Lesson 352 • December-18

Judgment and love are opposites. From one come all the sorrows of the world. But from the other comes the peace of God Himself.


Practice Instructions

See complete instructions in separate document. A short summary:

  • Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
  • Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
  • Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
  • Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
  • Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in meditation.
  • Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
  • Read the "What Is" section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.

Commentary

In the introduction to the Text, Jesus says, "The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite" (T-In.1:8). Here, he says that love's opposite is judgment. If you relax your mind and let your thinking go loosely associative, it is fairly easy to see that judgment and fear are the same thing. If I judge something as bad, dangerous, or evil, I will fear it. If I fear something I will judge it as bad. In "The Two Emotions" (T-13.V), it is clear that both love and fear are "a way of seeing," and that "different worlds arise from their different sights" (T-13.V.10:2). The same thought is expressed here about judgment and love. And in the surrounding sections of Chapter 13 it is very clear that in giving up the past, we are being asked to give up judgment. The same network of thoughts is there that is found here.

I think in this lesson, the Holy Spirit is viewing two attitudes or two activities rather than two emotions. It is the attitude I have towards others that is in focus, and how I extend myself towards them. Do I love, or do I judge? Rather than how the other person impacts on me, which is the focus in the "Two Emotions" section, the focus here is on how I impact on the other person. The difference is in the direction of the flow of energy; here, the flow being considered is from me to the other person.

All the sorrows of the world come from judgment; no wonder the Course asks us to relinquish it. To love is not to judge; to judge is not to love. Loving brings us peace; judging only sorrow. How to find peace? Give love.

Forgiveness looks on sinlessness alone, and judges not. Through this I come to You. (1:1-2)

Forgiveness means not judging; how can you judge and forgive at the same time? Forgiveness sees only sinlessness, because only sinlessness is what we are (see W-pII.14.1:6). And through such forgiveness we approach God.

Judgment will bind my eyes and make me blind. Yet love, reflected in forgiveness here, reminds me You have given me a way to find Your peace again. (1:3-4)

The Course makes a point, several times, of what is implied here by the phrase "love, reflected in forgiveness here." Love in purity is impossible in this world. "No love in this world is without…ambivalence" (T-4.III.4:6). The closest reflection of love in this world is forgiveness. So the contrast here is really between judgment and forgiveness. By choosing to forgive my brothers rather than to judge them, I find my own peace again, the peace of God.

Peace is lost to us through judgment; it blindfolds us to the truth. Love, which is perfect only in Heaven, is still reflected perfectly here in forgiveness. There is a way to find our way out of blindness, and the way is forgiveness. It is affirming the unreality of our perception of sin in anyone and everyone.

I am redeemed when I elect to follow in this way. You have not left me comfortless. I have within both the memory of You, and One Who leads me to it. (1:5-7)

We were lost, "sold" into slavery by our own hand. But God did not abandon us. He gave us two things. It's interesting to notice the distinction here. He gave us 1) the memory of God in our minds, and 2) the Holy Spirit Who leads us to discover that memory. Many times I've heard people say that the Holy Spirit is the memory of God within us; that isn't how it appears here. The memory of God is something that is truly my own, part of me; my own right mind remembers God. The Holy Spirit is the Guide Who leads me back to rediscover the hidden treasure within my Self.

Father, I would hear Your Voice and find Your peace today. For I would love my own Identity, and find in It the memory of You. (1:8-9)

The memory of God lies in my own Identity. In remembering my Self I remember God. Let His Voice lead me to that remembrance as I sit, quietly, with Him today. I have very powerful help. And where that help leads me is to the point of loving my own Identity. I cannot love what I am unless I love-in the form of forgiveness-everyone else. That is so because what I am is identical to what everyone is; we are all the Son of God, the Christ. If I judge others I am judging myself, because I am what they are.

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