II. SECTION 14. What Am I?
My sinless brother is my guide to peace. My sinful brother is my guide to pain. And which I choose to see, I will behold.
- Who is my brother but Your holy Son? And if I see him sinful, I proclaim myself a sinner, not a Son of God, alone and friendless in a fearful world. Yet this perception is a choice I made and can relinquish. I can also see my brother sinless, as Your holy Son. And with this choice, I see my sinlessness, my everlasting Comforter and Friend beside me, and my way secure and clear. Choose, then, for me, my Father, through Your Voice. For He alone gives judgment in Your Name.
Are we ready, brothers, to look past bodies and our thoughts of sin and condemnation and see the inner kingdom of God within each one of us? The place where no sin abides, where all is pure and innocent, lighthearted, gleeful, and kind – where no wrongdoing or fearful thought has a place to rest. Are we ready to deny the illusions’ power over our brother? The brother who stole made a mistake; he did not sin; he is not evil. Our brother is holy and pure because He belongs to God. It is not our job to judge him, only to love him and forgive him. And do we believe in what we have learned – that what we think about our brother will manifest itself in his life?
Are we Sons of God who choose to think with God’s Will, or are we going to judge and condemn, giving power to evil and sin, fearful of our projections and using our religion to condemn others to hell? Those who do us wrong give us perfect opportunities to practice the concepts of the Course we are studying. Jesus tells us today: See them as evil, and we proclaim ourselves sinners and not a Son of God. We are not on God’s side if we would condemn our brothers and choose to focus our attention on their wrongdoing instead of their Sonship.
People make mistakes; they choose hurtful behavior over loving behavior. Our bodies have drives and urges, compulsions and obsessions that seem to wreak havoc. When we identify with our bodies, anything can happen! Our power as Sons of God is often cast aside because we simply do not know how to correct situations. We go into battle mode. We go into defense. We rally sides and point fingers and make accusations. Then we dare to say we have God on our side, when sadly we have only condemned ourselves along with the wrongdoer.
Jesus calls us to be His messengers with the practice of forgiveness and using our divine power as Sons of God to correct. When someone steals, we refuse to call them a thief, we say our brother made a mistake for which he is sorry. We forgive our holy brother because he is a Son of God, and because in our forgiveness, he becomes our savior. When someone talks mean about us behind our backs, we do not go into attack and defense mode. We simply choose forgiveness. They didn’t know what they were talking about; they made a mistake. They must have been hurt and disappointed in us to say such things. Maybe they aren’t sorry now, but surely at some point in their return to God, they will feel remorse, so I am going to choose forgiveness now and hold my brother perfect in my mind simply because he belongs to God. God loves him and so must I. This doesn’t mean I have to bake a cake for his birthday, but it does mean that I let no thoughts in my mind that would steal his holiness or tempt me to focus on his wrongdoing.
Our return to God is impossible for the ego, with all its bluster, blame, and demand for repayment of some kind. Throughout my life I have been blessed by forgiveness from those whom I have hurt by unkind things I have said or done. “I have washed it from my mind,” a friend told me one time. “I will never bring it up again because it never happened.” I was so stunned! Nobody had ever offered me forgiveness without vain promises and grudging strings attached. It was an incredible lesson in forgiveness. My hurtful behavior washed from his mind, he refused to think of me in terms of the mistakes I had made. It was not only a beautiful feeling; it was a miracle. His forgiveness changed my perception of myself as a bad person who was beyond redemption to a person who was worthwhile, deserving of respect, love, and trust. This is the miracle we offer; the correction that God gives to us as a gift, which we keep only when we share it with our brothers!
So here is to all my brothers who have wronged me in any way – I forgive you even as Christ forgives you. It never happened. When the enemy tries to get me to ruminate upon the pain you caused me, I will say – So and so is a Son of God, part of the brotherhood of Christ. He is sinless and spotless and pure. He made a mistake, and I forgive him, even as Christ forgives me.
This is my salvation! You become my savior even as I become yours. This is how we enter the Kingdom of Heaven – not fighting and calling names and running to the Lord to fight our petty battles. Let you be sinless in my mind and guide me to peace! This is what I choose to see, and this is what I will behold.