A lot has been said of the value of three legged things to stand firm. A three legged stool is far better on uneven ground than a four legged stool, and a two legged stool, well, just would not stand up. So, it seems rather proper to speak of thee legs to hold up the central value of our Quaker faith, love. Trust, Forgiveness and Atonement, seem to me to be the legs, as I have found watching Quakers in conflict, and in my own conflicts in the meeting and life.
I have seen Friends claim to love as fFriends should, and yet, bear conflicts with other Friends for so long. At the core is often a failure to trust. They tell me, "I can't trust because..." and that because never evolves into anything but a barrier to love. Time does not heal, it adds layers to the walls. Trust takes interaction, openness, a light and open and an honest heart. Talk. Without talk there can't be trust, because, well, think about it, "I don't want to talk to you... but let's not have any missunderstandings... " There is a logical disconect there. When there is a missunderstanding... talk to each other, it is the only road to trust.
Arthur Berk, delivered a wonderful message last First Day. He said that we all know what we ask of God in our waiting on the Lord, and we all know the peace and strength He gives us in response. "What do we give back to the Lord?" he said. He said what we should give back is love to each other. Be a friend to those who need friends, be a father to those who need fathers, be a child to those who need a child... be God's work on earth.
Distrust keeps us from doing as Arthur said, to do God's work on earth. Each leg that holds up love stands alone. One can give trust, not because the other deserves it, but because it is righteous to give trust. But, the other two legs help, also standing alone.
Trust, not because thee knows thee will not be hurt by another. Trust not because it is the best way to reach that of God in the other, so hurt will not be done. Trust because thee is a child of love.
Atonement. Atone not because thee is wrong, or becase thee meant to cause hurt, or if thee did cause hurt. Atone. Atone, not because you expect forgiveness, but atone because thee is a child of love.
Forgiveness. Forgive, not because the hurt is done, but if thee forgives, the hurt has less weight, but that is not why thee forgives. Forgive because thee is a child of love.
I beg fFriends that we become children of light, once more, children of love.