Commentary on Lesson 86

by Robert Perry

PARAGRAPH 1. (71) Only God's plan for salvation will work.

Is this really what I have been doing-searching "wildly about" for happiness? Have I been engaging in "idle seeking"-with my engine racing furiously, but without the vehicle going anywhere? Why would I do that with the most important search of all, while I approach other, less important issues, with a much more methodical and thought-out approach? It's as if I have been planning and organizing my stamp collecting with great care, while my search for salvation itself has been wild and useless.

PARAGRAPH 2

I particularly like the second of these. We believe in God's plan in principle, but there are just so many exceptions that, in the end, the exceptions become the rule.

PARAGRAPH 3. (72) Holding grievances is an attack on God's plan for salvation.

As we saw with this lesson originally, holding grievances implies that salvation is all about bodies behaving the way we want (which they hardly ever do, which is why we hold grievances). This, in turn, implies that God is playing the same game we are: Just as we are wanting other bodies to behave differently and holding grievances when they don't, He is wanting our body to behave differently and holding grievances when it doesn't.

We see Him, therefore, as a God of demands: "Do this, don't do that, or face My wrath." Following His Will is seen as all about subjugating our own needs for the sake of a higher agenda. Quite naturally, all of this is makes us want to protect ourselves from God, put some buffers between Him and us, so that He doesn't take away everything. And that fits very nicely the ego's goal of getting us to stay away from Him.

As a result of all this, when the Course says, "Forgive your brother," we unconsciously hear, "Make a sacrifice so God won't be so upset with your bad behavior." And then we think, "Well, hold on here. What about my happiness?"

By dragging our feet with the Course, then, we think we are protecting our interests. But we are actually protecting the interests of the stranger in us, the ego, and thereby defeating our own best interests. Do we really want to continue doing that?

PARAGRAPH 4

These specific applications apply the idea where it counts, in situations where we want to hold a grievance. As we look at such situations, we face our crucial choice: Will we realize that God's plan of forgiveness is actually in our best interests, or will we try to protect our interests against that plan, seeing it as asking us to sacrifice our needs for the sake of some higher agenda?

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