anniemac wrote:Although I do agree with the reciprocal laws of the universe, I can't say that I agree that someone somewhere needs to pay a price or make a sacrifice for the gift of God's grace.
Well let me clarify a little better if I can. I agree too that nobody has to make a sacrifice to receive the gift of Mercy - as it relates specifically to prayer. For me, that's the mystery, beauty, and Divine Nature of "Grace as I understand it".
Really I'm not trying to make an argument for or against theology
because it seems to me that Grace and Mercy become universal spiritual principles through "autonomy" - which is their beauty and attraction to me.
The way I see it is nobody "has to" suffer for the sake of another. But many folks in many different theologies willingly do, for no reward or motive other than that's how they understand their concept of God. Their is an "attitude" I'm talking about that seeks and finds joy within pain or suffering if it can be used for the benefit of another. It comes to another universal spiritual principle talked about called "acceptance".
A friend of mine puts it like this in his leads - a very powerful message.
"I love to golf, but I spend my weekends helping my mother live at home instead of a nursing home. It's the least I can do for her for all that she did for me that got me to this point. I get a call from my friends and they invite me to go golfing one Saturday. I tell them no thanks because I'm helping my mother this weekend."
"Then my golfing buddy says 'Do you have to help your mother every single weekend?"
Tim's response floored me (some of you know Tim)
"No. I don't have
to help her. I get
to help her."
Grace when it's given is something I understand to be a free will choice with no expectation of anything in return. I also understand that I don't have to choose to be gracious - and it doesn't matter to "God" or the "Universe" one way or the other. The "return" a giver of grace supposedly gets is joy in knowing that another person was helped - and that God's will was served (depending on the giver and their own concept of God).
Mercy as I understand it also flows freely from a "loving God" when I seek it.
No one "is required" to make any sacrifice for the sake of another. But if I make a sacrifice because I want to, and I do it for the sake of following the Will of God as I understand Him, I believe that God could do with that sacrifice whatever He wanted for anyone He wanted regardless of theology. The only "theology" I can say that A.A. does in fact endorse is the theology in the 2nd Tradition which speaks about a "loving God" who is the "ultimate authority" over matters involving A.A.
So if anyone new or old gets the wrong impression, then maybe open mindedness is not as "open" as it can be for that person.
I believe that Grace and Mercy are universal spiritual principles. I see them scattered all over the pages of the Big Book. I don't think a single "concept" of God can make an exclusive claim to those principles. I also believe that "self-sacrifice" shows up here and there in the Big Book and is viewed as a universal spiritual principle, too.
So if someone chooses to get disturbed over the way I "connect the dots" between God and Grace and Mercy and sacrifice, I just say read the words of Bill Wilson on page 14 -
"Simple, but not easy; a price had to be paid. It meant destruction of self-centeredness. I must turn in all things to the Father of Light who presides over us all."
- OR the advice that Bill Wilson's sponsor gave him about theology -
"Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"