ACIM Daily Lesson 198. Only my condemnation injures me.
Only my condemnation injures me.
ACIM Lesson 198
Only my condemnation injures me.
1. Injury is impossible. ²And yet illusion makes illusion. ³If you can condemn, you can be injured. ⁴For 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. ⁵Then does illusion cease to have effects, and those it seemed to have will be undone. ⁶Then are you free, for freedom is your gift, and you can now receive the gift you gave.
2. Condemn and you are made a prisoner. ²Forgive and you are freed. ³Such is the law that rules perception. ⁴It is not a law that knowledge understands, for freedom is a part of knowledge. ⁵To condemn is thus impossible in truth. ⁶What seems to be its influence and its effects have not occurred at all. ⁷Yet must we deal with them a while as if they had. ⁸Illusion makes illusion. ⁹Except one. ¹⁰Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest.
Forgive and Release
I just love these paragraphs. Even though I cannot actually injure myself or others, I have made myself part of an illusion, and here in la la land, illusion breeds illusion. Because I believe in injury, it becomes true for me even if it is not Truth. It will continue to make effects until I cease to value it.
I have had many occasions to hurt myself and others and continue to do so as I clung to my grievances as if they were my salvation. Then, after suffering until I couldn’t take the pain anymore, I forgave and released the grievances, and it was as if nothing had happened. Today, I cannot imagine deliberately holding onto a grievance, and I hope I never fall into that pit of despair again.
Justifying the Failure to Forgive
I can think of several relationships in my life that were once very painful and now they are completely healed. And what Jesus said about how healing will undo the effects is absolutely true. When I forgave the relationships, I felt completely different, and everything shifted for the other as well. I don’t know that this always happens, but it did for me.
In each of these cases, I argued with the idea of forgiveness for a long, painful period. I didn’t say I would not forgive; I swore I wanted to forgive. But at the same time, I resisted letting these people off the hook for what I thought they did to me. I justified my failure to forgive by insisting they were responsible and by pointing out their sins. Sometimes, I showed everyone how guilty they were by exposing my wounds, and by showing everyone how I suffer at their hands. It was ridiculous.
Look for Proof of Innocence
The only person I was hurting was me. The only way out was to declare a mistrial and look for proof of innocence. I had to look past our bodies and our personalities, past our behaviors, and our humanness. But when I did, I found the proof I was looking for. There, just under all the accusations and the evidence of sin, was the shining face of Christ. Who, knew! And I stood there beside him, dazzling in my innocence. Maybe, knowing what I know now, I can skip the journey of suffering and just go straight to freedom for all of us.
Where Illusions End
3. Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. ²All illusions save this one must multiply a thousandfold. ³But this is where illusions end. ⁴Forgiveness is the end of dreams, because it is a dream of waking. ⁵It is not itself the truth. ⁶Yet does it point to where the truth must be, and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. ⁷It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father, knowing They are one.
4. Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death. ²How could there be another way, when this one is the plan of God Himself? ³And why would you oppose it, quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities?
Forgiveness Is Salvation
As I read this lesson, I realized why it is that Jesus keeps harping on forgiveness. ~smile~ Truly, forgiveness is salvation. And truly, salvation is simple. First, I remember that forgiveness is the understanding there is nothing to forgive. Then I remember that no matter what the circumstances, what the problem, what the form suffering takes, the solution is forgiveness.
It took me a very long time to accept that there is nothing to forgive. I told myself that I couldn’t understand this, but the truth is, I didn’t want to forgive. I thought my grievances were my salvation and that to let them go left me weak and vulnerable. Now I understand that my grievances are just part of my own little illusion and that they keep me imprisoned in this illusion. I understand that they don’t protect me, but literally prevent me from knowing who I am.
The Holy Son of God
I am the holy Son of God. I am a Divine Being. But I can’t know this is true if I sit here in this body, cowering in my little corner of the world with my grievances pulled up around me as if I would be defenseless without them. How do I remember my Divinity if I see myself as this weak and vulnerable person embattled and battered, weary and fearful, and in need of defense? How can I remember what I really am if I keep separating out parts of my holy Self so that I have someone onto whom I can project my fearful beliefs?
Here is the simple truth. I am innocent. Everyone else is innocent. Our innocence needs no defense. All else, no matter how imaginative the story gets, is still just a story. The world of guilt and fear that seems to rise up all around us is an illusion. When I read the paper, and it tells me how guilty my brother is, I remind myself that he is innocent.
In his story of pain and suffering, his expression of the ego has done things to harm and be harmed, but this is just a story, and he is not his ego. I forgive what I read. I forgive it because there is nothing to forgive. There is no reason to defend against this brother with my grievances that say he is the guilty one. I rest peacefully in the certainty that he is innocent, as am I.
Learn the Simple Lessons
5. Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand? ²Is it not more intelligent to thank the One Who gives salvation, and accept His gift with gratitude? ³And 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?
God has given us the Answer to all our problems by way of forgiveness. If we remember that forgiveness is the undoing. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. (ACIM, W-46.2:3) It makes no sense to disregard this simple answer and instead keep trying to substitute our own instead.
6. His words will work. ²His words will save. ³His words contain all hope, all blessing and all joy that ever can be found upon this earth. ⁴His words are born in God, and come to you with Heaven’s love upon them. ⁵Those who hear His words have heard the song of Heaven. ⁶For these are the words in which all merge as one at last. ⁷And 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 morning, I awoke to pain in my back from a pulled muscle. I thought it was healed, but obviously, I was premature in that assumption. I was hobbling around getting my coffee and preparing to get to work and realized that I wasn’t going to be able to concentrate. Eventually, I thought about taking a muscle relaxer, but I knew it would make my thinking cloudy, so I didn’t want to. Then I remembered that I could forgive this, and it would disappear.
So, I forgave the belief that pain is real and the belief that I am under some law other than God’s. I forgave the idea I am this damaged body or that I am in this body. And I forgave myself for choosing to use pain for my own purposes, as a defense against God. Then I took my coffee to my office and began my work pain-free. I have been practicing forgiveness consistently for a few weeks now and my mind is getting the idea, I think.
7. This world has many seeming separate haunts where mercy has no meaning, and attack appears as justified. ²Yet all are one; a place where death is offered to God’s Son and to his Father. ³You may think They have accepted. ⁴But if you will look again upon the place where you beheld Their blood, you will perceive a miracle instead. ⁵How foolish to believe that They could die! ⁶How foolish to believe you can attack! ⁷How mad to think that you could be condemned, and that the holy Son of God can die!
8. The stillness of your Self remains unmoved, untouched by thoughts like these, and unaware of any condemnation which could need forgiveness. ²Dreams of any kind are strange and alien to the truth. ³And what but truth could have a Thought which builds a bridge to it that brings illusions to the other side?
Doubts and Uncertainties
One of the ways the ego tries to tempt me into condemning myself is to question my spiritual path and to question my ability to walk it. Each time I slip into old wrong-minded thinking, even if it is only for a few minutes, the ego-mind wants to think about how I am not doing this right and that I never will. It insists that I am just kidding myself when I think I am doing well, or in its more vicious moments, it thinks that I am an outright fraud. At the least, it wants to think about how I have it all wrong or that I can’t tell the difference between following ego and following Spirit.
I Turn to the Light
I can still sometimes feel fear pass through me when this happens. But I also know now that this is the usual ego thinking and doesn’t mean anything. Instead, I turn toward the light. It is in light that we see clearly, not in darkness. I know too much now to fumble around in the dark when light is readily available to me. I am no longer willing to suffer as I used to now that I know I don’t have to. There is an ego thought system in my mind, but there is also the Holy Spirit, and it is my choice the one I turn to.
9. Today we practice letting freedom come to make its home with you. ²The truth bestows these words upon your mind, that you may find the key to light and let the darkness end:
³Only my condemnation injures me.
⁴Only my own forgiveness sets me free.
⁵Do not forget today that there can be no form of suffering that fails to hide an unforgiving thought. ⁶Nor can there be a form of pain forgiveness cannot heal.
When we practice these processes, the mind begins to accept the correction and miracles are the outcome. All suffering comes from an unforgiving thought. I am tired of living from fear and so I practice diligently to forgive all that is not perfect love. I long for complete freedom from all suffering and I will get it by forgiving. ³Only my condemnation injures me.
⁴Only my own forgiveness sets me free.
Stories of Sin and Guilt
These thoughts of grievances and sickness, pain and death, are untrue and can be undone through forgiveness. It doesn’t matter what form they take. If I think I lack, the form of lack, whether it is lack of health or money or relationships, it is all the same thing; it is the belief in lack. This goes for all problems as they appear in the world. All can be healed by forgiving the belief that sourced them.
My story may be that I have sinned, but that cannot be true. My ego sins, but I am not my ego. I am innocent, and I know this is true unless I believe my brother to be guilty. When I blame him, I go back to believing in guilt and forget all about innocence. I go right back into the story and forget what I am, what we are. Regardless of the direction thoughts of guilt take, whether toward myself or toward someone else, they are false.
I Choose the Voice I Will Listen To
I will not believe what I see with my eyes that only report back to me what I want to see. Instead, I will listen to the Voice for God to tell me what to believe. As I listen to His Voice, I remember that we are innocent, and so I forgive only what was never true. You can’t get simpler and more straightforward than that. 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.
Be Kind As You Forgive
10. 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. ²This is the gift the Holy Spirit holds for you from God your Father. ³Let today be celebrated both on earth and in your holy home as well. ⁴Be 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.
Again, Jesus is reminding us that as we forgive, we realize that we are forgiven. This will probably take some time as we prepare a place in our mind for the truth. If so, may we be patient and loving to ourselves. However, it could happen instantly, and one day it will appear it has done so. I am prepared for that to happen as well.
The Silent Stillness
11. Now is there silence all around the world. ²Now is there stillness where before there was a frantic rush of thoughts that made no sense. ³Now is there tranquil light across the face of earth, made quiet in a dreamless sleep. ⁴And now the Word of God alone remains upon it. ⁵Only that can be perceived an instant longer. ⁶Then are symbols done, and everything you ever thought you made completely vanished from the mind that God forever knows to be His only Son.
12. There is no condemnation in him. ²He is perfect in his holiness. ³He needs no thoughts of mercy. ⁴Who could give him gifts when everything is his? ⁵And 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? ⁶In 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.
The World Will Heal
While we still seem to be here in the world, our job is to forgive it. When we do this, the world will be a lovely place, peaceful and loving for a while, because we have forgiven every condemning thought we had projected onto it. Then we will be raised up into God, and the thought that made the world and all the symbols that were made with it, will fade away.
Nearer to the End of Everything
13. Today we come still nearer to the end of everything that yet would stand between this vision and our sight. ²And we are glad that we have come this far, and recognize that He Who brought us here will not forsake us now. ³For He would give to us the gift that God has given us through Him today. ⁴Now is the time for your deliverance. ⁵The time has come. ⁶The time has come today.
Indeed! And I will not waste this day but rather I will use it to come closer to full deliverance.
If we decide that certain circumstances are justification for our judgment and condemnation, we have decided those same circumstances are a good reason to suffer. By making this choice, we have also decided we prefer to focus on illusion than realize truth.
The ego, which is the wish to be focused on illusion instead of realizing truth, will come up with certain circumstances that seem to absolutely justify our judgment. But that is just the ego preferring attention on illusion instead of truth realization.
Do not be fooled by the ego’s tricks. Whenever you are tempted to condemn, ask yourself this clear-minded question: Do I want freedom and truth? If the answer is yes, then shift to a spiritual practice that will help free you from the current temptation to judge and condemn.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 198 click here.
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