You gotta love the drug commercials that make a product a sure fire way to perfect health until they have to list the possible side effect – stroke, heart conditions, death….
Some recreational drugs may give great highs but the side effects make them too hazardous to use.
Spiritually we often mix up the side effect with the primary good. For instance, we say if you want to be happy help some one else. Nice. Unless of course, you are suffering from depression or are controlled by a sense of duty. Then the feeling of happiness doesn’t come and you end up feeling worse than when you started. You end up wondering why you aren’t feeling good and become more anxious about it or guilt ridden that you haven’t done enough.
So, I recommend focus on grace – that unconditional love that includes full acceptance of yourself and others just as they are. But beware of the side effects.
Grace does not mix with arrogance and patronizing attitudes. It needs to be taken in full doses. Giving grace to one but not to others will destroy its effects.
Taken freely and fully, grace can lead to equity, happiness and peace. It can rid someone of guilt, fear and shame. It builds up individuals and communities. Just be careful. Once it has taken over you, you will want to give it to others.