II. SECTION 14. What am I?
Lesson 352 Judgment and love are opposites. From one come all the sorrows of the world. But from the other comes the peace of God Himself.
- Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone and judges not. Through this, I come to You. Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind. Yet love, reflected in forgiveness here, reminds me You have given me a way to find Your peace again. I am redeemed when I elect to follow in this way. You have not left me comfortless. I have within me both the memory of You and One Who leads me to it. Father, I would hear Your Voice and find Your peace today. For I would love my own Identity and find in It the memory of You. 1
When I woke up this morning I thought of those to whom I have not been kind, I thought of the secret and not so secret grudges I hold toward others, I thought of the times I have lied or passed on rumors instead of squelching them on the spot. I thought of how quickly I drop people and connections when they overstep my boundaries or expect me to wave their banners and join their causes instead of being faithful to my own calling. I felt real pain and sorrow over the dear ones I have hurt, the Holy Spirit using one person in particular to represent all, and that one example alone broke the last bits of hardness around my heart.
A while back, a special relationship told me in a patronizing tone that, unlike me, he was not cursed with a bleeding heart. No need for God, no need to care for others outside his dwindling circle, no need for forgiveness, or to be forgiving, he was perfectly happy and satisfied with his life, who he was, and what he was. Content to identify with the body and die when his time was up, he denied any existential angst or hunger for God – embracing all aspects of his humanity with no shame or guilt. I would have been envious, dear brothers, and questioned my own sanity perhaps, except his loneliness and sorrow, the bitter brow, the body crippled by excess, the whining undertones made a lie of everything he said. I have thought of that conversation many times since then, asking the Holy Spirit to show me how to forgive and love a denier of the truth, because I don’t know how. How do we relate to the dishonest? What is there to relate to?
And yet today, the Holy Spirit showed me that it is not him or any other, whom I must forgive and therefore love, but it is myself. How this lesson was driven home is beyond my ability to string together in words. In fact, I was able to write but not publish what I wrote because it was so deeply personal and moving that I sat stunned and astounded, tears of joy and tears of sorrow streaming down my face together. Unable to bear it on my own, I called a study brother to discuss the implications of what was happening to me. Thank you, dear brother, because crying, laughing, and sharing together in such a profound way fulfilled our function.
We spoke of the judgment against ourselves in which we were raised. The condemnation for our humanity; the narrow little path to God which depends upon the insane idea that the clothing we wore, the version of the bible we read; the prayers we said; along with a myriad of other flesh and blood demands from a Super Bully who was ready to strike us with incurable diseases and wipe out our bloodlines when we were the least bit disobedient. We spoke of the holy books that promise love, peace, joy, and forgiveness while encouraging misogyny, genocide, favoritism, fear, sacrifice, bloodshed, war, and hierarchies of power. Plagued with hypersensitivity to one’s sinfulness and the sins of others, the teachings of judgment and condemnation lead to despair and disillusionment. Who wants to end up in a kingdom of shiny metal where the elect of fear sing obligatory praises throughout eternity while the rest of us burn in everlasting torment?
This madness has been carefully designed to keep us in blind bondage to an ego-made god who despises our eternal souls, rapes our little ones, and hoards our hard-earned cash to build stone fortresses and underground caverns to store its ill-gotten gains. Let us learn to question such madness and forgive ourselves for trading in a relationship with the Loving Father for the rites, rituals, and sacrifices of lunacy. Is it any wonder that we turn our backs on such a belief system, deny we need it, choose death and decay over living forever, worshiping an over-inflated ego?
Dare I say that the last vestiges of my armor, the stony places in my mind gave way? First, the Holy Spirit directed me to identify how I am still arming myself against forgiveness. Steeling myself against potential danger, hurts, and sorrow, waiting for others to make the first move toward forgiveness and healing, withholding miracles, disbelieving and untrusting of God, pretending not to care, refusing to communicate from fear of being misunderstood. The opportunities I miss to share miracles stem from judging others: questioning their ability to understand and distrusting my ability to see past their egos and truly love them.
Then the Holy Spirit directed me to forgive myself. To absolve myself from all of it, my guilt and shame over how I hurt others, disappoint them, cause them heartache and sorrow because of judging and condemning instead of loving and forgiving. To forgive myself for projecting my own shortcomings to the outside, where it only adds to the fray, rather than resolving it with God. While it is not necessarily easy to forgive others, without the Grace of God, it was impossible to forgive myself, once I realized what had been hiding from my awareness.
There was so much more that went on today. It was sobering, it was joyful; it was mind-numbing, it was mind-transforming; it was draining, it was invigorating. It was like work; it was like play. There are no words that adequately describe a holy encounter. There were times it was so intense that I distracted myself to avoid it, but distractions could not hold my attention. It was like labor, travail, yes, but also joy in getting to the real me, the core me, the me that is really and sincerely me, so wholly of God that nothing on earth would tempt me to delay myself in my return to Him.
Love and judgment are opposites. We can choose peace and harmony, or we can choose sorrow and loss. All of us belong to God, whether we think we do or not! We may appear to be lost, but only in time. He will never lose us, never turn His back upon us, never cast us out of His Kingdom because His Kingdom rests within and upon us, His Creation, His Sons. The body will not sustain us; it is only the symbol of separation. It is our spirit, our Sonship, which is our true Identity, calling us, and leading us to the reality of God.
1 A Course in Miracles, Workbook for Students, Lesson 352 Judgment and love are…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, p. 480.