VI. Judgment and the Authority Problem 1-5
- We have already discussed the Last Judgment, but in insufficient detail. After the Last Judgment there will be no more. Judgment is symbolic because beyond perception there is no judgment. When the Bible says, “Judge not that ye be not judged,” it means that if you judge the reality of others, you will be unable to avoid judging your own.
- The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace. Judgment is the process on which perception but not knowledge rests. I have discussed this before in terms of the selectivity of perception, pointing out that evaluation is its obvious prerequisite. Judgment always involves rejection. It never emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged whether in you or in others. What has been perceived and rejected, or judged and found wanting, remains in your mind because it has been perceived. One of the illusions from which you suffer is the belief that what you judged against has no effect. This cannot be true unless you also believe that what you judged against does not exist. You evidently do not believe this, or you would not have judged against it. In the end, it does not matter whether your judgment is right or wrong. Either way you are placing your belief in the unreal. This cannot be avoided in any type of judgment because it implies the belief that reality is yours to select from.
- You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourself and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you are and what your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you judged them. All uncertainty comes from the belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourself. In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process that enables recognition to replace perception.
- You are very fearful of everything you have perceived but have refused to accept. You believe that, because you have refused to accept it, you have lost control over it. This is why you see it in nightmares, or in pleasant disguises in what seem to be your happier dreams. Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness. It is not dangerous in itself, but you have made it seem dangerous to you.
- When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are. All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished. Yet if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment. You will also regard judgment with fear, believing that it will someday be used against you. This belief can exist only to the extent that you believe in the efficacy of judgment as a weapon of defense for your own authority.
We judge others at the cost of knowing them. And because we judge them we cannot have peace. Judgement rests upon perception. If I perceive you as a snooty rich person who was born in the lap of luxury, I will not know you, I will know what my perception is of you and I will let that perception keep me from getting to know you. If I am the kind of person who likes to sidle up to the rich and win their favor, I will be extra nice to you, flatter you, and make sure you notice me in hopes of you wanting me to be your friend. I will drop your name in conversation hoping that other people will think that I have an affiliation with you. Maybe I will join the same church or the same gym that you do. I will over-extend my more modest budget by showing up at the same places you do in hopes that you will notice me. However, even if you do notice me, perhaps even make a friendly gesture, I will never know you in this way, I will only perceive you as different than me and someone I can perhaps use to make myself feel richer. If I am the kind of person who resents the rich and feels inferior to those who have more money than I do, I will say snide things about you and complain to others about how unfair it is that you have two tails and I only have one. I will call you privileged and bitch and moan that you’ve got more than your fair share. I will blame the troubles of the world upon you and all the other rich people who think they are better than the rest of us. No matter how many people I can get to agree with my perceptions about you, I will never be able to know you. I will only know my judgment of you, which rests upon the blurred lens of double-vision.
We will never have peace as long as we perceive ourselves and others through the lens of humanity for we will constantly be using a scale of who is ahead and who is behind and who is at the same level. Who needs to be put in their place, who needs to be tolerated, who deserves a helping hand, and who needs a kick in the butt? As long as we are in a state of judgment we will never know our brother nor will we know ourselves as the miracles of God. We judge because we have assumed a role that simply is not ours to assume. And it wears us out!
Jesus reminds us in paragraph three that meeting ourselves and our brothers with no judgment releases us and brings to us a deep peace. When we realize what we are, when we realize what our brothers are, judgment will no longer have any hold upon us because it will mean nothing. I will behold myself as a miracle of God, His Son! And I will behold you as brother. I will know you and to know you is to love you. Your beauty and your light, your kindness and generosity will not be lost to me because I know you. I will only be certain of you and have no more doubts about your character or your goodwill or your worthiness.
Jesus tells us that we do not need judgment to organize our lives or ourselves. When we come to the truth about ourselves, the last judgment takes place automatically. We have no more use for it for we recognize who and what we are. We know. We have no need for perception, no need for judgment. We are God’s Son, holy, pure, innocent of all wrongdoing, and Spirit, like our Father.
When we accept our perceptions, we offer no judgment, we practice the miracle. We get beyond perception. We practice knowing rather than perceiving. I see you as someone who has more money than I do, more status, a better education, and coming from a prestigious bloodline. I accept this. I do not judge you as snooty or humble, good or bad, better or worse. I have no need to put you in my story or bring my story to yours. I do not have to drop your name or call you names. I just know you as I know myself, as a Son of God, radiant in the Light of His Love.
When we do not practice the miracle, we feel compelled to judge. We feel as if we have lost control and can do nothing but judge. Our judgments against others are never true or right or positive. We are not in a position to judge even ourselves because in a state of perception, we have no real knowledge. What I see about you is not the whole story! Any reactions I have toward you are based on a tiny little bit of interaction or observation that I dreamed up about you. And yet I still have a terrible time freeing myself from the addiction I have to judging you and judging everything. And when I judge, I put myself in a dangerous state. Not because my judgments are dangerous, but because I believe in them and I know that what I pronounce about you and everyone else, is what is pronounced upon me. And so I live in fear.
Judgment wears us out, it causes us stress, it keeps our mind in a state of unrest. Our judgments affect our bodies – in the Spirit we are incapable of wearing thin, and yet our perceptions of ourselves and others are ones of frailty, of growing weak, of being tired and worn out. When we perceive right we simply accept our perceptions as a means to inform us if we have an opportunity to receive a miracle or extend one. When we begin to accept our perceptions rather than judge them, they become miracle perceptions and can only be used for helpfulness, Atonement, and happiness.
Conversely, when we judge, we practice a wish to be the author of reality, to take God’s place and put ourselves in charge of deciding what is good and what is not so good, what flies and what stays grounded, who is worthy and who is not. Instead of miracles, we offer a weak form of the world’s kind of charity at best and vilest forms of condemnation at worst. Neither one of these are past correction, but they certainly are a waste of time and increase suffering rather than shorten it!
We will close our study today at paragraph five and continue tomorrow with the rest of Chapter Three, section VI. Judgement and the Authority Problem. Join with me in reflecting upon the concepts in our text reading today. Ask the Lord to deepen your understanding of the role judgment plays in keeping us in the shadowland of fear. Ask God to make it very clear to your mind that there is absolutely no joy and therefore no value in judgment. We do not need it. We do not heed it. We are not to be coerced by its clamors and yammers. We are not called to be case builders, accusers, and prosecutors. We are the miracles of God called to stand with Christ and draw all of Creation to Him. When we know God, we know the Author of Reality, and I know you and you know me, and judgment plays no part in the knowing!
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3: The innocent perception. VI. Judgment and the authority problem. 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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