Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
LESSON 198 Only my condemnation injures me.
- Injury is impossible. And yet illusion makes illusion. If you can condemn, you can be injured. For you have believed that you can injure, and the right you have established for yourself can be now used against you, till you lay it down as valueless, unwanted, and unreal. Then does illusion cease to have effects, and those it seemed to have will be undone. Then are you free, for freedom is your gift, and you can now receive the gift you gave.
- Condemn and you are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception. It is not a law that knowledge understands, for freedom is a part of knowledge. To condemn is thus impossible in truth. What seems to be its influence and its effects have not occurred at all. Yet must we deal with them a while as if they had. Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest.
- Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multiply a thousand-fold. But this is where illusions end. Forgiveness is the end of dreams because it is a dream of waking. It is not itself the truth. Yet does it point to where the truth must be and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father, knowing They are one.
- Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death. How could there be another way, when this one is the plan of God Himself? And why would you oppose it, quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities?
- Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand? Is it not more intelligent to thank the One Who gives salvation, and accept His gift with gratitude? And is it not a kindness to yourself to hear His Voice and learn the simple lessons He would teach, instead of trying to dismiss His words, and substitute your own in place of His?
- His words will work. His words will save. His words contain all hope, all blessing, and all joy that ever can be found upon this earth. His words are born in God and come to you with Heaven’s love upon them. Those who hear His words have heard the song of Heaven. For these are the words in which all merge as one at last. And as this one will fade away, the Word of God will come to take its place, for it will be remembered then and loved.
- This world has many seeming separate haunts where mercy has no meaning and attack appears as justified. Yet all are one; a place where death is offered to God’s Son and to his Father. You may think They have accepted. But if you will look again upon the place where you behold Their blood, you will perceive a miracle instead. How foolish to believe that They could die! How foolish to believe you can attack! How mad to think that you could be condemned and that the holy Son of God can die?
- The stillness of your Self remains unmoved, untouched by thoughts like these, and unaware of any condemnation which could need forgiveness. Dreams of any kind are strange and alien to the truth. And what but truth could have a Thought which builds a bridge to it that brings illusions to the other side?
- Today we practice letting freedom come to make its home with you. The truth bestows these words upon your mind, that you may find the key to light and let the darkness end: Only my condemnation injures me. Only my own forgiveness sets me free. Do not forget today that there can be no form of suffering that fails to hide an unforgiving thought. Nor can there be a form of pain forgiveness cannot heal.
- Accept the one illusion which proclaims there is no condemnation in God’s Son, and Heaven is remembered instantly; the world forgotten, all its weird beliefs forgotten with it, as the face of Christ appears unveiled at last in this one dream. This is the gift the Holy Spirit holds for you from God your Father. Let today be celebrated both on earth and in your holy home as well. Be kind to both, as you forgive the trespasses you thought them guilty of, and see your innocence shining upon you from the face of Christ.
- Now is there silence all around the world. Now is there stillness where before there was a frantic rush of thoughts that made no sense. Now is there tranquil light across the face of earth, made quiet in a dreamless sleep. And now the Word of God alone remains upon it. Only that can be perceived an instant longer. Then are symbols done, and everything you ever thought you made completely vanished from the mind that God forever knows to be His only Son.
- There is no condemnation in him. He is perfect in his holiness. He needs no thoughts of mercy. Who could give him gifts when everything is his? And who could dream of offering forgiveness to the Son of Sinlessness Itself, so like to Him Whose Son he is, that to behold the Son is to perceive no more, and only know the Father? In this vision of the Son, so brief that not an instant stands between this single sight and timelessness itself, you see the vision of yourself, and then you disappear forever into God.
- Today we come still nearer to the end of everything that yet would stand between this vision and our sight. And we are glad that we have come this far and recognize that He Who brought us here will not forsake us now. For He would give to us the gift that God has given us through Him today. Now is the time for your deliverance. The time has come. The time has come today.
Personal Notes and Application: The other day I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Our coffee tasted like there was something wrong with it – I was certain that James did something to it, watered it down, put something in it – he likes to try new things and I do not mind trying new things either, but not my morning coffee. No butter, no spices, no coconut oil, no flavors. Later when we went on a little lark, I was still grumpy, and I prayed and asked the Lord to please fill my mind with gratitude and He did. It was wonderful. After that I asked the Lord to continue to talk to me. I was following James down to Harrisburg and I did not want to listen to the radio, my random thoughts, or even an Audible book – I wanted to hear from the Voice for God. We had not had devotions in our haste to get the show on the road and I missed that “little while” we spend with God each morning.
God showed me a brother from our ACIM study group who had voiced that he will not say the name of someone who hurt him. The Voice for God assured me that he will say the name and he will say it without any rancor, with no trace of pain, with nothing but thanksgiving and forgiveness, and that when I hear him saying the name and how he will be saying the name with forgiveness and joy, forgiveness and happiness will flood his being. It was such a lovely message, and I thought to myself, “I am so happy that I can say everybody’s names. I have nobody with whom I hold a grudge or any resentment. All is forgiven.”
As I drove down the road passing the structures where I had once worked, I thought of a fellow I used to work with. I could not even remember Rod’s last name even though I had once sat on a few committees with him – committees that were formed with community leaders who had joined in a mission to prevent child sexual abuse. A few years ago, I was working with some wonderful people from the local to the state level in an effort to educate the public on attainable, practical measures to stop child abuse. As I mused about the past and the work that we had been doing, thoughts towards that group of people took a downward turn. Without at first being aware of it, I spent about 20 minutes thinking of all the ways in which the efforts of all these other people only lasted as long as preventing child sexual abuse was the trendy thing to do. When human trafficking and other social issues came to take the forefront, they dropped the ball, no longer attended meetings. and showed little to no interest in giving their time or efforts to the foundation. It was their egos, I decided. They were just in it to make themselves look good. They had latched on to the cause to distinguish themselves and then dropped it when it was no longer a popular topic…I remembered how alone and unsupported I felt. I remember how the CEO of the agency bluntly informed me that while there were generous funds for rescuing victims, there were few directed toward education and prevention. One woman had brashly indicated that the name of the foundation was simply not sexy enough. Imagine! I remembered with no small trace of bitterness the prevention videos we were assigned were so outdated, to the point of being laughable. I remembered how few people attended the informative workshops – free certified training, childcare, and a meal were not enough to persuade them to come learn about the topic. Nobody seemed to care! They could not be motivated to do what it takes to make the horror stop.
I had thought this was a settled matter in my mind. I had forgiven it all. I had stopped thinking about it, but here it was still lurking in my mind unnamed and unexposed – a case against them, an outside force. Today the Voice for God showed me that there was no case. It was my ego which had latched on to the cause. It was my ego that had found a worthy cause to make real in the illusion and then use this as a means of attack against anybody who did not jump on and stay on the bandwagon with me. Anybody who did not want to support this admirable mission was up for condemnation. Their efforts were not sincere. Their efforts were not enough. They had a hidden agenda, and all the while my ego was finding reasons to attack others for what it was doing itself.
Today’s lesson then would beseech me to forgive those who had failed to give their undivided efforts to ending child sexual abuse, while understanding that forgiveness itself is but another illusion. They had not done anything wrong except to disappoint my ego for not joining with it in making another illusion “real.” My unforgiveness and resentment toward these people was my ego’s way of keeping me blind to the crafty, subtle way in which first, it could get me caught up in something that is not real and second, condemn others who did not give “the cause” as much as I thought they should.
Condemnation was making me prisoner. As I “forgave” them, it was myself I forgave because my ego had made the whole case up in the first place – it was all an illusion. I was binding myself to the unreal world by getting ensnared in a social issue that has no reality in Christ. Every effort that I would make to prevent child sexual abuse would be an effort toward making an ungodly practice real in my mind and in the minds of all that joined with me. Illusion breeds illusion, Jesus says in paragraph two.
When I practice the kind of forgiveness that today’s lesson is talking about, it is all swept away. It breeds no lies or misrepresentations. All illusions multiply by a thousand, but not the illusion of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the illusion that ends the dream. I forgive only to realize I have nothing at all to forgive. Nothing here in this illusion is worth taking sides, fighting for, or defending – because nothing here is true. As long as we believe it is, we are entrapping ourselves in the past which we continue to project into the future, skipping over the holy present which leads us to reality, which leads to God.
The world appears to be full of injustice. Attacks against cheaters, child molesters, and charlatans may seem more than justified – yet Jesus says that all are one. Our condemnation towards “others” injures us; only our own forgiveness sets us free. And even this is an illusion because in reality there is nothing at all to forgive – what happens in the dream, stays in the dream.
Dear Father: Thank you for showing me where grudges still festered in my mind unawares. I thought that I was somehow ahead of my brother in our journey back to you, only to find that nope, my brother and I are one. Help me to be kind today – to forgive the trespasses I think that others are guilty of inflicting and to know that in reality there is nothing at all to forgive for nothing here could change the Will of God or His great love and devotion to His Son. Christ needs no thoughts of mercy. Let me see others as Christ. Let me see with His vision; let me know reality. Bring me back forever into You. In the name of Jesus, with Whom we are one. Amen.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 198. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com