We often look upon relationships as either “good” or “bad”, “useful” or “wasted”. We might view them as constructive or destructive, fulfilling or detrimental, often determining their value by the pleasure we seem to derive from them. It’s only human nature to avoid those that seem to be bad, wasted, destructive or detrimental. Life is too short, right?

But what if the true purpose of every relationship has nothing to do with our human nature and everything to do with our divine nature? If so, we might find it useful to set aside our “human nature” criteria and adopt, instead, “divine nature” criteria. Without declaring that the Voice of God speaks through me (although I believe that is the case for all of us when we set our ego* aside), let’s speculate as to what the “divine nature” criteria might be.

When Jesus is quoted as saying “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21), I read that as meaning the awareness of God Presence is possible for each and every one of us, in which our nature is seeing with the eyes of God, seeing with the eyes of unconditional love. To realize that elevated state requires that we look upon our moment with the eyes of unconditional love. With that perspective, the criteria of “divine nature” reveal how to elevate our perspective to see and embrace more fully the God Presence in the moment.

Even the relationships which are punctuated with lies or betrayals can be seen for what they are — relationships that had, for a moment (or longer), participants that forgot their true nature, their divine nature. If we avoid or reject those relationships because of the lapse of awareness of one or more of the participants, we are declaring that nothing less than perfection in every relationship is acceptable. When is that achieved and where is the opportunity for growth?

At the same time, those “negative relationships” can also be seen as great opportunities for learning and for practice. When one can see beyond the feeling of being attacked (the ego’s “proof” of our vulnerability and separation from each other and from God), we have made great progress is seeing with the eyes of unconditional love. In fact, when we view each relationship as a “trip to the gym”, we can see the negative relationships as those exercises that challenge us the most and from which our greatest strength is gained; the positive relationships might be seen as a soak in the sauna, healing and nurturing but, by themselves, stimulating little gain in power.

We don’t have to search out those negative relationships but when they show up, we can celebrate! There are bountiful blessings hidden within them.

* from A Course in Miracles: ego — that aspect of consciousness that insists upon separation from each other and from God