“Then one said unto him, 'Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.' But he answered and said unto him that told him, 'Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?' And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, 'Behold, my mother and brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.' “ (Christ Jesus: Matthew 12: 47-50.)
“And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Christ Jesus: Matthew 23: 9).
When Christ Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, accused of being a malefactor (one who breaks the law) Jesus had this to say about himself: “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18: 37). And this truth, of which he referred, had been to correct and spiritualize every false concept and worldly belief that he encountered. He spoke of the invisible kingdom of God that is ever-present, underlying the material appearance of things. He showed the power of God's divine love of creation, by healing sickness, transforming so-called sinners to goodness, and even raising to life again, some who had died in the flesh. He showed the universal power of this higher view of life throughout his earthly career--that, no matter who you are, when thought is changed to realize the spiritual truth of things, the outer world of form (even the flesh) changes for the good, as a direct result of the enlightened thought.
When Jesus directed, “...call no man your father upon the earth” and “who is my mother?” he was addressing the human concept of family. As always, he didn't just wipe out the human concept; rather, he replaced it with a higher, more spiritual view and identification. With these words, he was replacing the fleshly view of family with the spiritual truth of family. He was emphasizing the fact that family ties should exist, but to the true family--God's Holy Family--not to it's material counterfeit, which is limited in scope and often risky in value.
Although a couple thousand years have passed since Jesus tried to reveal and change humanity's understanding of family, this spiritual truth is no less pertinent today. While many find family ties of the flesh to be a blessing, others have found their earthly family experience to be nightmare. A human family is only as good as the few individuals in it. Bound by belief of loyalty to material family members often binds one to tyranny, abuse and suffering.
Yet, when thought is spiritualized and the greater family of man is seen by even a small child who has faith in God's invisible presence and powerful love, deliverance from an evil situation often occurs. Even children can discover that they don't have to be silent victims. Very surprising, intelligent actions have often come from small children. For child or adult, the understanding that God is always with us, to call upon like an invisible friend, is an immediate help in any situation. God's truth is not powerless--it's the only authority that's really present. A child taught the higher, more spiritual view of family could overcome much passive obedience and silence about an abusive adult, by realizing that God is our only true Parent, and abuse isn't a part of the loving atmosphere that is ever-present in God's family. One has a divine right to be free, and the freedom to assert that right. Trust in the presence, power and love of God will reveal the way to take for that freedom to be manifested.
This divine Intelligence, Wisdom, Love and Law is only a thought away. It's with and within everyone. Yet, no matter what our age, we must open the mental door for it. Thus, all of us (little ones and adults) realizing that their real Father and Mother is ever present, loving and protecting them, will find the way opening in consciousness for them to escape a nightmarish existence. By obeying Christ Jesus' command to “...call no man your father upon the earth” and “Who is my mother?” and realizing God's sovereign authority, they will feel an empowerment to act in ways that will save them. Human roles, like mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, all mask the only relationship we truly have to each other--that of spiritual brothers and sisters, living in the family of God, our divine Source, Origin and Parent.
This higher view of family, and our own place in it, can be the means of coping and solving all types of human relationship problems. All of our relationships can take a more positive turn when our proper view of family is lifted from the earthly to the heavenly, spiritual view. Every intuition we seek comes from the divine Intelligence within--our very link to God. Every escape route is present in this universal, spiritual consciousness within us. Every problem solved. But unless we ask and listen, we won't hear. We'll seem to be on our own, trying to protect ourselves from difficult people at work, unfriendly neighbors, and even the strangers we meet, but are afraid to trust.
So, the teachings of Christ Jesus, as well as other prophets and spiritual teachers, often direct our thought upward, to behold this universal, spiritual family. God as our Source, Origin, Parent, is the provider of all good. The flesh is not the source of our health, our place in creation, our own provision, our abilities, talents, intelligence, however much material-based thinking has taught. We have all these things as off-spring of divine Spirit. Our true inheritance is spiritual, not physical; for this was the principle Jesus and his disciples were demonstrating when healing the flesh with spiritual truth, instead of medicating it. Even the claim of hereditary illnesses were also healed with the truth that substance is spiritual, not material, and the only inheritance we can have is our inheritance from Spirit. And the love and comfort we give to our 'blood' kin, we should be giving to all mankind, in order to fulfill the command to “love they neighbor, as thyself.”(Matthew 22: 39).
This was brought home to me, some years ago, when I was trying to protect myself from a few people who had always treated me badly. This relationship problem wasn't child abuse, nor were they in my immediate family; but their views of me went back to my childhood. As an adult, it seemed I still didn't meet with their approval. So, I generally avoided them altogether. One evening arrived, however, when I was supposed to take part in a social occasion where this small group would be. While getting dressed for the occasion. I became sick to my stomach, soon followed by a pounding headache. I knew these symptoms were from my fear of their need to attack or humiliate me publically in some way. I tried to take the coward's way out, by suggesting to my husband that I was too ill to go, and maybe he should just go without me. As soon as I said it, something told me to go sit down in front of the mirror. (This might seem like an odd request, but I was used to odd, mental requests.) On this night, I had apparently forgotten God's presence and love, and now it was asserting itself.
So, as I stared at myself in the mirror, this thought came: “Who do you see?”
I knew this was a spiritual message (an angel thought from God) trying to get through, so I thought very carefully and mentally answered, “Your daughter.”
The mental voice continued (paraphrased as memory permits), 'Yes. And so are they My children. But if they're My children, and you're My daughter, then they're really your brothers and sisters--your spiritual brothers and sisters. In their true selves, they love you. They've never really disliked or hated you, no matter what they're believing about themselves and you. You have only one family, and that's your divine, spiritual family. All my children love each other. All, in their true self hood, are worthy of this love. Your real self loves their real selves; their real selves love your real self. This is what I want you to take to the party. Take this knowledge with you. If they still say or act otherwise, you'll know that they really love you, because of who they spiritually are and who you spiritually are. They are actually your brothers and sisters, and one day they will know it; so love them, no matter what. You can do this; but you must remember who they truly are, and the family you're actually in.'
My symptoms cleared up within minutes, and I felt a great weight lift off of me. All the way in the car, I kept remembering that these people were really my true family--my spiritual brothers and sisters. I told myself that even if I was treated badly, I knew God was with me, so I could take it. But that's not what happened. When I arrived, they came over and actually hugged me! And beyond that, they began to flatter me by saying nice things to me, that I'd never heard from them before. It was almost surreal. All the animosity seemed to have melted away. And that was the end of years of hostility and my suffering from it.
It reminded me of the biblical story of Jacob and his brother Esau. Jacob had stolen Esau's birthright, but had to flee his family because Esau wanted to kill him. Years later, when the voice of God told Jacob to return to his original human family, he was afraid. Yet, when his brother came to meet him, he hugged Jacob, and a surprised Jacob said, ...for therefore I have seen thy face as if I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.” (Genesis 33: 10). That's what it was like for me; I had seen them as God's reflection, loving me, and that became the human reality too.
Since my experience in seeing those who hated me turn and treat me with love, I've learned to treat relationship conflicts in this higher way, as much as I can. When or if I feel myself to be a target of someone's anger (or if anger against someone else takes hold of me) I quickly remind myself (and it's not always easy, because we get mesmerized by dramatic situations) that his or her real self loves my real self as a spiritual, true brother or sister, and that my real self loves them as my brother or sister. That always seems to have an immediate effect of diffusing the conflict.
Here on earth, we all seem to be in a place of forgetfulness. We've forgotten our higher self, and we've forgotten that each and every identity (when in our enlightened mind) is a child of God, the image of God's own being. God loves, but does not hate, criticize, torment, abuse, lie, cheat, steal or kill. God's children are just like God, when fully awakened to the atmosphere of spiritual reality and each one's own place in it. The spiritual truth that is invisibly present with us, wherever we go, is that on planet Earth, there aren't billions of families; there's only one, true family, and it's the Holy Family. It has God as Father and Mother of the universe. It is infinitely peopled with his children (identities)--our real brothers and sisters. These are the only ties that we really have, or will ever need. These ties don't leave out our human family; they embrace it and add all humanity to it. These are the ties that bind, even when meeting a stranger.