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May 1


Seek Understanding
"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, ...Arise, my love, my fair
one, and come away." Song of Solomon 2:12-13.
Welcome to May Day! This bouquet of mixed meanings around the world. Does it speak to
you of the thrill of spring festivities and flowers, or of the celebration of laboring workers, or of the
international radiotelephone signal word used as a distress call? If we chose May Day to be a uniting
event between us, we would need to communicate what we mean by it first to build our
From the wisdom of good and evil needed to gather knowledge of life, we move to consider
how understanding, the third essential for abundant living, develops among us. To be ever learning
and never coming to understanding is to rob knowledge of meaning. And to claim understanding
without wisdom and knowledge is to feign it. It takes the whole trio to make the music of covenant
love that unites lovers and friends into partnerships.
Understanding creates the magic of the moments that two people know when they discover
they have a common use for their common knowledge. They feel at home together without either
having to sacrifice his truth to accommodate the other. They find themselves on the same wave
length headed in the same direction. No need exists to hide or lie or deny or invent anything to
establish it.
Would that wands could create such understanding without effort! But such is rare indeed. It
is the task of lovers and friends to build this understanding between them. While common
backgrounds simplify it, they do not guarantee it. Even children within the same family face doing
the task among themselves. Three children may sense a parent's lack of love for them. One may
work without ceasing to win the love he lacks. One may feel that the parent's love is being lavished
on all except her and become angry toward her siblings. Another may recognize the parent's lack and
do all she can to extend understanding love to the parent. Not until the three understand the parent's
dilemma do they understand the nature of the family bond uniting them.
Our heavenly Parent is love, not the lack of love. In our ceaseless efforts to seek love from
one another, we are prone to misunderstand His call for us to love one another. This month we shall
focus on discovering love in the understanding of God's unity. Already knowing that God's life dwells
within us, we shall learn to appreciate the corporate loving unity God wants to establish among all of
us who allow His abiding presence to guide our behavior. As we launch into our topic, May this Day
begin a loving journey for us.
Father, teach us to understand how to love as You do. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Recall a time when someone said, "I understand how you feel."
Did that person have wisdom and knowledge to serve as a basis for understanding?
If so, how did you benefit?
If not, how did you regard the understanding that was offered?
Can understanding run ahead of wisdom and knowledge or must they grow together?
Is it possible to have detailed knowledge of people and still lack understanding of them?
What does the lack of understanding despite much knowledge indicate to you?
Do you feel understood by people who use their knowledge of you to attack you?
Who among your acquaintances understands you?
What has led you to conclude that about that person?
What elements of your background do you have in common with him or her?
Is his or her understanding limited to a given aspect of your life or is it all inclusive?
Do you expect any one person to understand every aspect of another's life?
Do you believe that God has anything to do with giving people understanding?


May 2
Reasoning Builds Understanding
"For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6.
The beginning of our journey to understanding takes us to the the mouth of the Lord, the
Source of supreme understanding. He who has given us wisdom to discern good from evil that we
may gain good knowledge, now offers us His understanding. Only He can bless our rational powers
with spiritual discernment of His will. He empowers the social adjustments needed to unite us in
working relationships.
What is understanding? It has varied meanings and serves in many contexts. To understand
is to make sense out of new knowledge by fitting it into the framework of concepts we already know
from past experience. Such knowledge-based understanding paves our way for relating intelligently
in our roles with others. While I was in college, I tried to earn some money doing housecleaning for a
short while. The lady instructed me to use the electric scrubber to clean the floor. She sprinkled the
cleaning solution sparsely over an area and demonstrated how to do it. But I could not fit what I saw
with what I knew about scrubbing. In my opinion much more water was needed to do the job. When
she left, I sprinkled a new area with the generosity born of manual floor scrubbing. When I turned on
the machine, a swirl of dirty water flew in every direction, lining the walls with my stupidity. Despite
her simple demonstration, I did not really understand. Instead I had rejected her advice as
unreasonable in the context of my knowledge and had refused to govern my behavior by it. I leaned
upon my own understanding, and I suffered the consequences.
We shall view understanding in the context of the reasoning process that leads people to
come to a common understanding or agreement. This I did not do before I used the electric scrubber.
Instead I pretended agreement and then acted contrary to her command, doing an injustice to her
home. Solitary reasoning is not adequate for establishing corporate understanding. It is reached by
reasoning together. Unity of purpose results when all agree on how to use what they share. It opens
their way to carry out the plans that meet the unique needs of their working relationships.
We show understanding of others by viewing their behavior in the context of the degree of
wisdom and knowledge they possess. We may not condone what they do, but we do not condemn.
Instead we apply our understanding to the task of reasoning together to form a plan to meet their
needs. I may see why homeless persons drink water from a polluted river, but they do not benefit
unless by my reasoning with them they gain an understanding of how to find clean drinking water.
Understanding is best achieved when each person enters into relating with a loving spirit. Happiness
often follows true understanding. "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth
understanding." Proverbs 3:13.
Lord, help me to understand how to be understanding. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Have you ever begun doing a task with someone before you came to an understanding about how you
would do it? How did it work? What misunderstandings occurred?
If a partnership not based on God's principles of love fails to work, is it reasonable to blame God for
the failure?
If you feel a lack of understanding in your relationship, do you tend to demand that the partner
provide the understanding? Or do you both look to God to give His understanding to both of you?
Can God provide understanding for us, if we reject His understanding of how we need to relate?
Do we feel more understood when someone coddles us, or when someone reveals the cause of our
misunderstandings and corrects us?
In a sense, understanding is about "standing under" to uphold and support one in time of need.
Submit derives from "under + send". I bend to send my support under whom or what needs lifted or
upheld. The upholding is the reason for bending and "sending under."
We submit to uphold each other while we move toward unity of understanding re the principles and
goals we have.
Deep love puts high value on loved ones by bending low to uplift. We submit to elevate, not degrade.

May 3
Loves' Framework
"Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding, ...that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy
I Chronicles 22:12.
Among the most frightening misfortunes that people suffer is the loss of one's mental
capacity for understanding. Such a loss robs routine input of its usefulness to the sufferer who has no
way to relate it to some meaningful aspect of his life. Even his own attempts to communicate
become expressions of emptiness. His smile conveys nothing. His words reveal the sad reality that
he is out of touch with life around him. This is so because his framework of concepts by which he
makes sense out of specific information is destroyed. May we never have to face such a sorrow.
However, a serious task does confront us that we dare not ignore. If we wish to love, we must
have a framework of concepts by which we can understand how to respond in love to the needs that
surround us. Not born with it, we must choose it. Two varieties of understanding exist--the spiritual
kind the Lord gives that we may "keep the law of the Lord thy God," and the selfish carnal kind we
develop from infancy that opposes His law of love. It is our nature to resist God's call to love Him and
to love one another, and instead focus on getting others to love us. Feeling guilty is a more familiar
emotion than feeling loving. We often find ourselves trying to figure out what we did wrong that
might justify others' refusal to love us. Or we busy ourselves finding reasons to justify our own refusal
to love others. We lack the understanding God gives that empowers us to "keep the law of the Lord."
We can barely comprehend a law that allows no good reasons for not loving God or our
fellowmen, a law that defines our unloving behaviors as sin that brings death. See Romans 6:23; I
John 3:4. We stand in awe of a God who in essence says, "Don't bother hunting for the reasons that
people are rejecting you. No good reasons exist for not loving you, nor for you not to love others. If
there were, then breaking My law by not loving would be justifiable and not always a sin. The law
would then cease to be the standard for good that defines sin.
The law, our framework of concepts by which we define moral behavior, provides our basis for
understanding how to live. Without it we do not know whether we are loving and being loved or not.
Unless the Spirit of God indwells us and writes this law in mind and heart, we lack this basis for
understanding. Hearing it does not make it happen in us. We must choose to submit to God's Spirit
who only can empower His law of love to work in us. Since the law is spiritual, its precepts cannot
function within a carnal mind that lacks spiritual understanding. "Because the carnal mind is enmity
against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7. I'm glad
God can change minds!
Lord, I'm glad no reason exists that stops us from loving one another. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Have you known people who lost their mental capacity for understanding?
What aspect of relating to them is most difficult?
Have you known people who lack an understanding of how to love?
What aspect of relating to them in most difficult?
Do you ever try to find a reason to blame yourself for someone's failure to love you?
By doing that, do you justify the person's unloving behavior and blame yourself for his sin?
By doing that do you remove from him his responsibility to be loving?
Such logic destroys the role of the law to define unloving behavior as inexcusable sin for the one who
does it, not for his victim. Are offenders likely to seek forgiveness for what they believe is your fault?
Likewise when we use others' behavior as our reasons not to love them, are we ignoring our need to
seek repentance and forgiveness for not loving others as Jesus has loved us?
Think what time could be spent on loving if we stopped trying to establish people's guilt as good
reasons for refusing to love.

May 4
Blue Encircles Lover-Friend Partnerships
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3.
In the formation of loving partnerships the question above will not be ignored. Can two truly
walk together before they talk together? Can two people who have grown up as individuals become
united in word and deed without first exploring the framework of concepts that each uses for
understanding life? The question supposes a no. And yet many skip the joys of discovering what
wisdom and knowledge they hold in common and scorn the effort it takes to resolve their differences
so they can really agree. In their haste to be loved, they set aside the need to agree. Without
knowing how to deal with needs they hurry to build a bond born of understanding only that they both
want to be loved. They assume that close proximity is all they need.
Such relationships depend upon the emotional magnetism of the physical attraction that is
sparked when love-seeking eyes match and mistake their mutual messages. Self-deceived, each
interprets the "I will let you love me" look of the other to mean "I love you." They deny seeing any
needs they should meet and refuse to admit to having any. Exposing hidden needs could interfere
with the magnetism and wreck the bond of deception between them. Thus as each attempts to
attract the other, need-meeting love is pushed aside. They can only pretend to be nice to gain
God has something better within His family circle for would-be lovers. So far we have placed
the violet and indigo rings in this colorful rainbow-designed circle. Now the blue ring designed for the
lover-friend partnership unites the lover's need to commit to love and the friend's need to submit to
being loved. Within this context lover and friend unite to agree on what each needs and how these
needs can be met.
Blue is the perfect color to symbolize this stage of relating. As it encircles the darker violet
and indigo rings of wisdom and knowledge, it seems as though its bright color follows the previous
work done in parent-child and teacher-student roles to enlighten the pathway of understanding. Blue
speaks of the clear sky that encompasses all people of the earth, reminding us that God intended
before sin that His love would empower everyone to love everyone without any divisive barriers to
hinder it. Blue speaks of the sky-high level of understanding based on agreement with God's
definition of good and evil that rises above the cloudy areas of right and wrong opinions. Blue sings
of the true blue loyalty that love fosters. In view of all this, it's strange that the world has borrowed
blue to symbolize the dark depression in the minds of those who ignore God's love. That worldly
mind-set simply demonstrates the truth of Isaiah 55:9: ".. as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Do you agree?
Lord, I'm glad the blue heavens declare the glory of Your love that empowers us to understand how to
love one another. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

The lover-friend role in the broad sense is not restricted to romantic unions. All people need to
understand how to commit to meet needs and/or submit to letting others love to meet their needs. To
whom are you committed to meet various needs? Are they willing to discuss and agree on what you
and they need to do?
Or do they resist your efforts and reject your plans to help them?
Upon what have you built your partnership? Is mere physical attraction an adequate foundation?
Do you regret uniting in partnership with someone before you evaluated the framework of wisdom
and knowledge upon which his or her understanding was based?
In building new partnerships with people of unknown backgrounds, a figurative chat mat can help.
This space outside your private world for topical conversations can reveal to each other your
definitions for good and evil and the laws or principles by which you govern your behavior. This chat
mat helps discover your common ground and the degree of agreement youre likely to achieve before
any commitments are offered or conflicts arise between you.
You'll see what type of partnership the strengths of your characters, resources, etc., can sustain.
How do both rate, operate, and cooperate? (February 9-11.) Does blue describe your friendship?

May 5
Boundaries: To B.. or Not to B..?
"What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4.
Do you ever wonder why God would use His energies to create each person to be a unique
individual? Wouldn't the work of achieving unity among us be easier if we were all the same? An
analogy of anatomy answers this. In constructing a single person, could all ears or all eyes or all legs
or stomachs or all of any one thing form the complex miraculous being that man is? Likewise in the
corporate sense, if all people were identical, the whole corporate body that Jesus fits together to meet
society's needs, could not be made into the marvelous creation He has ordained His family to be.
God has a unique place for each unique person.
However, diversity is not the whole story. Diversity undisciplined can only lead to deformity,
discord and death. Just as DNA strands reside in the unique cells of the body and carry the genetic
family inheritance through the whole being, so also God intends that the strands of His law of love be
woven through the minds of each of His children. As these spiritual strands pervade each person's
mind, God's divine principles can provide the bases for determining spiritual family resemblances that
reflect Jesus' character in each person.
With each pair of reasons for relating comes a principle, a commandment promise that sets
the boundaries of the playing field for personal diversity. Within its boundaries diversity can operate
without destroying one's bond of unity with God who gives us individuality. The Commandment VII
promise to preserve unity with God while we commit to love one another is "Thou shalt not commit
adultery." Just as the boundaries of a tennis court provide ample room to learn to play a good game,
so also "Thou shalt not commit adultery" provides ample support and space for learning to become
good lovers and friends. If the boundaries of tennis were extended to football field size and footballs
replaced the tennis balls on the court, it would cease to be an official tennis game. The game is
defined by the rules. When the rules are tossed, the game is ruined. The same is true in the game of
love. God's Ten Commandment law of love defines the "game" of love. When we ignore or destroy
the rules, we destroy the game. Whatever we do outside the boundaries of God's definition for loving
cannot be love. Whatever else it may be, by love's very definition given in God's law of love, it is not
Only diversity that is in harmony with God's law of love belongs in our behavior. This diversity
can find expression in the various pairs of reasons we have for relating: guiding--deciding, teaching-learning, committing--submitting, providing--producing, giving--receiving, governing--growing, and
sanctifying--serving. By committing to meet needs and submitting or agreeing to let our needs be
met, we can love another without geographic boundaries. The playing court for love's game is drawn
to include everyone.
Lord, I see that it is we not You who limits our freedom to love by the boundaries that shut people
away from us. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

With all our efforts at diversity, have you noticed that when we seek unity we emphasize the common
threads of principles and practices that we share?
When we accept eyes of any color, it is eyes, not feet, on faces that we are accepting because eyes
belong on faces and feet don't. Diversity must keep within the boundaries of God's broad plan for
creation to be accepted. We reject what goes beyond them. Examine your boundaries today by
noticing what things and people you reject. What boundary do you protect by rejecting that given
thing, deed, or person? Why did you build that boundary in your mind?
Is it based upon a worldly principle or God's principles? or perhaps a fear?
Is it there to protect you and others from harm or to spare you from having to love unselfishly?
Is it there to keep others from loving anyone but you?
Does your rejection of another show you have drawn your boundaries too tightly?
Do you need to expand the space within your boundaries to include his or her needs for your love?
Could someone break a law of God and still be within your boundaries? Explain why or why not.
Are your boundaries more generous than God's or do you merely misunderstand His boundaries?

May 6
Adultery Wrecks Unity
"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."
Psalm 27:14.
On May 6, 1964, my husband and I lingered in the park to enjoy the few flowers scattered
around us and the tiny leaves that waited patiently for what they needed to mature. Then we drove to
the hospital to admit my husband for open heart surgery. The Lord had already completed a list of
impossibilities for us. And now the decision was final and the time for the grand finale was fast
approaching. Doctors had been doing open heart surgeries for about two years prior to then, so the
procedure was still relatively new.
Weeks before we had wondered if we should do it, until the fear that we might not be able to
do it loomed large before us. The need for twenty-five rare AB+ blood donors had stood between us
and the surgery. By God's miraculous grace we had found them, and the door of opportunity had
opened. Had life not been so precious, it would have been easier to reject their rules rather than to
submit to let the committed doctors love us. But we chose not to draw a narrow boundary to cut
them out of our world. As friends to those trained to love us, we awaited his surgery on May 12.
Love's rules are few and well considered. We love God first so He can empower us to love.
Then we love our neighbors as ourselves. To preserve our unity with Him and with one another, He
promises "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Adultery wrecks unity. Our tendency to narrow
boundaries is seen in the way people define adultery--voluntary sexual intercourse by married
persons with those to whom they are not married. We section off this adultery view like a penalty box
in a hockey game and try to stay out of it, but adulterous behavior plagues our game of love.
Adultery is sin against God. Love and adultery occur in four stages. To love God with all the
heart we trust that He can meet all our needs. Emotional adultery distrusts God to dwell in us to
meet needs and mistrusts people who make and meet demands to give them love. To love God with
all the soul we pray in hope that He'll dwell within and meet our needs.
Spiritual adultery
disbelieves God will reward our hope in Him; it fastens hope's super-glue on any who seem willing to
love us. To love God with all the mind we choose His promises and agree to let Him write His law in
us. Mental adultery rejects God's promises and refuses to let Him write His law in mind or heart.
Instead it bows to the demands of others who promise to love after their demands are met. To love
God with all the strength we let His grace empower His laws of covenant love to work in us and meet
the needs of one another. Physical adultery refuses God's love-empowering grace, disgraces
families, violates covenants, and exploits its loveless victims.
Let's draw love's boundaries broad enough to include God among us. As we claim God's
promise that "Thou shalt not commit [emotional, spiritual, mental, physical] adultery," His love will
unite us.
Lord, fulfill your promise to me that I shall not commit adultery in any form with anyone. Thank You
for loving me. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Have you ever wanted to refuse to let someone love you because it was too difficult to submit to the
rules required to carry out the plan?
Does it seem easier to box yourself away from him than to love him or let him love you?
Do you know people who committed adultery? Where did they draw their boundaries?
Who was included inside the boundary?
Which people were pushed outside of his or her circle of love by the boundary drawn to allow adultery
to invade the game? Which institutions were damaged and disgraced by it?
If we submit to God's plan for loving Him with heart, soul, mind, and strength, how much chance will
sexual adultery have to wreck our unity with those we love?
What does Matthew 5:27, 28 state about adultery?
Are the boundaries of your game of love drawn tightly around narrow selfish interests or big enough
to include God and broad enough to include His human family?




May 7

"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."
"Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding." Proverbs 4:7; 9:6.
All the wisdom and knowledge in the world cannot dismiss the need for understanding. Any
who lack it are boxed in and know not how to achieve unity via love. It is in such a state that we find
the son whom we have followed through the DAD and MOM stages of childhood. Now when his
parents would have him go forth into the world with the understanding of how to live well, he sits
boxed in by his lack of understanding how to love. He needs two things that Jesus prayed he would
have: God's love and the Spirit of Jesus to write God's law in His mind and shed love abroad in his
heart (John 17:26; Hebrews 10:16; Romans 5:5). His DAD had displaced God as his source of love and
taught distrust. His MOM had tossed aside the law of love that the Spirit of Jesus wanted to write in
his mind and heart, replaced it with lies, and taught disbelief. Now he is boxed in with no Source of
love and no understanding of how the laws of true love operate. Without faith or hope or love, He
needs to be set free to love.
The outside of his front door labeled TEACH with Goal shows which promise to teach him:
"Thou shalt not commit adultery." Our goal for teaching this Commandment VII is to value the love
discovered in the understanding of God's unity. While it is IN FRONT for those who can see it, boxed in
as he is with misunderstandings, he can't see it. It seems foreign to his warped framework of
concepts for interpreting people's behavior. It may even seem opposed to the process of loving he
chooses. He needs to understand how his self-concept was formed before he can become untangled
from others' control over him, and build his very own self-concept.
Until we learn otherwise our self-concepts are formed by what others tell us about who we
are. Their words and behavior send us positive or negative messages that we combine to form our
identity. If they say we're cute or smart or talented, we accept it as fact and try to behave
accordingly. Our errors and defects provide their ammunition to devalue us: "You're lazy. You said so
yourself." Since they cannot read our minds, much of what they say about us is false.
Early in the process we learn to hide our feelings to protect ourselves from having others use
our weaknesses as weapons to hurt us. Though that leaves them a small chance of being correct, still
we continue to give full weight to what they say about us. We become just as irritated when we are
called "Stupid" after having told them nothing of our knowledge, as we would if we had told them
everything we knew and were called "Stupid." The barrier of silence about the inner core of our life
does not lessen the hurt we feel when we are falsely devalued or rejected. Why? We seek to win
their approval and earn their love. We stay victims of what they say and how they view us, until we
find freedom from their control over us. We'll learn to deal with them.
Lord, You've been knocking on the door of my misunderstanding, wanting to show me the love of Your
truth. Let me understand that love thrives when we're in unity with You. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Have you been blocked from relating to someone because of a misunderstanding between you?
Which of you harbored the misunderstanding that erected the barrier?
How could a shared understanding of God's unity in your midst remove the barrier?
How might the broad concepts of Commandment VII provide understanding of how to relate better?
Could the misunderstanding be clarified by depending on God for love?
Consider your self-concept. What labels do you carry that you feel are false because they do not
describe who you really are? How do people use these labels to benefit themselves or to destroy your
Do you find yourself using them as a framework of reference for your behavior?
For example, are you quiet around people who think you're bossy so they won't be able to accuse you
of trying to boss?
Does your inhibited behavior make it easier for them to superimpose their private agendas over the
direction the group should take? Can you let their views inhibit you and still meet the group's needs?

May 8
Three Options for Relating
"God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did
understand, that did seek God." Psalm 53:2.
At a recent writer's meeting the listeners critiqued what I had read from the April section of
this book. Several people commented that they didn't understand it. For awhile I was baffled by that
majority opinion. How could something so obvious as the indulgent MOM-SON relationship be so
foreign to them? Knowing how prevalent it is in society, I could only conclude that people live their
lives unaware of the dynamics they are acting out daily. This blindness also happens in the relating
process that forms the self-concept. Let us consider three options for dealing with the daily barrage of
misinformation that misshapes our lives unawares.
First, we can simply believe whatever people tell us about who we are. Good or bad, true or
false, we assume it is so. This allows others to control us by bossing us or getting rid of us. Thus, if
one says I'm stupid, I suppose that I am. I look to the person smart enough to notice my stupidity and
ask him to tell me what I should do, so I won't do something stupid. More willing to control me than
to control himself, he responds and tells me how to run my life. If another says that I'm ugly and that
the sight of me makes him sick, I believe him. I put that lie in control of my reasoning process and do
all I can to stay out of his way, so he won't get sick and I won't risk being embarrassed by his rude
remarks. He controls me by getting me to feel guilty about who I am. As he gets rid of me, I blame
my ugliness for his rejection.
Our second option is to disagree with whatever others tell us and assume they're wrong,
hoping to prevent others from controlling our behavior. If one says, "It's black," I say, "No, it's white."
If one says "it's right," I say "it's wrong." People, especially teenagers, use this option to establish
independence and maintain control over their own lives, though it does neither. It leads to argument,
rebellion, discord, and other self-defensive behaviors. People who use it become very skilled at
disagreeing and develop very disagree-able personalities. While their opposition feigns freedom of
opinion, they respond to the control of anyone who states a view. The least remark made to them can
trigger a fit of self-defensive, argumentative behavior. Such people risk becoming ugly despite their
desire to be likable and attractive. Their reactions sidetrack them from the business of loving one
another to the heaping of guilt upon others to defend themselves.
Our third option is to view people's behavior as evidence of who they are. We can learn to see
their misbehaviors as symptoms of their own problems needing to be solved. As we learn to discern
which problems cause their misbehaviors, we can stop heaping guilt on them or on ourselves, and
start loving in ways that meet their needs. Just as physicians treat the sick, we professional lovers
need to love the loveless.
Lord, teach me the truth about who I really am in Jesus. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

List some opinions you hold about yourself.

Who or what influenced you to add them to your self-concept?
Do these opinions match the truth you know about yourself?
Do you believe people's opinions of you even if you know they don't know the truth about you?
Do you enjoy having people assume good things that are not true about you?
Or do you feel obligated to correct them, even though the issues are none of their business and you
have to divulge private information to do so?
Have you tried viewing what they say as descriptions of who they are rather than who you are?
Can you give them the right to be wrong and resist revealing facts they're unable to handle?
Would you prefer that people not state careless opinions about you?
Do you think others might feel that way about your opinions of them?
Do you ever play dumb to let people think they have control over you?
Do you value the security of another's control more than your individuality and freedom?
Do you let people control you by forcing you to answer questions you don't need to answer?
Do some people seem to have the ability to draw you into arguments frequently?

May 9
"And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man
said unto Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight." Mark 10:51.
I return to the young man's front door labeled with "Thou shalt not commit adultery." I know
he can neither see nor apply this promise to his boxed-in state. Following the steps of Jesus, I knock
on the front door and call to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Leave me alone!" races
ahead of his footsteps toward the door, but I stay and wait to grab an open door of opportunity to
bring him light. Suddenly I'm standing before him, collecting his misunderstandings. He concludes,
"I'm so confused. I don't understand how to love." Sunlight hitting the labels on the inside of the front
door reveals my task. His OUT FRONT behavior calls for me to REPROVE with Reason and show him why
his attempts to love abort before they can form loving partnerships.
REPROVE what? The sign says Guilt. Must I tell him that he's guilty, that his problems are all
his (or someone's) fault, and that adults need not expect love until their self-esteem reaches a level
that will attract people to meet their demands? No. His entire upbringing has revolved around
pulling guilt upon himself and pushing it upon others. He has not learned to process guilt in ways
that remove it. He may deal with it by allowing people to punish him for the guilt they project upon
him. Or he may insist that he has none, while he finds ways to transfer his guilt to others.
Over and over his DAD had disguised his inability to love him by using disapproval of his
deeds as reasons to withhold approval and love. Guilt had been his daily companion during
childhood. He had attributed the love he did not win to the blame he got for his supposedly wrong
deeds and grew accustomed to feeling guilty. That guilty feeling, as we know, combines failure to win
approval with fear of rejection and loss of love. When he was groomed by MOM to become a demand
maker and supply her with affection, he found himself behaving just as DAD had treated him. He
projected the guilt he felt for his own deficiencies at her. He rejected both the truths she taught and
the lies by which she sought affection. Despite her efforts to gain affection he withheld it from her.
Even after his parents corrected their behavior toward him, his orientation to relating in the
context of guilt continued to influence his behavior. It led him to devise a system of relating that
would that satisfy his demands. Now his SON designation, which to DAD had meant Star Our Name
and to MOM had meant Supply Our Needs, takes on a personal meaning for himself--Satisfy Own
Needs. He will trust none for anything. He will control and manipulate to make sure he gets what he
wants. And if he doesn't, it won't be his fault. Before we explore his system, we'll see what happens
in the mind of a person that moves him from a child willing to love and to be loved, to an adult
absorbed in pursuing selfish interests.
Lord, have I crossed the boundary from childhood into adulthood as a lover or a self-absorbed
controller? Help me to see Your loving will for me. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

We know when we feel guilty. Can we learn to relate without giving or getting guilty feelings?
Does low self-esteem cause you problems in relating? How does self-esteem link to your self-worth?
Do you measure self-worth by how much love you gain, thinking: "If I were worth more, Id get more
You may work to increase self-worth and win more love, but fail to get more love. Why? Your lovers
have none, but lead you to think some wrong you did drew their disapproval, which justifies their
rejection and warrants their withholding of love.
Summarize. You read someone's refusal to love as disapproval of you or what you did; you react by
feeling guilty, fearing you did something wrong that caused disapproval, which justified their
rejection and refusal to love you. This feeling feeds fear that since you fail at winning love, you must
not be worth much. You esteem your self-worth to be low. You lose the courage to try to love. You fall
under others control and meet demands.
Can you see how solving the supposed "self-esteem" problem involves ceasing to "feel guilty" when
others do not love and learning to love them as needed?

Mistake of the Mind
"Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly." Hebrews
The emotional escalator of feeling guilty seems to run a one-way fast track into the cellar of
despair. It leaves its victim the task of worming his way back to the light of God's forgiving love, only
to repeat the descent each time the old memory is triggered. Is this the way God intended for our
good conscience to operate? Or has an enemy scheme turned our conscience into a cruel tyrant and
sold us into slavery to it? Words cannot fully capture the painful tyranny of a miseducated
conscience. While designed to promote our well-being, conscience can become such a formidable
enemy that some will choose to surrender life rather than face it.
What is the conscience? The prefix con- means "with" and science means "to know". In
common language conscience describes the aspect of the mind that matches what I do with what I
know. I need it to monitor my behavior to make sure my body does what my mind knows it has
ordered to be done. To keep the behavior in line with the decisions, the healthy conscience works in
harmony with the will, which directs the decision-making activities. Note a simple example. I decide I
need to use a pen, but absent-mindedly I pick up a knife instead of a pen. My conscience signals
error. I ask, Now what will I do? I transfer the matter to my will to review it and make a new
decision. I decide I will set the knife down and purposely pick up the pen. The error is corrected, no
guilty feelings invade my thought processes, and my being continues on with doing what I know I
have in mind.
My conscience serves as a useful tool as long as I use it to match what I do with what I know.
But when I stop looking to God as my source of love and commit spiritual adultery by transferring my
hope for love to a person, I make a bad mistake. I reason that if I match what I do with what that
person knows, then he or she will approve of what I do and give me love.
I carefully reason out my first attempt to please this targeted lover: get concert tickets! But
my lover disapproves of my idea, so my conscience, now using the lover's behavior as its standard,
says error. My will power acts to decide what I'll do to correct it: give candy. When that deed nets
no love, I fear that deed also met disapproval, and error sounds again. Again I decide what I will do
to match what my lover knows: give flowers, etc. Each new decision and deed fail to win love and
are thus labeled error by my conscience. At last I reach a point at which I can no longer reason out a
response. When error sounds, I try to decide I will ...I will...I will...but I've tried everything. Nothing
works. My power to will is broken and my ability to respond is shattered. With no new way to silence
the error alarm, I suffer the ongoing static of the "feel guilty" fear that my wrong deed will bring me
rejection and loss of love. My mistake of the mind has wrecked my reasoning power and broken my
will power. I find no way to win my "lover's" approval or silence the mental "feel guilty" static.
Lord, am I feeling guilty because others do not love me? Keep me from letting their problems and
their inability to love incapacitate my mind. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Does your conscience help or hinder you in life?

Is it educated to match what you do with what you do know, so you can make decisions based on
what you know you need to do? Does what you know match with what God's law of love teaches?
Or does your conscience harass you with guilty feelings over what you may have done (but don't
know you did) to someone who acts offended by you? Can you act wisely on what you don't know?
Has your upbringing miseducated your conscience to sound ERROR when others disapprove of you?
Have you made the mistake of the mind by trying to match what you do with what others "know" in
the hope of pleasing them and winning their love? Have you tried everything to no avail?
Do you feel guilty because you can't get the people to love you? Do they have any love to give?
Do they disapprove to keep you trying to meet their demands, so they can feel "loved" by you?
Is God a better Source of love than disapproving people?
Do they need to learn how to gain God's love to meet their needs before they can love you? Can you
help them?

PassIon Takes Control
"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward
Acts 24:16.
When the will power is broken and the reasoning process grinds to a halt and guilty feelings
static our peace of mind, strange changes occur in the way we relate. We stop attending to loving
others and start suspecting their motives and moves toward us. We preoccupy our minds with their
imagined offences toward us and wonder what accusations of wrong they are collecting against us to
justify their apparent evil, even if we know that we are breaking no laws of love in relating to them.
Such evil thinking takes its toll. It drains our energies and diminishes our efforts to help them. Our
love offense flags until the false accusations of wrong we feared they'd make, actually find a basis of
fact in our behavior.
Likewise we reverse our focus in our relationship with God and begin feeling guilty over the
awful accusations we imagine He is directing at us, even though we know that his thoughts toward us
are "thoughts of peace, and not of evil" Jeremiah 29:11. These imagined evils of God provide the
reasons we seek to be angry and to withhold our love from God because He hasn't forced our "lovers"
to love us. Such preoccupations block our minds from caring about how we are treating God and
man. Acts 24:16 counsels, "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of
offence toward [not from] God, and toward [not from] man." The work of my conscience is to match
what I do with what I know, not to monitor what God or my fellowmen do or to measure how offensive
they are toward me. I'm not told to feel guilty about others' behavior toward me. Nor need I absorb
myself in "feeling guilty" about my own behavior, since Jesus invites me to receive His gift of
repentance and His power to change when I feel sorry.
When we discard reasoning, negative passions can take control over our behavior. Instead of
using reason to correct our mistakes and improve our relations, we adjust to what lust demands of us.
We may say, "I'm all done trying to figure out how to please you. I'll do exactly (or exactly opposite
of) what you say and if it doesn't work out, (and I know it won't), it will be your fault, not mine. I'm all
done feeling guilty." In this mode passion, not reason, controls me. My circumstances and people's
opinions now determine what is right for me. If I approve of their control, I feel happy. If I don't, I get
angry and pass-I-on the blame to others for what goes against my desires. I soon discover that my
anger triggers fear of rejection and causes people to step aside and let me have my way. My powerful
influence gives me high self-esteem. In my folly I feel great. I'm sitting on top of the world. From this
exalted view the kingdoms of the world and their glory are mine. What gives me this guilt-ridden,
worldly kingdom over which Satan, the prince of guilt, presides? We shall soon see.
Lord, I see that "feeling guilty" and selfish passion are not innocent pastimes, but parts of the
enemy's larger plan. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Do you pay more attention to the evil that people may think of you than to the evil suspicions and
accusations that you formulate about them in your own thoughts?
Do you know any who are angry at God because of misfortune, but who refuse to be comforted?
Do they use misfortune to justify their refusals to submit to God's known will for their lives?
Do you use anger to justify your disobedience to God or your oppression of others?
Have you moved from reasoning to passion in your relationships?
Does saying that you won't take the blame anymore actually free you from silently feeling guilty?
Or is it really just an angry comment about the fact that you are bothered by guilty feelings?
Can you become free from either guilty feelings or actual guilt by pushing blame on others?
Are you quick to blame others when plans don't work out as you had planned?
Does it upset you to get blamed for what you did not do?
Do you use anger to gain the upper hand over others in the family, at work, or in meetings?
Do you enjoy the feeling of apparent power that accompanies anger? Actual power is measured by
how much self-control we exercise, not by how much passion we display to intimidate others.

Do I Shed Innocent Blood?
"These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven ....a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that
shed innocent blood.." Proverbs 6:16, 17.
Blood is priceless when one's life depends upon it. On May 12, 1964, my husband endured
many long hours of open heart surgery to replace a damaged aortic valve. Hours later intensive care
staff kept him closely supervised. As he lay on an icy cold mat with tubes of every description
connected to him, he was quietly but surely internally bleeding. A solemn anxiety pervaded the
waiting room. The surgeon reviewed his options for dealing with the crisis. They had no more AB+
blood donors in the area to replace lost blood. People had been dispatched to get some from another
city. After that exhausting surgery, could his weakened condition endure an emergency surgery to
find the problem and stop the bleeding? No simple answer emerged from the many complexities
involved. I had one more option. I slipped away to the hospital chapel and placed him before God's
throne of grace and pleaded for the Lord's help until the peace of answered prayer came over me.
Not long afterward the doctor reported to us that the bleeding had stopped. He had no explanation,
but I knew that God had intervened where priceless blood was being needlessly, dangerously shed.
God had met that crisis with His healing power and saved his life.
All around us people are losing their innocent blood from a malady more threatening than the
current Ebola virus epidemic. All of us have felt the pain of its consequence--guilt, but few of us are
aware of the reason that resides behind the guilty feelings. The reason for this epidemic of guilty
feelings is the third sin that God hates: "hands that shed innocent blood".
As I stand at the open OUT FRONT door labeled REPROVE with Reason pointing out that "hands
that shed innocent blood" cause guilt, that role of this third sin is not readily apparent to our young
man. He sees no connection between his disappointing relationships and hands that shed innocent
blood and his guilty feelings. But he does not understand the dynamics of the behavior cycle that
operate in control-or-be-controlled relationships. We shall spend a few days unraveling this complex
For now let us examine the term "hands that shed innocent blood". While it can be viewed
from many angles, we shall use it mainly as an expression to describe the practice of pushing blame
or guilt upon others for the failure that plagues our own plans. Perhaps you know the feeling of
supposing that all your bases are covered only to find that someone made the unexpected mistake
that spoils your plan. With clenched fists and through clenched teeth you say, "If I could just get hold
of ___, I'd wring that person's neck with my bare hands." But wait! Is it innocent blood? How shall we
deal with the problem of projecting guilt that blame poses in partnerships?
Lord, may I not forget that it cost Your innocent blood to remove the guilt that our hands cast upon
one another. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Perhaps you had a medical miracle or tragedy in your family that has taught you the value of innocent
blood. You may want to be grateful again for the way God sustained you in that crisis.
Recall a time when your plans were wrecked because someone failed to do the right thing on time.
Was it because you gave responsibility to someone who lacked the skill or the will to do the job?
Did you take responsibility for appointing the person to do the task? Is the erring one innocent?
If he lacked the skill, didn't you err in appointing him? Without skill, how could he fix it?
If he couldn't or wouldn't, did you take responsibility for the error and fix it?
Blame is an expensive luxury few can afford, especially when doing so holds you hostage to
incompetence: When you place blame, you give responsibility for your business over to the one you
blame...and lose control over that issue to that person.
While you wait for the blamed to fix the problem, it may not occur to you that you could save time,
resources, and mental energy by taking responsible action to fix it yourself.
What needs did your person's error show he has? How did you respond to his needs? with love?
Or with anger? Did the incident enable both of you to grow in responsibility?

Integrity's True When Be = Do
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." I John 3:18.
Samson was a mighty man. If anyone should have been able to match what he does with
what he knows to be good, it would be him. His parents had direct divine counsel in rearing him. He
knew the might of the Spirit of God in his life. God used him to perform some mighty exploits against
the enemies of Israel. As long as Samson's conscience was guided by divine principles in matching
what he did with what he knew, God gave him ample strength to do what he knew was God's will.
The mistake of the mind overtook him when he turned from God's will to Delilah's wiles. What
she knew became the operating base for his conscience. He turned his mind away from God's
empowering commands. He tuned his conscience to accept her terms for love, and exercised his will
power to meet her demands until his will power was broken. His reasoning power wrecked, he let
passion rule his behavior. Judges 16 details how he was shorn of his power and imprisoned.
When we lean for love on someone who has none, we get none. We may determine to love
anyway. We know the process: as I think love, I will speak love, then do the loving I say, thus be a
lover. When think, speak, do, and be cooperate in loving, our integrity thrives. But in practice we
confront a problem: reality. I may think "spend money" and speak "spend money", but if I have no
money to spend, I cannot DO "spend money". If I cannot DO any spending, I cannot BE a money
spender. In that regard the same is true with love as with money. What I think and say matters little
if I cannot do what I say or be who I claim to be. Without a source of love, without Jesus, I cannot DO
loving, so I cannot BE a lover.
Integrity requires that what I do match what I claim to be. But if my attempts at winning
approval and love are failing, don't use what I do (or fail to do) to describe me to my desired lovers. I
fear that if people know I'm failing at loving, they won't love me at all.
My failures to win love
threaten my self-worth so much that I opt to split my personality down the middle between my BEING
and my DOING, as I say, "I want you to love me for who I am, not for what I do." I deny that my doing
reveals who I am being, partly because I lack a good way to integrate doing and being in relating.
By removing our DOING role from our definitions of who we are, we erase the meaning from
our role labels. Can you imagine a lover who does not love or a teacher who does not teach? To love
you is to relate who I am in the context of your need by saying and doing what I can to help you. If I
DO nothing, I can BE nothing of value in relating to your needs. How do people deal with such a
Lord, without You I can do nothing. I'm glad You never leave me, so I need not be without you or try
to do anything without You. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Are you prone to lean on some person to bring you love and buoy your joy?
If you do not gain the love you seek, how does your attitude change toward pleasing that person?
Do you find yourself growing low on love?
In what ways do you find that saying you love someone is easier than doing it?
In what ways do you find that doing loving things is easier than saying loving words? Why?
Is saying you love someone more binding than merely doing a loving thing for that person?
Does doing good seem to carry less risk of being rejected than the words about love do?
Do you avoid saying you love because it seems to commit you to meeting demands that you cant or
won't meet? Do you feel uncertain about how to blend the saying and the doing into covenant love
Is DOING a loving thing less important than speaking love or vice versa?
Can you see the need to include all four elements--think, speak, do, and be--in the building of
covenant love partnerships?
Whom must we include in our relationships if we want love partnerships to develop?

View Deeds to Discover Needs
"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22.
Survival in our society requires that we have love to sustain us. Until we find God's free love,
we look for others to love us. Knowing they too need love, we present ourselves as lovers. Afraid that
what we do will contradict our claim, we launch a two-pronged campaign to create a loving image.
We publicize the good deeds we do to prove that we qualify to be lovers, while we privatize our
unloving behaviors to avoid rejection. We forget that the "private room" of our lives is where we dress
or prepare for relating in the "talk rooms" of our partnerships. What we do privately forms the basis
for what we do in public. Conflicts between what we do and who we claim to be cannot be solved
merely by what we say in the "talk rooms".
We opt for repeating, "I want to be loved for who I am, not for what I do." until its mere
repetition wins it status as a majority opinion synonymous with right. Those who "buy" it as right
become sold on removing the role that doing has with being in building integrity. It then appears
wrong to relate what people do with who they are. The role of behavior in achieving integrity is
scorned. The essence of meaningful love is drowned in deceit, and we seek new ways to define when
we are loving and being loved. We lose our awareness of countless opportunities around us to
practice our profession as need-meeting lovers. Meeting needs loses its appeal. Worse yet, the
devaluing of what we do makes people feel that doing need-meeting deeds is degrading, drudgery or
undeserved punishment.
Despite all efforts to disguise, the deceit does not destroy the reality. We still know that
people's unloving deeds cancel the value of their loving words. But we use a double standard: the
rules we use do not match the rules we demand others to use. Our own gap between our words and
deeds leads us to suspect the honesty of the love others speak. We watch for the least gap between
who they claim to be and what they do. "Aha!" we say, "we caught you lying. Since you falsely claim
to be a lover, is your love fake? Prove your love if you hope to be loved by us."
The idea of loving by using what we do have to help those who need us, is foreign. Since
what people do signals their needs, we need to weigh what they do as much as, if not more than, who
they claim they are, so we can love wisely. We must not bury our love in battles over who's right or
wrong, accepted or rejected. We need not act as thought "police" who think that "wrong" people
must be attacked not aided, hurt not healed, condemned not corrected, ridiculed not reconciled,
destroyed not delivered.
I had nearly finished this page of thoughts and words when the electric power went off and
erased my unsaved essay. I had failed to do the deeds that preserve the value of my words. But I
was neither done nor "done for", merely wiser. I wrote this new page. Let us view deeds to discover
needs not dirt, then heed our need to love.
Lord, I'm glad that in You our "say" can match our "do". Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Do you conceal needs you feel and deficiencies you have so people will "love" you?
Do you really want people to love you in a need-meeting context or do you want them to idolize who
you are and meet your demands?
Why do you avoid revealing your negative behaviors?
Is it because people lack understanding about how to deal wisely with them?
How do you handle your mistakes?
Do you feel guilty and hide them or feel angry and blame others?
Or do you look to God to empower you to feel sorry and fix them?
Do you let people God has trained in loving help you?
Is it wise to publicize your problems? Or is it better to relate privately with people who have passed
your "chat mat" test by showing they know how to deal wisely with problems like yours?
We help people mind their business by making it our business to talk only with people who have the
wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in our area of need to help us solve our problems.

How Personalities Split
"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. ..The way of the wicked is as
darkness: they know not at what they stumble." Proverbs 4:14, 19.
The word, wicked, in the verse above raises our resistance. We use it to describe people, such
as the witch of "Snow White", who do the worst of the horrible that happens. We do not like it as a
label for ourselves. "Wicked" derives from a word meaning morally wrong. The derivation of its
primary root means to be or do or declare wrong. The warning above shows we face the danger of
entering the path of the wicked where the darkness of ignorance traps lost people into walking circles
in the world's wilderness of wrong. They neither know what's causing them to stumble and fall nor
understand how to break out of the world's deadly cycle.
I Corinthians 13:1-3 sheds light on our worldly position. Though I speak angelic words,
without love I am meaningless noise. Though I think loving things, without love I am nothing. Though
I burn out doing apparently loving deeds, without love I gain nothing. Without love what we say and
think and do have equal value. But how much? Zero. Integrity, which matches what we say and do
with what we claim to be, grows when we address our need to permeate our being and saying and
doing with love. Without love we cannot rise above the zero level of integrity. No amount of walking
the path of the wicked will foster integrity.
What is our dilemma? We need a source of love to fuel our efforts to love. If we fail to let God
provide that love, we fall into earning love from others by meeting demands. Our efforts achieve
little, and we tire of trying to earn love from them by what we do. We hate even having to earn love
that we feel should be given to us freely because of who we are.
The urge we feel to split our personality between our doing and being so we can be "loved for
who we are not what we do" has given rise to two fractured personality types: the be-ers and the doers. Some occasionally say, "I am a human BEING, not a human DOING." These two groups, be-ers
and do-ers, form the basis for the style of relating that composes the path of the wicked or the
unloving. We'll zero in on a conversation between Les, a be-er, and Lena, a do-er.
Les begins, "Lena, I have a problem. I know how to BE a loving person who always says the
right thing, but I can't get what I DO match who I claim to be."
"I have that problem in reverse," Lena confides. "I know I say and do what's right because I
always agree with you, and do just what you say. But for all my efforts, I can't BE the somebody I'd
like to be."
"I know," Les offers. "Let's unite our efforts. I'll BE the lover you need, if you DO what I think
and say is right. United with me, you'll BE somebody as I am, and we will have the corporate integrity
of a couple whose Be = Say = Do."
Lord, give me a clear understanding of which behaviors are wicked despite how common they have
become in society. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

How limited is your definition of wicked? Do you call moral violations of the law of love wicked?
Can you see how passing generations have narrowed our definition of this word?
In your opinion which of these immoral behaviors is wicked: dishonoring parents? murder? adultery?
stealing? lying? coveting? How do you classify the other immoral behaviors?
How much do the opinions of society influence your definitions?
Has society's arguing about the right or wrong of these behaviors in the darkness of ignorance of
God's law of love, trivialized their significance in our thinking?
Do you know people who are more dominantly be-ers than doers and vice versa?
Do the "Be-ers" you know have to BE right? Do they tend to insist that others do as they say?
Do the "Do-ers" you know try to DO as they're told in the hope that they will earn the right to BE
somebody? Which do you tend to be? Do you switch roles from be-er to do-er as you relate to
various people?
Do Les and Lena have worth-based or need-based self-concepts?
At what point are Les and Lena likely to fall out of relationship?

Favors As Tools of FORCE
"Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts."
Proverbs 19:6.
Last evening Les and Lena discovered each other. Awed by their marvelous coincidence of
meeting, they matched eyes. Though each was looking for needed love, both supposed they saw the
love they needed in the eyes of the other. Today Les is ready and Lena is waiting for him to initiate
their union with a favor.
The very act of choosing Lena to love him is the favor he offers her. After all, he is a prince in
her eyes, and she will surely BE somebody when she becomes united with him. But the union is only
partly completed by his offer. It won't be complete until she also does him the favor of doing what he
demands of her.
While favors may be good or evil, for many people the favor is the string that brings them
together under the yoke of bondage. It has amazing force in binding people. While often invited, it
needs no invitation to initiate the first move. One merely has to drop a favor like a lasso over
someone, whether or not it is wanted. When whatever favor it is, is accepted, the string attached to
it becomes the tie that binds the receiver in obligation to the giver. Thus the favor becomes a tool of
FORCE: The acronym of FORCE means Favors Obligate Recipients, Compel Exchange.
The language of the favor sounds like this: "I don't owe you anything, but after I show you
favor or do this favor for you, then you will owe me whatever I decide to ask of you. If you try to
refuse, my partner, Feel Guilty, will visit you and force you to do as I say. You'll conform so you can
feel you did right and avoid my rejection, loss of favor, and withdrawal of my love." The unsolicited
favor succeeds because people fear to arouse disapproval by failing to conform to others' demands.
They must do what seems right, so they can be right and expect to be loved.
But Les means no harm. While he is serving self, his love, though unspoken, is "beyond
question." Don't ask if he loves; read it in his flattery. Lena's the perfect girl for him, flawless, the
best he has met. He warns her that she mustn't disappoint him, as he showers her with his flattery.
He cannot do well without her.
Lena responds with fear. Negative fear that she may fail to meet his high expectations moves
her to do her best to win his approval. Positive fear (anticipation) that he will love her when she
meets his demands, focuses her energies upon rewarding his flattery. She's glad to feel and BE so
special. She wants so badly to have his opinion of her be true that she grants him the honor of being
right in her eyes. She agrees to do what he says so she can be right in his eyes. Her decisions
position him as a demand-maker and her as a demand-meeter. Tools they learned to use as children
now form the shaky basis of their new adult partnership.
Lord, may I not use the favor to try to force You into meeting my demands. Please meet the needs
You see in me. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Don't be surprised if this content annoys you. As we remove the comfortable wrappings from our old
behaviors that we feel right about doing, we see flags fly up to warn us that life as we know it is
under attack. It may seem that what you read is at cross purposes with what you view as right. But
please stay with me, as we study the dynamics that diminish our freedom to love one another.
Recall some instances when people have flattered you. Did you feel deserving of it?
Did you want to correct their flattery with facts, or did you like them to consider you as special?
Did you place more value on their opinions after the flattery than before?
Did you do more to win their favor(s)?
Did you succeed in pleasing them? Did they reward you?
Does the practice of depending on people to judge your behavior hinder your freedom to govern your
life by principles not opinions?
Think of occasions when you have used flattery. What happened?
What roles do flattery and fear have in your partnerships? To what does flattery of self lead? See
Psalm 36:2-4.

The Guilt Cycle
"Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!" Habakkuk 2:12.
The relationship that Les and Lena begin is one of many like it that build our town with blood
and establish our cities by iniquity. Their favor-driven partnership will engender endless guilt caused
by their busy "hands that shed innocent blood". Unwilling to live in harmony with God's will by His
grace, they choose to establish their union by iniquity. They turn their focus from God, as did Eve,
and plant their hope for love in each other. Instead of using God's law of love to define good and evil,
they have agreed to use Les' opinions of right and wrong to control the conscience and will of each.
In doing so they make the mistake of the mind that will destroy will power, halt reason, and place
selfish passion, not God, in control of them. Thus they begin a partnership that will cycle them
through four guilt-producing stages.
We shall call this relating pattern the 2-D Guilt Cycle of Passion and Pain. Without God to
empower 3-dimensional covenant love relationships, many choose this Demand-maker and Demandmeeter (2-D) union that's formed by the binding strings they attach to favors. We represent this
union with the spinner that moves each through opposite parts of the cycle. The circular Guilt Cycle
has an above-sea-level Passion side and a below-sea-level Pain side. As Les, the demand-maker,
works through his Passion FACT stages, he draws Lena, the demand-meeter, through her Pain FACT
stages that move her through the Sea of Guilt. The Passion FACTs are Flatter, Accuse, Condemn, and
T.R.A.S.H. The Pain FACTs are Fear, Accept/Apologize, Conform, and Treasure. Please study the Guilt
Cycle diagram to become familiar with it.
Flatter and Fear set the first stage of the cycle that Les and Lena began yesterday. Les
delights in flattery as a powerful tool. By using it he has gained his Demand-maker status. He can BE
somebody important to Lena. Flattery holds Lena to a standard of perfection that Les will often use to
chide her and challenge her to do better, as he dips her in and out of the Sea of Guilt to force her to
try. He even flatters himself to believe that if Lena can win his approval and earn his love, he will be
easily able to love her. But of course we know that he has no unselfish love.
Unaware that "A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet." Proverbs 29:5,
Lena follows his lead in Fear. She knows she's not perfect; already his flattery provokes guilt in her
over her inevitable future failures. Still she plants her hope for love in her idol Les. Conditioned to
behave as though fear prevents guilt, in fear she does all she can to win his loving approval, and
she avoids anything that may trigger a frown. She struggles to get her perfect performance good
enough to earn the love he has promised her. Les is secretly pleased by her demand-meeting efforts,
which he sees as evidence of her deep love for him. Still he limits his approval to match the amount
of flattery he has on hand to reward her works. But Lena needs love. While she tries to love, she tries
even harder to get love from Les by meeting his demands. Will she tire of this futile exercise? When
and who will push this cycle from stage F to stage A? The next three stages will be discussed in the
months ahead.
Lord, I see the dangers ahead in demand-making and demand-meeting. Help me to understand how
to avoid running in the guilt cycle. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

As you try to build partnerships, are you shedding innocent blood by projecting blame on others?
What happens when a responsible person has a failure? Does that automatically make him
Should responsible people be blamed when things go wrong? If responsible, aren't they innocent of
blameworthy wrongdoing? Then do we blame irresponsible people for wrecking projects?
Should not the one responsible for assigning tasks to irresponsible workers take responsibility for the
If he does, then doesn't that leave the one who erred innocent of blame? Who then is left to blame?
Is blame a futile, nonproductive exercise? Isn't the real question in crises, "Who has the response
ability to understand the need and provide a solution? Do we grow in response ability, as we learn to
respond with solutions, not blame?
Does fear of getting blamed hinder our response ability?
Did Jesus merely bear blame for sin or show response ability to solve the sin problem?

Guilt Free at Calvary
"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word."
Psalm 119:9.
We have stood beside the open door labeled REPROVE with Reason reproving guilt which is
caused by the hands that shed innocent blood. It is not easy to hear that the guilt we put on others is
really our own, since we ourselves put it on them. But our boxed-in young man listens and learns we
can't dip our hands in the pail of guilt to smear it on others without coating ourselves with it. Not
until we are willing to take responsibility for our blaming behaviors can we hope to change them.
Wouldn't you be glad if you never again had to blame anyone for any wrongdoing against you?
Wanting to deny responsibility for his guilt-laden state, our young man turns for another look
into his boxed-in life. This time the light streams through his box to its OUT BACK door. It brushes aside
the sense of shame that had usually hovered foglike over his guilt-laden conscience and kept him
from confronting his guilt head first. CORRECT with Obedience shows on the door, but he notices the
cross traced on it. Twice before he'd been taken OUT BACK in memory to view Calvary in the context of
his need for correction. But now Calvary seems to be rushing its way into his presence, as an officer
of the law rushes upon the scene of the crime. He felt caught red-handed with the guilt of innocent
blood upon him. In a flash all the guilt that he had ever pressed upon others seemed compressed into
a huge weight that was now crushing the life from Jesus. But his own guilt seemed no lighter because
of it. The coins of blame and guilt collected since his birth seemed too heavy to carry and too
disturbing to drop. He would have fled, but he saw no way out. Now he had none to hide behind or
blame. A voice riveted him to the scene. "Woman, behold thy son!" John 19:26.
As suddenly as salvation he saw it. Jesus, the Officer of His own divine law, was on an urgent
mission to fulfill that law. With authority to take away people's ill-gotten guilt saved up over a
lifetime, Jesus was entering his territory to meet him at his point of need. Why should he resist
giving himself up to One committed to removing his guilt and granting him freedom and power to live
within His law. Such freedom from guilt in Jesus was far better than being under the debt of guilt that
he had collected under the law. Finally it made sense to him. He could not belong to Jesus and
remain guilty, for Jesus had taken away the sins of the world and had paid his penalty for his guilt on
Calvary. No longer need he rid himself of guilt by putting it on others. He'd recognize responsibility
for all his guilt, release his lifelong claim upon it, and give it up to his divine Lover who had paid for it.
How about you? Have you begun to join Jesus in lightening the burden of guilt this world
carries by letting Him remove yours?
Lord, I'm glad You meet us where we need You. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Have you ever been blamed for something you did not cause or do?
How did you feel?
Can you imagine what strength our sinless Jesus had to receive from God to voluntarily endure the
guilt and blame for all the sin that everyone has ever done or ever will do?
Is it harder to take the blame for things you've not done than for things you've done?
Doesn't this indicate that we accept the practice of blaming and shaming one another as long as we
"follow the rules" of the game?
Do we depend more upon social pressure to discipline behavior than upon the Spirit of God to give us
conviction of sin and repentance? How do you respond to others' mistakes?
Do you use blame to prove they don't deserve help and to excuse yourself from ministering to them,
or do you use love to invite them to be reconciled and aid in restoring their wholeness?
When we accept blame behaviors as "right", we find it harder to give up our own guilt.
Because we often do treat ourselves as we treat others, we think it's only "right" that we keep the
guilt we "deserve".

Behold Your Son!
"When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto
His mother, Woman, behold thy son." John 19:26.
Many speak of the love Jesus showed to His mother in choosing John to care for her, but
seldom do any note John's need for more discipling by someone who has a covenant relationship with
Jesus. Bits of insight into his life reveal that John's mother came to Jesus seeking top positions for her
sons. (Matthew 20:21.) His father, Zebedee, meaning giving, was a fisherman who watched his boys
leave his boat without offering resistance. (Matthew 4:22.) His "son of thunder" surname (Mark 3:17)
suggests that he may have roared his own will and used a stormy style of relating. He was willing to
punish people who rejected Jesus by consuming them with fire from heaven. (Luke 9:54.) This young
man, John, seemed prone to let passion overwhelm his reasoning. Perhaps his mother had groomed
him to BE somebody--a demand-maker with explosive behavior that frightened people into doing
whatever he said.
His own testimony shows his unceasing amazement that Jesus loved him. It seems as though
he could not fathom the incredible fact that despite his volatile personality and his mistakes of
passion, Jesus loved him. Wide eyes of wonder seem to accent his repeated references to himself as
the disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus knew that Mary could keep pouring loving understanding over
his mistakes as he kept growing in grace. John's own mother, also a follower of Jesus to the end,
would be glad for Mary's help in undoing her mistakes in his childhood training. The books of the
Bible written by John reveal a Spirit-guided man who eventually learned to love as Jesus loved him.
Let's behold our sons. How can we understand the passion that entraps them? How is
violence manifested by their hands that shed innocent blood? As people cycle through relationships
seeking for love, they demonstrate four seasons of passionate behaviors. First they spring the lying
of flattery on their targeted lover.
Next their hot-as-summer accusing anger exposes their
threatened hopes for love. Then fearing rejection from their targeted lover, they fall out of
relationship, and use hate to reject their lovers. Finally nursing their supposed icy sting of rejection,
they enter the icy winter of ridicule, wrapped in rude laughter, to devalue their rejected lovers. Such
unloving deeds serve not only to elevate the sons' "worth" by devaluing their lovers, but also to force
these victim-lovers to renew demand-meeting, so they can rebuild their worth and regain lost favor.
Lies, anger, hate, and ridicule all signal people's need for love. We dare not view these
behaviors as personal attacks upon us or refuse to relate in loving ways to people who exhibit them.
As God's professional lovers, we must watch for people whom God allows to "cross" us, as they cross
our paths. Then we can see their needs expressed in their loveless behaviors and dispense His love
to these unloving people who need it. We shall gain more understanding of these people, as we listen
to their behavior.
Lord, count me also as a disciple whom Jesus loves. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

When you consider the prices people place on their love, do you ever wonder how God could love you
so freely? Do you think of yourself as the person whom Jesus loves?
Or do you tend more to see yourself as the person whom someone has rejected?
As you train children, do you hold before them chances to love as well as to be loved?
Do you withdraw your love in an effort to help them?
If loving is meeting needs, can we truly meet any need by not loving?
Should they learn that we solve problems by rejecting people or by uniting with them to work out
In seeking love from people who have none, well observe them moving through the four-season cycle
of lying, anger, hate, and ridicule. We may encounter different ones at different seasons in the
Review your relationships to see if you can trace its pattern in their behavior or in yours.
Do you ever feel personally attacked or hurt by any lying, anger, hate, or ridicule?
Can you help people stop such behaviors and break this cycle without using evil tools to do so?

Beginner's Guide to Love
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5.
From the inspiration of Mt. Calvary we go to the instruction of Jesus' sermon on how to deal
with the mountain of guilt which erodes the unity that lovers prize. "Jesus, how can we deal with the
guilt-covered hands that shed our innocent blood by blaming us for their inability to love? How can
we escape injury from these unloving people without fleeing our responsibility to love them?"
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." The meek are God's mild-tempered
children who are willing to learn how to love to meet the needs people manifest. "The meek will He
guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way." Psalm 25:9. They view people's behaviors as
symptoms of their problems, not as personal attacks against themselves. Self under control, they
listen to whatever ways people use to explain their needs; thus they learn what it's like to be in
others' shoes. They think first to understand how to meet the needs they see. Then they speak or
act in ways that will meet those needs.
In the learning process they encounter four major signals of need: lies, anger, hate, and
ridicule. People use flattering lies to seek love because they lack the truth that God loves them
freely. Such need God's true love to meet their needs. People use anger when their source of love is
threatened. The angry need assurance that we are committed to sharing God's unending love with
them. People hate because they fear rejection is directed at them. "I hate you" says in effect, "I hate
it that you won't give me the love I need to empower me to love you." As darkness is the absence of
light, hate is the absence of love. Haters need God to survive: God is love. People ridicule to pass
on the sting of rejection they imagine theyve gotten from those who wont meet demands. Their
roaring laughter of ridicule devalues those they cant control. It lessens their sense of duty to love
them and dulls the pain of the losses they suffer. In their joyless laughter such need true joy, the joy
that comes from loving others as Jesus loves them. As the meek read these needs in others, they can
then do the deeds that meet them.
The Golden Rule is the beginner's guide to love. I need only treat people as I'd want to be
treated if I were in their shoes. Who decides what that treatment is? They or I? Only I can know how
I want to be treated. The Golden Rule sets me free to match what I do with what I myself know, not
with what they know. That corrects my mistake of the mind which resulted in a broken will, halted
reasoning, and thoughtless passion. What if they don't like my decisions? I view their behavior as
symptom of their problem and keep on loving by meeting the needs I see, not the demands I hear.
What is gold about the Golden Rule? It frees my conscience from others' control and restores the
decision-making power of my own will.
Lord, teach me to be meek and mild-tempered.

Send me to love the weak and wild-tempered.

How do today's concepts relate to you?

Does it seem rude to count others' behaviors as symptoms of THEIR problems?

Before it occurs to us that people have problems, we tend to count others' misbehaviors as personal
attacks, and we don't even notice that others struggle with problems of their own.
Have you had anyone take personal offense at your problems rather than listen?
Do you ever seek a listener and find a lecturer?
Do you yourself turn from listening to lecturing without conveying understanding first?
When we suffer a personal offense, we want sympathy and love.
Does it make sense to report an offense to someone who shows by his lying, anger, hate, and ridicule
that he has no love to give? Why not minister to him with Matthew 5:44?
Does he use lying flattery? Needs truth; lacks love. "Love your enemies," (those who have no love
for you.)
Does he make angry accusations? Needs assurance of love. "bless them that curse you,"
Does he use hate-filled condemnation or rejection? Needs love. "do good to them that hate
Does he use scornful ridicule (TRASHing)? Needs true joy of loving. "pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you:" Matthew 5:44.
Do you feel less guilty about not loving people when you can find reasons to ridicule and devalue

Meek Is Not Weak
"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10.
God's love never fails. On May 21, 1995, we joined a huge audience to witness the
commencement exercises for 2100 graduates at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. We went to
celebrate the climax of our son Steven's years of formal education. What joy it was to see the
bestowal of his Carnegie plaid hood accent the conferment of his Doctor of Philosophy degree in
Physics! His path to this seventh graduation of his has been marked with God's miracles from start to
finish. "There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken ..; all came to pass."
Joshua 21:45. On January 1 we noted his goal. Now we gladly celebrate his victory!
Since meekness shows a willingness to learn to love, and since learning and loving bring such
joy, why do we not seek to become meek? Do we think that meek is weak, or do we fear that the
casual observers will think that our meek is weak? Why do we offer control over our behavior to the
casual observers who have nothing to give us or gain from us? Free opinions, such as, "If I were you, I
would have stood my ground, told him off, set him straight, or whatever...", can be costly if they
inhibit us from using mild tempers to deal with wild tempers.
The person with whom we relate is the one with whom we must reckon. Suppose that one
who feels he is losing control of his source of love is manifesting anger at his lover. As he spues forth
anger, his lover listens to see what its like to be in his shoes and to discern what he needs and how to
meet it. The angry one tries his hardest to cause a reaction in her that lets him know he still controls
her at least enough to upset her. If she begins to cry or yell, his power is proved, and he's likely to
end his attack with, "Well, if that's the way you're going to act.." But if she maintains her mild
temper, listens to understand, and resists caving in to his desire to upset her, he will know that she is
not weak. Her meekness is a strength that he can not overthrow, and her love shows him he has no
need to do so. His anger can't injure her until she puts him in control of her behavior. He cannot walk
on her until he can get her down. Her meekness renders his anger ineffective and motivates him to
strive toward something better.
Despite all that, we cannot be meek on our own. We fear letting others who insist they're
right make us look wrong and thus undeserving of love. We feel compelled to live down to the world's
expectations. Well even do what we feel is wrong to avoid looking wrong in their eyes. Meekness is
a divine quality that God gives us when we pray, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." God's
will is that we love Him with heart, soul, mind, strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are
willing to be meek, willing to be made willing to learn to love, God will gladly empower His will to be
done in earth--and in us,---as it is in heaven.
Our Father, which art in heaven,... May Thy will that we love one another be done in earth, as it is in
heaven. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Recall a recent confrontation you had. Did the person try to get you angry? What response did you
How did the opinions of your casual observers affect you?
Did injury and misunderstanding result or did unity and understanding prevail?
Would you have responded with meekness had you been alone with your confronter?
Do you seek privacy when you are being confronted? when you are doing the confronting?
OUT BACK implies a private place where problems can be corrected (fixed, not faulted). Removing
potential for embarrassment in front of others makes it easier to focus on the issues. Mild, not wild,
tempered people help to reach calm solutions.
Do you ever turn up your anger to turn off misbehaviors or turn on apologies?
Which spirit works best: a) the spirit of fear causing them to "feel guilty", or b) the Spirit of God
causing them to feel sorry and seek correction?
Which one promotes unity and understanding?

God Empowers His Promises
"Man's goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24.
Since we began correcting the cause of guilt with Jesus' counsel, we have completed the first
two steps. 1) We have loved with all the heart by trusting His beatitude promise for the meek. The
cure for the violence of hands that shed innocent blood, behaviors that heap blame and guilt on
others, is to be meek or mild-tempered. Knowing that we ill-tempered people cannot just say "be
mild-tempered" and have it happen, Jesus invited us to pray, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in
heaven." 2) We have loved Him with all the soul as we prayed in hope that God will indeed cause His
will to happen in our relationships. But it is not enough to trust that He can give us mild tempers or
to ask that His will be done as He dwells in us. We need to love Him with all the mind.
"How can a man then understand his own way?" Our "goings are of the Lord". We gain
understanding as we agree to let His indwelling Spirit correct our misunderstandings. Listen to His
offer in Isaiah 1:18, 19: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be
as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If
ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:"
His call is timely. Our condition is grave. From head to toe we bear the pain of guilty wounds,
bruises, and sores caused by our sinsick, lovesick behavior. Caught red-handed while passing blame
and causing more people to feel sick with guilt, we are invited to a meeting of the minds with God.
He knows all about us. We need pretend nothing nor claim that self is righteous. Our Cycles of
Passion can breed only lust and violence and the guilty feelings that accompany them. To exchange
our scarlet and crimson sins for the snow-white wool of the Lamb of God, we must switch from the
passion mode of man to the reasoning mode of God. The death of Jesus does us little good if we
continue walking in the mindless guilt cycle of violent passion and reject His call to reason.
To love God with all our minds, we submit our will to Him. We agree to let Him fulfill His BEING
and DOING promises in us. Now we need the BEING promise, "Blessed [be] the meek", to transform us
from hot-tempered lusters to cool-tempered lovers. We need the DOING promise, "Thou shalt not
commit adultery," to empower us to do the loving that is needed anywhere on this earth without fear
of falling into selfish lusting. This seventh commandment promise does not narrow our love nor
restrict loving relations to one person. It guarantees our freedom to love all people--married, single,
old, young, male, female, black, white, and other--by empowering us to meet the needs that
accompany our roles. God excludes none from His love.
Lord, I choose what You have in mind to build my integrity and to bond me in loving unity with You
and all You love. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Are you sick of feeling guilty?

Are you tired of having your bad feelings rather than good reasoning dictate your behavior?
Do you spend time refining the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that God gives us, to activate
your reasoning power?
A sharp tool does a better job of cutting away the worthless without damaging what you value. Clear
principles of love refine the worthless from our relations without damaging the people God sends us
to love.
With whom do you indulge playful conversations and behaviors that border on lust?
God's promise guarantees His help in removing the lust and restoring His love in them.
As you scan your friendships, do you see how BEING meek would benefit them?
Do you see how DOING the loving thing without strings attached would lessen people's resistance to
having you "help" them?
To choose the DOING promise that sets you free to love everyone, you must believe that it's possible
to love without lusting and be willing to learn to love that way.

Legal Wills Bequeath Gifts
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:"
Thessalonians 4:3.

After my parents died in their 80's during the 1980's, the legal will described how the
inheritance they left would be shared among their four remaining children. The will did not contain a
list of demands to be made upon us. No phrases of "Do this or else you will be disinherited" appeared
in the document. Its purpose was to bestow good gifts unto their children. The essence of the
parental will was that "To the degree that our will can prevent it, thou shalt not need to sin [kill, steal,
lie, or covet] to live."
We knew of the will before their deaths, but we had no control over how the money could be
spent until their deaths fulfilled the conditions of the will that allowed it to be executed. When my
sister, the executor, completed her work in our behalf we received our gifts. Likewise, we know of
God's will for us and how the death of Jesus fulfilled the conditions of His will, so it could be executed.
But not until the Spirit of God, the divine executor of His will in us, is allowed to dwell within us and do
His work, will we gain the power needed to use the gifts which the words of His legal will promise to
us. The gifts, in a word, are love. God gives us His love through the ministration of His will, so we will
see no need to commit adultery or fornication in our mistaken efforts to find love. He wants us to
abstain from emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical adultery that would turn us away from God,
our First Lover. Loving God that He may equip us to love others, fortifies us against the lustful wiles of
the enemy.
Just as I could not spend my inheritance until I was given control over the funds, likewise I
cannot have the full use of the earth we inherit, until God's legal will is executed within me and
develops a meek spirit in me. To make full use of the earth we inherit, we need strong characters.
Strong character is measured not by the strength of passion, but by the strength of our will power and
our self-control.
During March, April, and May we have been building the blocks needed for strong will power:
faith that God can supply our needs by His love, hope that God's Spirit dwells within us and sheds
God's love abroad in us, and that very love so we can be free to think and do the loving things we
choose. Having been promised the inheritance of the earth, we will use the next three months to
develop the building blocks of self-control, so that we can maximize the use of our inherited earth.
In anticipation of our worldwide mission, God's Spirit begins by writing His commandment,
Thou shalt not commit adultery, in our minds and hearts. Now in Christ we stand equipped to think
love in our minds and to do love, as our hearts pump love's power into every member of our body for
each individual and corporate action.
Father, thank you for the loving gift of Your law, which is Your legal will, Your inheritance for me.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

What does the term, "strong-willed", suggest to you? Does it bring to mind a calm-tempered person,
who holds, not loses, his temper despite the misbehavior of others?
Does love for God or love for self develop the strongest will?
How would you respond if each of your children asked, "What is your will for me?"
Would you only give each a duty to perform--go to the store, clean your room, do your homework?
Why not try phrasing your will for them in the context of the gifts you would like to bestow upon
them, e.g., the ability to love wisely, the love for beauty in their environment, the knowledge that will
deepen their understanding of the earth they inherit from God, etc. As you express your will in the
context of God's plan to enrich their lives, they will learn to treasure your hope that they choose God's
will. They will learn to see each divine command as a good and perfect gift of God.
Think about it. Just what is your will for your child? your spouse? your parents? your friends?
Is your will for these people in harmony with God's will for them?
If it is, the covenant agreement that you and God share in their behalf will benefit them.

TRAIN within God's Family Circle
"All Scripture is...profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that
the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 NASB.
Our private OUT BACK counsel for CORRECTION with Obedience is complete. Since God's Spirit
has written His law of love within, the cross we lift within our minds and hearts now includes the
power of God's promise that "Thou shalt not commit adultery." We are ready to leave lust behind and
go forth to love. For a long, solemn moment we hesitate at the newly opened door through which the
ministry of Jesus has prepared us to walk. What we know in mind and heart must now be tested by
action. We need TRAINING in righteousness to put His promises to work. As we do what we think and
say, it will transform our behavior and build our integrity.
We look beyond our selfish box to a world of loveless people and wonder about our decision.
It would be so easy to let the door shut us back into our confining box and to make "comfort" our idol.
But having tasted of heaven's love via the words of Jesus, we know that only fear, not comfort, would
fill the gaps in mind and heart if we reject love's new light and choose guilt's darkness. So despite
our guilt-cycle notoriety, we novices at love move BACK IN to the world of loving one another.
We go, but not without misgivings. After such personal attention to our needs, must we now
be on our own? Suddenly we hear the Word behind us saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it..." Isaiah
30:21. As we turn to see what this way is, we view the outside of the back door pointing out to us the
fourth stage of growth which moves us BACK IN to loving relationship. TRAIN with Work gleams its
good news at us.
Beneath the labels we see the rainbow rings of covenant love in God's family circle. This time
three reflect color and the last four still await our future lessons. The first parent-child ring of violet
and the second teacher-student ring of indigo now have the third lover-friend ring of blue clasped
around them. These concentric circles all share a common center, Christ of the cross. Each is
weighted by one of the Ten Commandments that He fulfilled on Calvary and fulfills in our covenant
In our blue circle the Lover, who commits to love, and the Friend, who submits to love, unite
to gain understanding of God's unity with them in their partnership. The right to submit requires the
wisdom to submit only to another's commitment to love and to refuse submission to selfish demands.
The weight they place on valuing God's "Thou shalt not commit adultery" promise strengthens their
partnership and increases their valuing of His unity. While it warns them against the adultery that
wrecks unity, without the Work of grace that accompanies their training in valuing the law, the
warning would be useless to them. God's grace makes it work.
Lord, love me so I may center my friendships in You. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

In the privacy of our worship of God, we aspire to godliness, promise loyalty, pray for sinners, plead
for answers, and sing about service. But in the heat of the public eye, what we do and say may stray
from what we pray. Then we may come to regard our religion as a private exercise, not a public
witness of Gods power. If we refuse to let Gods love work to unite us with others, we in essence
replace His protecting promise, Thou shalt not commit adultery. with selfs version, Thou shalt not
commit. Period. Gods unity is a value we can not have if we wont share it with others.
Does your fear of having someone move you from being a target of flattery to a target of anger, hate,
or ridicule wreck your plans to include God in your partnerships?
Including God is not simply witnessing about Him. It is involving Him in the relating process.
When Two is company, threes a crowd, does one get crowded out or does Jesus in your midst bring
A god is any whom I let control my life, and depend upon for love. If I let you control me by your
demands so you will love me, then you, not God, become my source of love. Demand-makers control
others to get love, not give it. So Id get none. Thus, Id have no love to meet your needs or mine.
Since I cannot both love you AND meet your demands, I must choose which Ill do. God meets our
needs as we love, so I shall love you.
Is it easier to think love or to love? Can mere thinking of it suffice to achieve unity between friends
and lovers?

Formula for Debt-Free Loving
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1.
We cannot value what we do not know. What does it mean to dwell together in unity? Society
sells the notion that mere sexual unions create unity and draws its eager victims into the alley of
adultery. Blinded by ignorance, they fail to notice the many who have stumbled down this path to the
death of their relationships.
The unity God offers is three dimensional. As His divine will seeks daily fulfillment in us, He
works to unite us with each other in need-meeting relationships. He stands in our midst to open our
eyes to our needs and reveal His plans for supplying all our needs. Much of this is done within the
divine order of loving one another. He offers His gifts of faith, hope, and love we need to equip us to
relate in loving ways. As we receive them, we become free to love, free from having to force love
from those with whom we unite.
In contrast to the world's way of the favor ("I don't owe you anything, but after I do you a
favor, you'll owe me."), the I.O.U. illustrates the kingdom method of relating. I.O.U. is the lover's
language of commitment. With I.O.U. the lover voluntarily commits to using his resources and skills
to meet the needs that the Spirit of God opens to his understanding. None need beg him for his help.
Despite the sound of it, I.O.U. is the formula for debt-free living. Why? I.O.U. enables the
lover to initiate an offer to respond to need in ways that match his situation. Thus he need not
depend upon other people's demands to define his duties. This removes his risk of becoming
obligated by others to do what he cannot do or to pay what he doesn't have or can't afford. Via I.O.U.
he commits to give from his abundance to the degree that he can afford after he has taken into
consideration the sum of his responsibilities to love God supremely and to love his neighbors as
himself. He is free to stay open to the guidance of the Spirit of God when he is not bound by
obligations that demanding people put upon others. He is also free from the guilty feelings that
typically follow our refusals to be turned away from our Spirit-led priorities.
This I.O.U. method of relating aids us in dealing with the flattering, angry, hateful, and
ridiculing people in a spirit of meekness. It defuses their pressure to comply or die, so we can listen
calmly, respond, and depart from them feeling glad that we met their needs rather than SAD that we
did not meet their demands. In addition to its common meaning, I.O.U. has other unique meanings to
us: I Offer Understanding or I Opt for Unity. We shall soon learn how to use it for discovering needs
and entering into covenant partnerships to meet the needs we share with others.
Lord, Your voluntary commitment to me sets me free. Now in that same voluntary spirit, I.O.U. all I
am and all I do. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Which mentality have you cultivated in your relations: the I.O.U. or the U.O.I (me)?
Which do your family members practice?
When you say, "I owe you one", are you voluntarily committing to meet a need or merely noting that
youre obligated by my favor to return a favor to me?
When someone does more favors for you than you can easily repay, how do you feel?
Do you continue receiving more favors or do you refuse to accept any more?
Does your fondness for the doer of favors increase or lessen?
Attempts to change to the I.O.U. way of relating will be foreign to people's view. You may expect to be
misunderstood. You may need to help those you love to understand that you have no strings
attached, that you owe aid to them simply because they need it and you have it to give.

Goodness Rights Wrongs
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness..." Galatians 5:22.
The derivation of righteous means right + wise. While few claim to be self-righteous, many
claim to be right, and by virtue of being right, feel entitled to control the will of others. They assume
that being right gives them the right to force others to conform to their selfish demands. This urge to
be right and to defend "rights" often puts the "right-wise" people crosswise with others. Their rightwrong mind-set ignores the need to choose God's good over evil. "For they being ignorant of God's
righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves
unto the righteousness of God." Romans 10:3.
The plight of adulterers is centered in pursuing selfish rights at the cost of what is good for
others. They take pains to see themselves as "right" and yet "exploited", so they can feel "right"
about indulging self and exploiting others. The Greek word, "moi" means I, me, mine, my. "Moi"
forms the beginnings of the Greek words for adultery, commit adultery, adulteress, and adulterer. In
each word the "I" comes first. Whether partnerships remain UN-I-TED or become UNT-I-ED depends
much on where each partner places the "I" of self in relation to the Truth of God as seen at Calvary.
We do not become righteous by being right but by being united by faith with Jesus, through
whom God's goodness is ministered to us. Proverbs 20:6 states, "Most men will proclaim every one
his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" Self's own goodness and faithfulness to God
don't mix. The faithful man believes Jesus words: "..there is none good but one, that is, God: but if
thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." Matthew 19:17. How? We cooperate with God's
grace in us. As God's Spirit writes in us His law that we shall not commit adultery, He uses this
Commandment VII as His tool to develop the fruit of goodness in us. As we faithfully choose to value
God's unity with us, He sheds His love abroad in us, brings us into harmony with His law, gives us
goodness, and holds us guiltless in Jesus.
As God's spirit of goodness permeates our spirit, goodness flows into our human relations.
We want the blessings that God gives those He loves, to bless those we love also. Understanding His
unity with us helps us to build bridges of unity, not barriers. Newly cross-wise about how Calvary
removes guilt and bestows the righteousness of God on us through faith in Christ, we want others to
understand how His goodness leads us to repentance, grants us forgiveness, works to fulfill God's law
of love in us, and empowers us to love. Our focus changes from provoking guilt via flattery in the
guilt cycle to invoking God's love that unites us in covenant love partnerships. Cross-wise, we can
discard our self-righteous rags. We can practice building right-wise relationships centered on Jesus
that have power to enrich everyone.
Lord, unite me with those who need unity with You. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

We often hear it said that certain persons are good persons even though they are not Christians.
How is this possible if only God is good?
Does God give good gifts to them even before they recognize Him to be the Giver?
Give an example of God's providence doing good for you before you submitted to Him?
Could we help people to unite with God by teaching them about His goodness in their behalf?
Could we help them to see that Calvary's job is to free from guilt not cause guilt trips?
Are you crosswise with someone because you defended your rights and labeled him wrong?
How can the Truth of the cross help to turn a crosswise personal situation right-wise again?
Has adultery touched your family? Has someone mistaken lust for love? Loving is meeting needs.
Do you dare to love the adulterer by giving him God's power-packed Commandment VII promise as a
In Christ "Thou shalt not commit adultery" can reflect His "Go and sin no more" forgiveness and God's
power to bring the victory over it. Without Christ's pardoning love, the tempted can only feel guilty
for breaking God's law, feel cut off from God by sin, and feel driven to find other human lovers.

I.O.U. = I Offer Understanding
"I was a stranger, and ye took Me in:..." Matthew 25:35.
"When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in?" Matthew 25:38.
As we near the end of May, we come to the bottom line for lover-friend partnerships. What
good can they serve in God's kingdom? Is covenant loving only about relating to lovers and friends?
What is love's bottom line for strangers? We gain some insight on this from the different Greek words
for stranger. While the word "stranger" of Matthew 25:35 derives from a word meaning foreign,
(literally, alien), it is not the word used to denote someone who is not a Jew. Listen to how it's used in
Ephesians 2:12, 13: "That at that time ye were without Christ, ...and strangers from the covenants of
promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes
were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." See Ephesians 2:14-22 too. Strangers are
potential candidates for God's kingdom. Jesus' emphasis on taking in the stranger shows us that He
wants them united with Him in His kingdom.
These people who are "strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without
God in the world" need what God has given us. He sends us, not just to talk, but to bring those who'll
come into covenant relation with us and God. He has given us a covenant promise to claim in this
endeavor. "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be
done for them of My Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My
name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:19, 20. Our I.O.U. formula guides us in doing
this. Let's examine how it can help to build a working partnership with strangers to covenantrelating. How do I Offer Understanding?
I = Introduce Individuals; Importance of Ideal; Invite Involvement.
After Introductory conversation, ask, "Friend, what is Important to you at this time in your life? What
Ideals or goals for your life, (family, career, etc.) do you hope to reach? (Discuss.) God is always
eager to work in our behalf, and I also would like to see you succeed. Could I join you in inviting God
to be involved in helping you? O = Open Opportunities; Organize Offenses; Overcome Obstacles.
What Opportunities will your Ideas open to you? What Obstacles stand in your way? What Offenses
could we organize to Overcome them?
U = Understand; Undertake; Use to Unite; Unique; Unselfish Unity.
What must we Understand to plan wisely? What shall we agree to ask God to Undertake for you?
How can we Use our talents to Unite in cooperating with God's Unique will for you? What can our
Unselfish Unity do to hasten the coming of the kingdom of God? God will do all we agree to ask of
Him, if Jesus can join us in it.
Lord, I Often Underestimate Your ability to build unity among us. May Your will that we be one be
done. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

The I.O.U. formula for building covenant relations is not intended to be hurried through with a person
in five minutes. The questions merely suggest a process of covenant making. Adapt them for use in
any way that aids you in building relationships with people who are strangers to knowing how to love.
Do you know people who are strangers to covenant relating?
Invite one to unite with you in asking God to solve problems through covenant relating?
Begin with simple issues. Trust God to lead you.
I recall how my use of the first question in a conversation with a stranger blossomed into a valued
friendship. "What is important to you?" I asked. After the shock of my question subsided, he replied,
"Prophecy." I happily responded that prophecy was important to me also, and a new friendship was
born that day.
Which does your I-O-U behavior toward others say to them: I owe you. or I own you.?

Why Dare to Love Strangers?
"And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." I John
When we receive God as our Father, we become members of a large family in which all God's
children become our brothers and sisters. Our Elder Brother identifies Himself with the way we treat
them. Just as Joseph resisted Potiphar's wife because he could not sin against God, so we need to see
our sibling behavior in the context of how it is received by our Father.
While Lot lived in Sodom, he displayed a special care for the strangers who entered his city.
He had no selfish gain in mind when he took them in. Instead he sought to protect them from the risk
of being taken in by the evil men who roamed the city. What he did was not without danger, but he
feared the evil that would befall them more than the danger that would threaten himself while helping
them. At such times of danger he and we need the Spirit to produce the fruit of goodness in us to
overcome the influence of evil that may threaten our efforts to love. We might never value goodness
if we did not encounter a serious need for it.
How we treat the stranger tests the genuineness of our unselfish love. The fact that people
are strangers means we know of no favors they have shown us, hence we owe them no obligation to
go out of our way in their behalf. Having gained no past love from them, we have no reason to expect
that they will reward us for any love we extend to them. Thus we have no selfish reasons for favoring
or fearing them. Since they have no way to spoil our "good name", we need not even feel guilty for
ignoring them. Our only reason for taking them into covenant relationship is that if we don't teach
them to love, the world will exploit them and lead them down the road to death. "A friend loveth at
all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17.
The meek who pray that God's will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, naturally inherit the
earth that they may see God's will that we love strangers, brothers, friends, and foes fulfilled. To do
so we must keep loving no matter who crosses us or tries to sidetrack us from loving one another.
Having learned to love in our inherited territory, we have a duty to behave in harmony with the
responsibility that we are given. While my mother was living, we encouraged her to spend the money
Dad had left to her. But she insisted that it was intended for the children, and lived a frugal life. Now
I control my share of it, and I too am slow to spend it. I will use it as my business needs it, I tell
myself. But while I spend little, my business stays little, and so I don't need it. Its goodness stays
stored and gathers but little interest. So it is in meeting the needs of the earth we meek inherit: if
we seldom make it our business to love, we'll see little benefit in loving, and feel little need to love.
Accountability weighs our potential for action against our acts. When weighed, are we found
wanting to be loved or willing to love those who are strangers to the art of loving?
Lord, You send us not to bury our talents in earthly pursuits, but to spend them to carry Your love to a
dying world. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

My countless brothers are prodigally engaged in scouring the earth for a source of love. I see their
talents scattered to the four winds. And I see me sitting on mine, asking God why I should spend in
behalf of any who waste their resources on lusting.
I forget that my brothers, not knowing lust from love, would be glad to find the love they seek if they
knew where to look. I forget that my delay necessitates more prodigality on their part. What if I lead
and they won't follow? speak and they won't listen? Will what I spend be wasted, or will my brothers
be loved?
Will God ask, "What did you do with the love I gave you? Did you love your brother who was dying for
lack of love? Did you try to reach the lost despite the cost (that God had promised to repay)? Or did
you spend your priceless gift on worthless tasks? Or did you merely wait until it was too late?"
Our "someday" attitude does God no favor. Today's the only day He can use us in His efforts to save
dying partnerships. Only He can remove our passion for feeling guilty, and move us to spend our gold
of faith and love. God's will, His promises that we inherit by faith, await our reception and use of
them. In Jesus the ground we walk on is ours. See Joshua 1:3.

Meet the Greatest Lover!
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if
ye do whatsoever I command you." John 15:13, 14.
Our Greatest Lover gave a promise for all who long to be drawn closer to one another in
covenant love. Herein lies the secret that makes it happen: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will
draw all men unto Me." John 12:32. As we draw nearer to the One who draws us all close to Him, we
shall discover that the deepest, truest love resides within the family circle of the One who loved us
and gave Himself for us.
The Greatest Lover, whose power to love can encompass the most horrible human being,
models covenanting for lovers. "Ye are My friends, IF..." places the lover-friend partnership in the
context of free choice. He respects the freedom of those He loves. He knows that He has created
mankind with the power to consent or to refuse. He knows that the success of His lover's
commitment to covenant love relates to the willingness of His friend to submit to His love. He can
covenant only with those who agree to let Him.
His yoke is easy. "Ye are My friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you." His condition is
merely that we do whatever He can empower us to do. Unlike human demands that imply "I say it;
you do it.", the commands of Jesus imply "I do what I say if you will agree to let Me." Obedience is
agreeing to let Jesus do His work of grace within us. Submitting to His commands gives to us the
needed power to let His will be done in us. "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." 1
Thessalonians 5:24. Do what? "sanctify you wholly;" and preserve you blameless, free of guilt, "unto
the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." See verse 5:23. Who would not want to do what He commands
in order to accomplish that goal in our lives? As friends, we love Him by obeying Him. Obedience
that it not freely given is not love; it is conformity.
Once His friend, Peter, sailing the stormy sea of life, was invited to come to Jesus on the
water. While his trust centered in His Lord, He walked on the water. But when he chose fear of the
winds over faith in this Lover to empower him to do whatsoever He commands, he began to sink.
We too may wonder if Jesus can sustain us in the storms of life when the water of God's love is
our only power to stabilize our walk and keep us from sinking into the sea of guilt on our journey to
the kingdom. But Jesus, in His love for us, has built a bridge over our uncharted sea of life by laying
down His life for His friends...and for His enemies who will let Him love them into harmony with His
will. He calls us to Himself, as He called Peter. Why in the presence of One who has all power do we
doubt? Why not be convinced with Peter that we "may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and
blameless."? 2 Peter 3:14.
Lord, empower me to do whatsoever You command me. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

Do you have a specific misbehavior that you have been struggling to overcome?
Ask yourself if you are blaming anyone for your failure to gain the victory. It may be that the one you
blame for your failure is the one you are looking to for the power you need to overcome.
Can you expect to gain divine power to overcome lust by lusting after another human being?
No matter whom you depend upon for success, without Christ you can do nothing. With Him, no
person or group can defeat you because He has all power to bring you success as a lover.
Do you say, "Sure, I know Jesus loves me, BUT...I can't live on His love."?
But do you not find that your attempts to live on anyone else's love end in disappointment?
Sometimes God lets the people we depend upon for love disappoint us, so that we can learn of His
power to enable us to figuratively "walk on the water" of His love flowing through us.
Do you see Jesus as a demand maker (I say it, YOU do it) or command maker (What I say I do)?
How do you present Him to your children--as a demanding tyrant or a powerful Helper?
Jesus says, in essence, "I will meet your need to love, if you will let My love empower you to love."
What do you say?

"For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out
from God."
John 16:27.
May God's love
Fill my life and flow
To you through me
That we may grow
To do and be
What pleases Him.

Lifelong love.
Innocent as childhood,
Impulsive as youth,
Intelligent as age,

Unadulterated love
With no hint of hate,
No selfish taint,
Unspoiled by lust,
Courteous and just,
Love that you and I
Can trust.
All-weather love!
Bright as a blue sky,
Intense as sunlight,
Creative as clouds,
Refreshing as rain,
Comforting as a breeze,
Strong as a storm,
Yet intimate and warm
Like a hearth in a home.
Year-round love:
Persevering as winter,
Spontaneous as spring,
Joyous as summer,
Fruitful as fall.


And tasty love,
Flavored with friendship,
As freely given
As manna from heaven,
With no begging needed,
No strings to be heeded.


Christian love,
Sensitive to need,
Enlightening our creed,
Destined to succeed
In its efforts to lead
Us to eternal life.
If I should give you any less,
My gift would worthless be.
And so I give God's love to you,
As He gives it to me.
Poem by Norma

Lord, I'm listening to you say, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with
lovingkindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah 31:3. Thank you from my heart. Amen.
How do today's concepts relate to you?

How do you describe God's love? How is God's love enriching your relationships?
If you could love everyone everywhere at any and all times without ever getting sidetracked into the
deadly cycles of sin, would you feel that you had the self-control needed to conquer any and every
situation or circumstance life on this earth can offer? With self under the control of God's love you
have it. He gives you full control and use of your inheritance of the earth. Just as God removed
Israel's enemies from their promised land, He works by grace to remove our sins so that we can live
abundantly by faith in Jesus within His Ten Commandment promise land.