“We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.” ~ Karen Armstrong

Building bridges to connect us with our better selves and with one another is a spiritual imperative. We cannot serve a higher purpose or walk in concert with God if we accept people in our lives and hearts only under certain conditions and with great caution.

If we allow only those who are like us, reflect our values, or affirm our principles, we are restricting our growth and denying possibilities. In a sense, we have made ourselves into an exclusive little Country Club. An invisible sign hangs around our soul that reads ‘Members Only’. Spiritual and emotional well being depends upon universal inclusion.

We cannot know ourselves fully until we begin to recognize and accept those who are different and those who challenge us. We cannot fully Love God or ourselves unless we Love our neighbor. My dear friend, Steve Magin, began teaching me this lesson at an early age. He made things hard at times. I was more interested in exploring the woods just the two of us.

But he was forever thinking about bringing other kids on our adventures. There was always some boy that he thought we should include. When we were choosing up sides for baseball he would pick the ones who normally would be last in the first round. He encouraged rather than teased. Those same kids remain close friends with him today. His life-long message is one of inclusion. Peace can be achieved when we reach out to others. I am the one to build the bridges and make the connections.

Robert Kenneth Jones

Robert Kenneth Jones

Columnist

Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.

In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.

His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.

Contact Bob Jones on Linkedin

Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast

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