VIII. The Meaning of the Last Judgment, P 3
3 The Last Judgment is generally thought of as a procedure undertaken by God. Actually it will be undertaken by my brothers with my help. It is a final healing rather than a meting out of punishment, however much you may think that punishment is deserved. Punishment is a concept totally opposed to right-mindedness, and the aim of the Last Judgment is to restore right-mindedness to you. The Last Judgment might be called a process of right evaluation. It simply means that everyone will finally come to understand what is worthy and what is not. After this, the ability to choose can be directed rationally. Until this distinction is made, however, the vacillations between free and imprisoned will cannot but continue.
I had always imagined that when I died I would stand before God and be judged. I thought I would have to look at my life being replayed before me and see every mistake I had ever made balanced against the things I did right. I imagined God frowning down at me in either anger or disappointment. When I would do something especially shameful I would cringe at the thought that one day, I would have to explain myself to God. No wonder I was afraid of death.
In spite of my fear of the last judgment, it was hard to let go. I felt I deserved to be punished. More importantly, I felt others needed to be punished, but the problem was that if I believed they needed to be punished, then I could not believe I would be found innocent either. It’s ridiculous to me now, but I would think of some people and feel a thrill of righteousness as I imagined them finally getting theirs when they had to face God. God was my own personal avenger.
The unfortunate side effect was that the sword cut both ways and so I would have to face the same avenger. I guess that’s why we thought up purgatory or levels of heaven or some such nonsense. We were trying to find a way to condemn others without condemning ourselves. We are always trying to do this, but it cannot work.
We are experiencing the last judgment right now. We are learning to tell the difference between what is valuable and what has no value. Until we learn to tell the difference we have no basis for judgment, and so we cannot make a rational choice. We are always choosing between God and ego. We do this all day long every day. But our choices are haphazard, and often senseless, because we don’t understand why we make the choices we do, and because we are mistaken in our reasoning.
This happens over things that we think of as major decisions and the ones that are so minor in our minds that we hardly notice them. This morning I went online and checked my bank accounts like I always do. The first thing I noticed is that the bank did not add my house note like they promised to a week ago, and like they should have when I first signed the note.
I chose to be angry about that. I thought of all the times when I have had to ask them to do things more than once and I thought about how careless this is for a bank. I chose to reign in my anger and thought about how I would approach the problem to let them know that I wanted this fixed without appearing bitchy. All of this happened in maybe a single minute.
Then, I realized the choice I had made. I chose anger, projection, and blame. I chose anxiety over peace. I chose to teach all of this to the bank personnel that I spoke with, and hopefully to do so in a way that left me looking innocent. I chose to teach us all that getting the banking right was our purpose, and determined our worth, and determined our state of mind. If it all went well then we could be at peace. If it was not done correctly then peace was out the door and someone was guilty.
Seen like that, I easily and quickly made a saner choice. I re-evaluated it and decided to accept the Atonement in this situation. I opened my heart and asked for Love to heal my mind and this situation. This is how I made another choice. You see! I am learning to tell the valuable from the valueless! This is the last judgment occurring right here before our eyes.
I am doing this with Jesus, under his direction and with his help. And in so doing, I am being a teacher for God and am sharing this with my brothers at the bank through my actions and attitude, and now to you through the re-telling of the story. Of course, the peace is spread throughout the Sonship and so the healing is for us all.
I am learning that all decisions are useful for this healing, not just the ones that feel important to me. I am learning to watch for these opportunities and to open my mind to the truth. In this situation with the banking error this morning, I could have closed my mind to the Holy Spirit. If I were very fearful about money, I might have been unwilling to see the bank as innocent. I might have been more interested in defending myself and unable to see that this defense is valueless.
Where I sometimes remain confused is in relationships. Anywhere I have a lot of fear I can become confused about what is important. When in fear I tend to want to set up my defenses and this seems to be a valuable choice. Sometimes I cannot think past my defenses. I just cannot see how the other person or the situation can be anything but threatening and I cannot imagine defenselessness as being a viable option.
These are the opportunities to be taught differently. My experience has been that I can be easily healed if I step away from my fear long enough to ask for the Atonement and if I can trust enough to accept the healing. It is easier if I remember that my trust in Jesus is well founded. It helps to remember that the Holy Spirit responds to my slightest invitation. I am not doing this alone. I am fully supported.