Judgment or forgiveness? -- It’s your choice.
A Course in Miracles has an interesting view on the subject of judgement, and it is not easy to digest.
“He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive.” (W-pll.1.1.4)
So, what kind of situation could we find ourselves in, that we would knowingly choose not to forgive? I will let you come up with your own examples. You surely don’t need mine. For the sake of this lesson, take a moment to write them down. We are going to examine them later. I will wait.
One thing that is important for any lesson to be learned in any situation, is that you realize they are all the same in content, only different in form. And with many ideas presented in A Course in Miracles (ACIM), differences in form are totally meaningless. The content or real meaning is the basis for the learning opportunity, not the form. Understanding the content is the key to healing the situation, problem, fear, etc.
“Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you.” (T-31.VIII.3.1)
My guess is that most things on your list are things that made you angry, perhaps VERY angry, even hateful. And we surely have an infinite number of reasons to justify our anger… or so we think, or were led to believe. Truth says, “Not so!” Deny it as you may, all your choices are conscious and not without consequence, but they are not irrevocable…the choices or the consequences. You can always change your mind. Thus the Course’ reminder,
“Choose once again." (T-31.VIII.3.1.5)
If we understood we were choosing between joy, peace, happiness, contentment, love and Heaven, or conflict, unhappiness, pain, sickness, death, or hell, the choice would be obvious. Yet, this IS what we are choosing between when we choose to judge and not forgive.
So let’s take a look at the most often stated reason not to forgive -- anger. For the sake of discussion let’s think of anger simply as a lack of love.
The Course makes a profound statement in saying,
“Anger is never justified.” (T-3-.VI.1)
And in another context,
“I am never angry for the reason I think.” ( W-5.2.3 Paraphrased)
Keeping in the mindset of the earlier list of all the reasons you might not want to forgive, take a moment to list your thoughts that appear to justify your anger. Again, I will wait.
Now consider this. In every human interaction in any form, only one of two things is taking place. It is either love expressed, or a call for love. (Applying this idea to everythingon your list is absolutely imperative. Not one item or person on either list should be excluded if the lesson it presents is to be learned.)
If someone is demonstrating love (toward you) in any form, what is the natural response? Love, of course!
But what if you realized that anger (frustration, animosity, abuse…pick any word of attack in its myriad of forms) was “a call for love”, what would be the only reasonable response? Again, love!
So pick a person on your list, and an observation that you have interpreted as unloving or unforgivable, and apply the idea that their demonstration, outburst -- whatever -- is a call for love. How should you respond? With love, of course.
I know…you think you can’t love or forgive, and that is perfectly understandable, but only if you have a false idea of who or what you are. And I assure you, if you think you cannot forgive, or cannot love…you DO!
If you see yourself (or your brother) as a body, capable of doing harm, of causing you pain, or physical destruction in any way, the only possible response is retaliation, more anger, or even mayhem and war…and such is the answer of the world. Has this answer ever served a legitimate purpose or provided a real solution? No. So why keep trying to see, or solve a problem with the same insane thinking that brought about the problem in the first place?
But, (in Reality) you are not OF this world, only IN it, and even that only temporarily. What you are is an extension of God, Spirit, Perfect Love. In other words, you are God’s Son. And as such it is impossible for you to do anything but love… to respond with anything but love or forgiveness.
I am going to make no attempt to explain how to respond with love in any situation. That will be given you by your own Inner Teacher (the Holy Spirit) at the time it is needed.
So, to summarize, is there anything that you can possibly see in your brother (or yourself) that would or should provoke anger or unforgiveness? NO!
When the Master said, “Judge not lest ye be judged”, he was not talking about your judgment of others, or even their judgment of you, but demonstrating that judgment is an attack only on ourselves.
In looking at your brother, the Course says,
“As you see [perceive] him [your brother] you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation [forgiveness, love] to him and receiving it yourself. “ (T-8.III,4,2 ) Words in brackets were added for emphasis.
“Can you to whom God says, ‘Release My Son!’ be tempted not to listen, when you learn that it is you for whom He asks release?” (T-31.VII.15.5)
So what will it be? Judgment or forgiveness? It’s your choice. Make it wisely.