As a collaborative divorce attorney and family law attorney with many years of experience, I have represented many spouses who have benefited from or failed to listen to the voice of God.
Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Life is hard.
When one’s heart is broken, it’s hard not to blame and to shame. It’s hard to refrain from acting to punish the wrongdoer or the one who has breached your trust. Whether married or single, rich or poor, every one of us at times may not consider, listen to and act in accordance with the voice of God.
When I woke up this morning, I read a Facebook post by my dear friend Micki Grimland. Micki shared a blog by Richard Rohr, a well-known spiritual writer, on this subject. Richard’s article is so profound and insightful that I decided to share it with you as part of this week’s prayer.
Rohr writes: “We must receive all words of God tenderly and subtly so that we can speak them to others with tenderness and subtlety. I would even say that anything said with too much bravado, over assurance, or with any need to control or impress another, is never the voice of God within us. If any thought feels too harsh, shaming, or diminishing of ourselves or others, it is not likely the voice of God. Trust me on that. That is simply our egoic voice.
“Why do humans so often presume the exact opposite—that shaming voices are always from God, and grace voices are always the imagination?
“If something comes toward us with grace and can pass through us and toward others with grace, we can trust it as the voice of God.”
“One holy man who came to visit me recently put it this way, ‘We must listen to what is supporting us. We must listen to what is encouraging us. We must listen to what is urging us. We must listen to what is alive in us.’ I personally was so trained not to trust those voices that I think I often did not hear the voice of God speaking to me or what Abraham Lincoln called the ‘better angels of our nature.’ Yes, a narcissistic person can and will misuse such advice, but a genuine God lover will flourish inside such a dialogue.
“We must learn how to recognize the positive flow and to distinguish it from the negative resistance within ourselves. It can take years, if not a lifetime. If a voice comes from accusation and leads to accusation, it is quite simply the voice of the ‘Accuser,’ which is the literal meaning of the biblical word ‘Satan.’ Shaming, accusing, or blaming is simply not how God talks, but sadly, it is too often how we talk—to ourselves and to one another. God is supremely nonviolent, and I have learned that from the saints and mystics that I have read and met and heard about. That many holy people cannot be wrong.
“If we can trust and listen to our inner divine image, our whole-making instinct, or our True Self, we will act from our best, largest, kindest, most inclusive self. There is a deeper voice of God, which we must learn to hear and obey. It will sound like the voice of risk, of trust, of surrender, of soul, of common sense, of destiny, of love, of an intimate stranger, of your deepest self. It will always feel gratuitous, and it is this very freedom that scares us. God never leads by guilt or shame! God leads by loving the soul at ever-deeper levels, not by shaming at superficial levels.”
God has spoken in Scripture as to His voice.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Let us pray together.
Dear God, as I struggle to be like You in my relationships with others may the ear of my heart listen to Your voice in my daily prayers.
God, may my words be Your words. May my voice be Your voice. May my loving words be Your love.
God, may my service to You impart Your love and grace to others. If all of us spoke and acted in relation to others as Your voice commands, the world would be healed and reconciled by love. Heaven would be nearer to the Earth. Amen
If you like this prayer, please share.
If you want to purchase for yourself or a friend a copy of Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love or Prayerful Passages: Asking God’s Help in Reconciliation, Separation or Divorce, please click here to go to Amazon.
Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur, and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.