II. SECTION 12. What is the Ego?
Lesson 335 I choose to see my brother’s sinlessness.
- Forgiveness is a choice. I never see my brother as he is, for that is far beyond perception. What I see in him is merely what I wish to see, because it stands for what I want to be the truth. It is to this alone that I respond, however much I seem to be impelled by outside happenings. I choose to see what I would look upon, and this I see, and only this. My brother’s sinlessness shows me that I would look upon my own. And I will see it, having chosen to behold my brother in its holy light.
- What could restore Your memory to me, except to see my brother’s sinlessness? His holiness reminds me that he was created one with me, and like myself. In him I find my Self, and in Your Son I find the memory of You as well.
Our reminder for today is that forgiveness is a choice. We decide to forgive because we know that we can never see who our brother truly is from our ego’s perception. We can only see the splintered parts of him and never the whole. We only see what we choose to see, what we want to see, what we want him to be. When we look upon our brothers, our ego bids us see their faults – the things about them that grate upon our nerves, their selfishness, stupidity, and self-importance. The Holy Spirit calls us to let that go and choose to see our brother’s purity, his innocence, his grandeur, and holiness. When we want to see this in our brothers, we are choosing to see this in ourselves – and we can come to God as His beloved, worthy Sons, made in His image, cherished, His Treasure.
Many times we get caught up with what forgiveness expects from us. Lately, I have been enjoying the dramatized story of Queen Elizabeth on Netflix’s The Crown. In the episode that I watched last night, Edward, the would-be king who abdicated the throne, was trying to worm his way back into the country, building alliances. Tired of his pursuit of pleasure over service, he hoped to become an ambassador for the country he had betrayed during World War II. For betray his country he did, alerting the Nazis in strategic maneuvers, cozying up to Hitler with plans to regain the crown when Germany won the war. Elizabeth, at least the fictionalized character, asks Billy Graham how far she is to go in forgiveness. And of course, Billy Graham’s response is forgiveness – all must be forgiven. We must hold no hard spots toward anybody for any reason. We are to forgive on an individual level and a universal level, cherishing not for one-microsecond resentment or grudge-holding.
Queen Elizabeth, no different from ourselves, balks at this. However, there is no reason at all to resist. When we forgive a child molester, it does not mean that we call them up the next time we need a childminder! When we forgive a killer, it does not mean that we put our lives or the lives of our loved ones in danger again. When we forgive those who disrespect us, call us names, cozy up to us for the wrong reasons – we do not need at all to associate with these individuals. We offer them forgiveness and continue to forgive them, but we have every right to protect ourselves and the people that they would attempt to draw in with their ill intent. We do not sleep with them, invite them to our house, or go places where they show up. We do not listen to their complaints, excuses, gossip, or join their lost causes. We do not share our secrets with them, and we give no opportunity for them to continue using us to inflate their egos. And we certainly do not give them the place in our lives where holy, pure relationships are allowed only.
One of the things in which I remind myself often is this: If I am urged to put down my ego before the Holy Spirit, surely I am not required to take up the egos of others! Many times we bring needless torment and sorrow into our lives, ongoing stress, and distraction, simply by not realizing that forgiveness does not entail continuing an unholy relationship. Queen Elizabeth could offer her disgraced Uncle David blanket forgiveness without allowing him to take on an ambassadorship. We can see our brother’s sinlessness in the spirit, continue to love him, remember him with affection, and be grateful for all the lessons learned from how he hurt us and betrayed our trust without involving ourselves in any other way. When he is willing to lay his ego aside and seeks a holy relationship with us built on purity and love – then and only then do we have anything to build upon!
When we see our brother as sinless, our memory of God is restored to us. When we can overlook all that the ego has wrought in his life, we know that he is one with us and like us. In our brothers, we find ourselves because we are all one. It is only through understanding this concept and practicing it that we find God. As long as we are willing to send our brother to hell by our unforgiving, grudge-bearing attitudes – we will never remember our Father and who we are in Him.
Our salvation is brought to us through our brothers, especially those who hurt us the most! For it is our brothers who act out our own shadow, those secret, hidden things we have tucked away in dark corners unwilling to face until the day we decide that there will be absolutely nothing that stands between our Selves and God. When we have learned what we need to learn from our special relationships, we can lay them down, just as we lay down our egos. Being rid of them, they can no longer hurt us. There is no saving the ego; there is no keeping the special relationship. It must be forgiven, overlooked, brought to the Holy Spirit, and not picked up again. This is how we choose to see our brother’s sinlessness. We break the cycle of hurt and despair and give him to God.
A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 335. Foundation of Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). p. 470.
Audio and notes and application for Lesson 335 (2019) are reprinted by permission by http://www.eckiefriar.com.