. Is that kind of what you're -- because you're . .. It's not that you're angry, it's that they're going past the line that becomes abusive in a real slight way. Was that an actual example that you gave?
Leah: No. I'd like to expand on this a little.
TOMAS: I would like to say that your example, then, is rather like a dog who consistently urinates on your garbage can, and I am addressing a fruit of the spirit in terms of your relationships with other human beings in which you have some degree of contact and communication. This person that you set out as an example is obviously not communicating with you, and so it may not even apply that forgiveness is an aspect. Indeed you are perhaps simply enduring a situation that would do as well to call the authorities.
Student: A what?
Student: A cop. A policeman.
Student: Well, this example, it's not a normal . .. I mean . ..
Student: It could be me!
Student: Perhaps it's someone who has no more intelligence than a five year old, who thinks it's important to help someone because his mommy says you help people. And he's got that mentality that he won't accept the fact that you say you don't need it done and you don't want it done.
Student: It's not a real example.
Student: If it's a situation with a normal person . ..
Student: You're really talking about your integrity. If you've already done something and somebody does it, which is in some way, I'm picking up, a disrespect....
Leah: No. I set a boundary and the boundary was violated.
Leah: I also want to put this in because I also had an incident at the conference where I felt that I did something right. I really wasn't conscious of what I had done until that person told me that what I had done to them was entirely offensive, and I was so taken aback by this, that I just couldn't believe it! And it was a gesture, and the analogy that I originally wanted to report -- I didn't really want to get entirely into this, but -- it was a similar situation, where it was stated to me that the boundary I felt was violated, the party informed me that their motive was not the way I thought that it was.
But I always thought that if you're going to end up with a broken leg, it doesn't make any difference whether somebody pushes you down the stairs or if they trip you or if it was just an accident, they bumped into you, you still have the broken leg.
TOMAS: I would like to add something for the record, that I noticed that the dialog following the lesson went downhill by accentuating the examples of ways in which you are offended rather on the ways in which you can grow in the spirit of forgiving tolerance.
This is not to say that any of us do it perfectly, but we are trying to ripen the fruit through the spirit. As always, the practice of Stillness brings us back to a closer understanding of our failing to be tolerant and forgiving. Always there is a reflection on the self of how I could have done it better. How could I have shown more tact and tolerance? How can I reach my brother, my sister, more affably, more lovingly? How can we develop understanding between us and not allow the misunderstandings to damage the relationship?
Rather than focus on the negative, focus on the positive, even as you sit in Stillness and seek forgiveness for your misguided feelings. Why, indeed, are you offended? How is it that your brother or sister offended you even when they did not intend to? Because you interpreted it in some way that was unsatisfactory to you! It is therein that you need to keep your side of the street clean. Always are these (lessons on) fruits of the spirit intended that you take a look at yourself, that you may better learn to nurture your own fruits of the spirit through the help of the Master Gardener.
Always is it the relationship between you and the Father, which is primary, and then the relationship with you with yourself, and then the relationship of you with others. Keep your priorities in order. You encounter others in order to serve. When you encounter others to have your needs filled, you run into trouble. Only the Father can provide your needs. Only He can forgive you for being so needy. And then you can forgive others because you understand how it feels to be wrong.
Student: I was reading a line today that said, "Hope causes the energy" and I thought that was wonderful, and then I thought all the fruits of the spirit probably cause us to have more energy than we might have.
TOMAS: As they are mastered, yes.
Student: As they are mastered, yes.
TOMAS: But as you read in Rodan, these habits, better habits are time-consuming and exhausting at first, and so the work of the spirit is indeed work until you have your self polished sufficiently that you can rather gleam through some of life's vicissitudes which used to trip you up.
Yes, as you attain maturity, you have more time on your hands and many of the difficulties of your more troublesome brothers and sisters no longer even come to your attention and are no longer bothersome for you, for you understand they are not yours to deal with. You have learned to transcend through forgiving tolerance and other fruits of the spirit.
Student: I'll bet our brain really loves those fruits of spirit. Then it can really work.
TOMAS: Your mind enjoys working harmoniously with Infinite Mind, absolutely! It is the animal mind that balks, and once you and your Thought Adjuster act as an animal trainer and get that cat to "heel!" you can begin putting on a real show.
TOMAS: Dear students and precious friends, embrace one another as I embrace you. As Michael has taught us, love one another as He has loved you. This is the challenge of the ages, but it is the most meaningful adventure.
Student: And we embrace you, too, Tomas.
TOMAS: Dear Celeste, thank you. I will not give you an assignment. I know you have enough to do.
Beatrix: I was going to say, you'd better give us a couple weeks for that one!
TOMAS: Enjoy the autumn finery. Farewell.