ACIM Reading for October 13
Manual for Teachers
10. How Is Judgment Relinquished?
Judgment, like other devices by which the world of illusions is maintained, is totally misunderstood by the world. It is actually confused with wisdom, and substitutes for truth. As the world uses the term, an individual is capable of “good” and “bad” judgment, and his education aims at strengthening the former and minimizing the latter. There is, however, considerable confusion about what these categories mean. What is “good” judgment to one is “bad” judgment to another. Further, even the same person classifies the same action as showing “good” judgment at one time and “bad” judgment at another time. Nor can any consistent criteria for determining what these categories are be really taught. At any time the student may disagree with what his would-be teacher says about them, and the teacher himself may well be inconsistent in what he believes. “Good” judgment, in these terms, does not mean anything. No more does “bad.”
It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up. He has actually merely become more honest. Recognizing that judgment was always impossible for him, he no longer attempts it. This is no sacrifice. On the contrary, he puts himself in a position where judgment through him rather than by him can occur. And this judgment is neither “good” nor “bad.” It is the only judgment there is, and it is only one: “God’s Son is guiltless, and sin does not exist.”
The aim of our curriculum, unlike the goal of the world’s learning, is the recognition that judgment in the usual sense is impossible. This is not an opinion but a fact. In order to judge anything rightly, one would have to be fully aware of an inconceivably wide range of things; past, present and to come. One would have to recognize in advance all the effects of his judgments on everyone and everything involved in them in any way. And one would have to be certain there is no distortion in his perception, so that his judgment would be wholly fair to everyone on whom it rests now and in the future. Who is in a position to do this? Who except in grandiose fantasies would claim this for himself?
Remember how many times you thought you knew all the “facts” you needed for judgment, and how wrong you were! Is there anyone who has not had this experience? Would you know how many times you merely thought you were right, without ever realizing you were wrong? Why would you choose such an arbitrary basis for decision making? Wisdom is not judgment; it is the relinquishment of judgment. Make then but one more judgment. It is this: There is Someone with you Whose judgment is perfect. He does know all the facts; past, present and to come. He does know all the effects of His judgment on everyone and everything involved in any way. And He is wholly fair to everyone, for there is no distortion in His perception.
Therefore lay judgment down, not with regret but with a sigh of gratitude. Now are you free of a burden so great that you could merely stagger and fall down beneath it. And it was all illusion. Nothing more. Now can the teacher of God rise up unburdened, and walk lightly on. Yet it is not only this that is his benefit. His sense of care is gone, for he has none. He has given it away, along with judgment. He gave himself to Him Whose judgment he has chosen now to trust, instead of his own. Now he makes no mistakes. His Guide is sure. And where he came to judge, he comes to bless. Where now he laughs, he used to come to weep.
It is not difficult to relinquish judgment. But it is difficult indeed to try to keep it. The teacher of God lays it down happily the instant he recognizes its cost. All of the ugliness he sees about him is its outcome. All of the pain he looks upon is its result. All of the loneliness and sense of loss; of passing time and growing hopelessness; of sickening despair and fear of death; all these have come of it. And now he knows that these things need not be. Not one is true. For he has given up their cause, and they, which never were but the effects of his mistaken choice, have fallen from him. Teacher of God, this step will bring you peace. Can it be difficult to want but this?
ACIM Workbook Lesson for October 13
The hush of Heaven holds my heart today.
Father, how still today! How quietly do all things fall in place! This is the day that has been chosen as the time in which I come to understand the lesson that there is no need that I do anything. In You is every choice already made. In You has every conflict been resolved. In You is everything I hope to find already given me. Your peace is mine. My heart is quiet, and my mind at rest. Your Love is Heaven, and Your Love is mine.
The stillness of today will give us hope that we have found the way, and travelled far along it to a wholly certain goal. Today we will not doubt the end which God Himself has promised us. We trust in Him, and in our Self, Who still is One with Him.
ACIM Q & A for Today
A: In general, practicing forgiveness involves looking at your ego thoughts without judgment, and becoming increasingly aware of the price you are paying to hold onto these ego/wrong-minded thoughts. The kinds of thoughts Jesus asks you to watch for are thoughts of judgment or condemnation; thoughts of anger/rage/annoyance; thoughts of vulnerability, victimization, fear, guilt, anxiety, depression; special love or special hate thoughts; any specific thoughts that keep you feeling separate from others. The lessons in the workbook give specific instructions about how to practice searching your mind for these thoughts, and then what to do once you become aware of them — this varies according to the theme of the day’s lesson.
Some examples: (1) If you are angry or annoyed with someone, you might simply remind yourself that your anger is not really about what you think it’s about — “I am never upset for the reason I think” (Lesson 5). Then you might continue with: I rejected the love of Jesus again, judged myself for it, felt guilty over it, and then rather than smile at such foolishness, I listened to my ego and projected the guilt onto X. That is why I am feeling angry. Regardless of what this other person has done, my anger is an interpretation. Now I have a choice. I can simply ask for help to let go of my guilt and strive to see shared interests, or I can continue to blame this person for my being upset and feel that my anger is justified. And if I choose to continue to judge and blame, that’s okay. I will never feel peaceful or happy for very long if I do that, but that does not make me sinful or unworthy of Heaven’s Love. In Lesson 134, Jesus asks us to “briefly consider all the evil things you thought of him [the person at whom your anger is directed], and each time ask yourself, ‘Would I accuse myself for doing this?’” (W.pI.134.15:3).
(2) If you find yourself anxious or fearful about your own or a loved one’s well-being (e.g., physical, psychological, financial problems, or any form of victimization), ask for help from the Holy Spirit or Jesus to see the problem as it is, not the way you have set it up (T.27.VII.2:2). In other words, you could remind yourself again that you must be looking through the ego’s eyes, which are programmed to see innocent victims; because if you had chosen the Holy Spirit or Jesus as your Teacher, you would not be anxious or fearful, regardless of what is going on. Perception is always interpretation. The miracle“merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false” (W.pII.13.1:3). So you look on devastation — you do not deny what your eyes are seeing nor how you are feeling — but then you just remind yourself that you have chosen to ask the ego instead of Jesus to interpret what you are looking on. A wonderful way of going about this is described in the last paragraph of Chapter 5 in the text, which concludes with a series of statements Jesus asks us to think of whenever we are not wholly joyous. It begins with “I must have decided wrongly, because I am not at peace” (T.5.VII.6).Forgiveness always involves our admitting that we are wrong, and that we are willing to make a different choice. We need not make the other choice; but we must at least acknowledge that we are wrong in how we are seeing things. When our fear lessens over a period of time, we will gladly and quickly make the right choice as soon as we become aware of our wrong-minded thinking.
(3) If you are caught in a special relationship, feeling completely dependent on something or someone, and terrified of being without this source of comfort, pleasure, assurance, companionship, conflict, etc., then once again you can start by being honest about what is going on. Jesus asks for complete honesty with ourselves and with him: “Watch carefully and see what it is you are really asking for. Be very honest with yourself in this, for we must hide nothing from each other” (T.4.IV.8:1,2). The honesty would come in your acknowledging that you are not yet ready to accept the love of Jesus in your mind as your only reality; and therefore you have latched on to something outside your mind to supply the lack, and satisfy your needs as you have defined them. Not judging yourself for doing so would help you move along in your process of undoing your guilt. Being completely honest with yourself about the purpose of the relationship with the other person, object, or conditions is an essential part of the forgiveness process. When you focus on the purpose of the relationship, you are helping yourself prepare for the shift in purpose from the ego to the Holy Spirit, when you are ready to ask for His help. In other words, right now you are seeing yourself as limited and needy — not as God created you — and you are seeing this other person, substance, etc., as there to fulfill your needs, which constitutes an attack. The separation is thereby being reinforced. That is the purpose of the ego; so whenever you identify with the ego, because you are too fearful of the Love of God, that is what you will do. That does not make you a sinner, however! Heaven’s Love cannot be changed by our insanity.