In the Instruction for Teachers and Believers (The Urantia Book, The UB, 159:3), Jesus’s very first teaching was, “Always respect the personality of man. Never should a righteous cause be promoted by force; spiritual victories can be won only by spiritual power.”
His wisdom led to a new insight into a family dispute I’ve been involved in for nearly two years, learning anew that people go through their process at their own pace. I may believe there is a higher way the other should discover or learn, but I can’t make someone grow as fast as I might wish they would.
Speaking on his tour of the Greek region, the Decapolis (see photo of Gerasa, a Decapolis city), Jesus continued, “This injunction against the employment of material influences refers to psychic force as well as to physical force. Overpowering arguments and mental superiority are not to be employed to coerce men and women into the kingdom. Man's mind is not to be crushed by the mere weight of logic or overawed by shrewd eloquence.” (The UB, 159:3.2)
What Jesus also meant here was we must respect the free will choices of others. I had been verbally punished by a family member, one whom I already knew had a mean streak and a cold cruel tendency, and the encounter hurt so much that we haven’t spoken since. What was it made her choose to act in this way? Such behavior is usually adopted to defend oneself from something or someone perceived as threatening, perhaps something even I might have done in my conceited and arrogant teenage years, but that wasn’t relevant. I’d never been told such a thing; it remained an imagined offense best put out of one’s mind. The other’s behavior might not even be an entirely well-informed free will choice if the behavior is being run by a “lower self,” without the help of a spirit guide, Thought Adjuster, or seraphim. Whatever is keeping them locked in that place of hurtful behavior must be overcome in their own time.
Here is, perhaps, another way of looking at it: “Be kind to people and don’t judge, for you do not know what demons they carry and what battles they are fighting.” Vashti Quiroz-Vega
Jesus’ admonition to respect the personality of the other brought a great infusion of compassion into my soul. Unable to impose our schedule for growth on another who must, by the lights of their own wisdom, take steps to grow when they are ready, I can pray they’ll find higher forms of behavior. They may choose help to understand where the violent emotion originates from, perhaps through therapy for the pain.
Our heavenly helpers treat us with the same respect; “under no circumstances do these divine Monitors ever take advantage of you or in any way arbitrarily influence you in your choices and decisions. The Adjusters respect your sovereignty of personality; they are always subservient to your will.” (110:2.1)
There is a universal law at work here. “How dare the self-willed creature encroach upon the rights of his fellows in the name of personal liberty when the Supreme Rulers of the universe stand back in merciful respect for these prerogatives of will and potentials of personality!” (54:1.9) We all have the right to our mistakes, the experiences of growth in values that might come from such an “educational episode” (160:4.15).
For me, I’m discovering new steps I can take in walking “the way of God.”