Do I allow others who love me and whom I love to be a hindrance in my love for You? This, to me, is a very real and difficult predicament. Certainly it is not off the mark to measure the love we have for You by the love we have for others. One form of the rub comes when I have feelings contrary to love for those who seem to reject or spurn You. A different form of the problem comes in loving another so much that, in order not to hurt them, I reject or spurn You. This may, in such instances, be the very pointed reason why, in Your revelation of the “new law”, You said, first you must love God, then your neighbor - not vice versa. Therefore, it may really be closer to the mark to say that we should measure our love for others by our love for You. It may be true that You can’t love God unless you love your enemy, but it is even truer that you cannot love your enemy unless you love God.
So, when I look for measures of spiritual progress, I should start by casting an eye toward how I fail to love You. This failure is reflected in how I love others. Yet, there is still the knotty problem of an individual whom I really do love but who, is some way or another, seems to be an obstacle to my love for You. Is it jealousy? Is it possessiveness? I really think so! The problem may be that I don’t take kindly to anyone who seems to have a better relationship with You than I do. It’s not that I wish them harm, or that they would go away, but since everything I do, I judge through my own eyes, it is intimidating to see, through others, how far away I am from loving You the way You want. Yet, it is also edifying. I learn well by making mistakes. Some mistakes I must make many times. I respect this process as spirit-centered in my life.
Ultimately, no person, in and of themselves, can be a hindrance to me. The hindrance, though perceived as being in the other, is, in fact, in me. What must be learned by these experiences is the art of not changing what I have become through Your grace while, at the same time, accepting unconditionally, as You do, the other in such a way that if You so choose, my instrumentality in their lives becomes a tool in You hands. It is for me simply to be open to this. What gets in the way is what Anthony DeMello calls the years of programming our own personal computers. The art of mastering the oppression ( or suppression) of years of this personal programming is the means by which happiness and love can be felt by even the most miserable of interns in a concentration camp.