Love holds no grievances.
W-pI.68.1. You who were created by love like itself can hold no grievances and know your Self. 2 To hold a grievance is to forget who you are. 3 To hold a grievance is to see yourself as a body. 4 To hold a grievance is to let the ego rule your mind and to condemn the body to death. 5 Perhaps you do not yet fully realize just what holding grievances does to your mind. 6 It seems to split you off from your Source and make you unlike Him. 7 It makes you believe that He is like what you think you have become, for no one can conceive of his Creator as unlike himself.
As I often do with important words from the Course, I looked up the definition of grievance. I wanted to be sure I was fully understanding what is being asked of me. Here is what it said.
a real or imagined wrong or other cause for complaint or protest, especially unfair treatment.
“failure to redress genuine grievances”
- an official statement of a complaint over something believed to be wrong or unfair.
- a feeling of resentment over something believed to be wrong or unfair.
“he was nursing a grievance”
This is helpful. It widens my understanding of what a grievance is. Have I ever felt any of these things? Have I felt I was treated unjustly, or felt insulted? Have I ever felt like I had cause for complaint? Who among us has not? I bet everyone has had the thought if not actually said, “That’s not fair.” And add to that, a grievance can be imagined. Have you ever been angry with someone only to find out that you were mistaken about the whole thing, or you misinterpreted what was said?
Our purpose here is to awaken to our true Self, and we cannot do that if we hold grievances. That is why I will not do it. A grievance might come into my mind, but I see it right away and I release it just as quickly. A grievance is like an iron gate keeping me out of Heaven. I would be insane to hold onto a grievance knowing the cost. Jesus uses very strong language in this paragraph to be sure we understand just how self-destructive it is to hold a grievance.
W-pI.68.2. Shut off from your Self, which remains aware of Its likeness to Its Creator, your Self seems to sleep, while the part of your mind that weaves illusions in its sleep appears to be awake. 2 Can all this arise from holding grievances? 3 Oh, yes! 4 For he who holds grievances denies he was created by love, and his Creator has become fearful to him in his dream of hate. 5 Who can dream of hatred and not fear God?
While we hold grievances, we see everything from an upside-down perspective. We think we are awake dreaming of being the Son of God, while actually, we are asleep dreaming of being Human while we are actually awake in God. We sleep, afraid to wake, afraid to face God Who has become fearful to us. We hold grievances and so we believe God does too.
W-pI.68.3. It is as sure that those who hold grievances will redefine God in their own image, as it is certain that God created them like Himself, and defined them as part of Him. 2 It is as sure that those who hold grievances will suffer guilt, as it is certain that those who forgive will find peace. 3 It is as sure that those who hold grievances will forget who they are, as it is certain that those who forgive will remember.
What does it cost us to hold onto our grievances? We will believe that God holds our errors against us. We will not see that we are like God, that He created us in His image. To hold a grievance, we must hate and God is Love so we cannot be like Him. Or He must be as hateful as we are. One or the other and either way, holding a grievance seems to separate us from our Creator. If we hold a grievance, we will forget who we are. If we forgive, we will remember.
W-pI.68.4. Would you not be willing to relinquish your grievances if you believed all this were so? 2 Perhaps you do not think you can let your grievances go. 3 That, however, is simply a matter of motivation. 4 Today we will try to find out how you would feel without them. 5 If you succeed even by ever so little, there will never be a problem in motivation ever again.
Jesus knows that we can let our grievances go if we are motivated to do so. I used to think that I wanted to let a grievance go but that I just couldn’t. Because I wanted my ex-husband to be the cause of all my problems, it seemed counterproductive to forgive him. Of course, that was not how I let myself think about it at the time.
I told myself that I couldn’t forgive him because it was so clear that he was guilty. I could point to every unkind thing he had ever done as proof of his built. Once I began to understand I could not keep these grievances and be happy, I felt like it was hopeless. I couldn’t forgive him and I had to forgive him. I used this lesson and other helpful practices from the Course to motivate myself to forgive.
It took a while but eventually, all grievances had been forgiven. Then I realized that a lot of my grievances were my own misinterpretations. And finally, my mind was so clear that I began to love this man again, and thus to love myself. I have never since believed any of my grievances, nor do I tell myself the lie that I cannot forgive.
W-pI.68.5. Begin today’s extended practice period by searching your mind for those against whom you hold what you regard as major grievances. 2 Some of these will be quite easy to find. 3 Then think of the seemingly minor grievances you hold against those you like and even think you love. 4 It will quickly become apparent that there is no one against whom you do not cherish grievances of some sort. 5 This has left you alone in all the universe in your perception of yourself.
If you are honest, you will for sure discover that you hold something against everyone. Doing this for the first time was a real shocker for me. It was easy to find grievances against my bosses, and against my husband, and even friends. But when I found grievances against my beloved children, I knew that I had my work cut out for me.
W-pI.68.6. Determine now to see all these people as friends. 2 Say to them all, thinking of each one in turn as you do so:
3 I would see you as my friend, that I may remember you are part of me and come to know myself.
4 Spend the remainder of the practice period trying to think of yourself as completely at peace with everyone and everything, safe in a world that protects you and loves you, and that you love in return. 5 Try to feel safety surrounding you, hovering over you and holding you up. 6 Try to believe, however briefly, that nothing can harm you in any way. 7 At the end of the practice period tell yourself:
8 Love holds no grievances. 9 When I let all my grievances go I will know I am perfectly safe.
I have succeeded a great deal in reaching this feeling of safety. It is not complete because there are still times when I feel vulnerable, but I know these will be undone as well. I am highly motivated to feel safety surrounding me, hovering over me and holding me up all the time and in every circumstance because I feel that most of the time now and so know it is possible.
W-pI.68.7. The short practice periods should include a quick application of today’s idea in this form, whenever any thought of grievance arises against anyone, physically present or not:
2 Love holds no grievances. 3 Let me not betray my Self.
4 In addition, repeat the idea several times an hour in this form:
5 Love holds no grievances. 6 I would wake to my Self by laying all my grievances aside and wakening in Him.