"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
MANUAL for TEACHERS

10. How is Judgment Relinquished?

1 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 is inconsistent in what he believes.

2 "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 merely gives 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."

3 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?

4 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 thisרthere 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.

5 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.

6 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?

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Part II
What is A Miracle?

1 A miracle is a correction. It does not create nor really change at all. It merely looks on devastation, and reminds the mind that what it sees is false. It undoes error, but does not attempt to go beyond perception nor exceed the function of forgiveness. Thus it stays within time's limits. Yet it paves the way for the return of timelessness and love's awakening, for fear must slip away under the gentle remedy it gives.

2 A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one. And thus it illustrates the law of truth the world does not obey because it fails entirely to understand its ways. A miracle inverts perception which was upside-down before, and thus it ends the strange distortions that were manifest. Now is perception open to the truth. Now is forgiveness seen as justified.

3 Forgiveness is the home of miracles. The eyes of Christ deliver them to all they look upon in mercy and in love. Perception stands corrected in His sight, and what was meant to curse has come to bless. Each lily of forgiveness offers all the world the silent miracle of love. And each is laid before the Word of God upon the universal altar to Creator and creation, in the light of perfect purity and endless joy.

4 The miracle is taken first on faith because to ask for it implies the mind has been made ready to conceive of what it cannot see and does not understand. Yet faith will bring its witnesses to show that what it rested on is really there. And thus the miracle will justify your faith in it and show it rested on a world more real than what you saw before—a world redeemed from what you thought you saw.

5 Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from Heaven on a dry and dusty world, where starved and thirsty creatures came to die. Now they have water. Now the world is green. And everywhere the signs of life spring up to show that what is born can never die, for what has life has immortality.

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Lesson 347
Anger must come from judgment.
Judgment is the weapon I would use against
myself to keep all miracles away from me.

1 Father, I want what goes against my will and do not want what is my will to have. Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick. But You have offered freedom, and I choose to claim Your gift today. And so I give all judgment to the One You gave to me to judge for me. He sees what I behold, and yet He knows the truth. He looks on pain, and yet He understands it is not real, and in His understanding it is healed. He gives the miracles my dreams would hide from my awareness. Let Him judge today. I do not know my will, but He is sure it is Your own. And He will speak for me, and call Your miracle to come to me.

2 Listen today. Be very still and hear the gentle Voice for God assuring you that He has judged you as the Son He loves.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 347
Anger must come from judgment. Judgment is
The weapon I would use against myself
To keep all miracles away from me.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
Today is a day of listening and bypassing the noise of the ego so we can hear the gentle Voice for God and know that it is the true judgment of God that is the Last Judgment. He affirms we are the Son He loves. As Jesus says "You have the right to all the universe; to perfect peace, complete deliverance from all effects of sin; and to the life eternal, joyous and complete in every way, as God appointed for His Holy Son. This is the only justice Heaven knows, and all the Holy Spirit brings to earth." (T.25.VIII.14.1-2) (ACIM OE T.25.IX.77) But it is not enough just to hear it and say we believe it as the truth. We need to be willing to give up our idea of justice which is seen as punishment for what we believe we have done and now have coming to us. We need to experience how deeply we are loved. Through the holy instant, a moment outside of the dream of this world, we feel the grace of God. This is made possible when we commit moment by moment to choose compassion, kindness, harmony, peace, and patience. We set our goal daily for healing and peace through the application of the daily Lessons that we have been given in the Course. We stay vigilant for God and His Kingdom; and when we do, we willingly give to the Holy Spirit all the ways we judge and withhold love.
 
"The Holy Spirit can use all that you give to Him for your salvation. But He cannot use what you withhold, for He cannot take it from you without your willingness. For if He did, you would believe He wrested it from you against your will. And so you would not learn it is your will to be without it." (T.25.VIII. 1.1-4) (ACIM OE T.25.IX.63) Nothing happens without our willingness. Don was expressing gratitude to me about the transformation he has realized in his life through our relationship. I indicated to him that nothing would have transformed him if he were not willing to receive the message of the Holy Spirit. If my goal was to change him or anyone else, it could never be achieved because it is up to each of us how much we willingly surrender the ego. We need to be as gentle with a brother as Jesus is with us. His compassion for our confusion is without limit. He says, "But remember salvation is not needed by the saved. You are not called upon to do what one divided still against himself would find impossible." (T.25.VIII.2.4-5) (ACIM OE T.25.IX.64)
 
We become happy learners when we look at everything that is unlike love as another opportunity for healing. We continually surrender our thoughts of judgment and specialness to the Presence within, which shines them away. When we stubbornly hold onto grievances, we choose to be in hell. "At least I can decide I do not like what I feel now." (T.30.I.8.2) (ACIM OE T.30.16) This paves the way to realize that we have made a mistake in our decision to hold a grievance and to say instead, "I want another way to look at this. " (T.30.I.11.4) (ACIM OE T.30.23) Now we willingly ask for help to heal our resistance. We admit that we don't like how we feel, and thus we become more willing to remember what we want and make space for the miracle. Jesus asks us why we would want to hold onto the insane belief of wanting to be right when we are clearly wrong.
 
"Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity." (T.1.I.33.4) (ACIM OE T.1.I.46) We keep the miracle away from ourselves when we judge and hold onto anger. We justify our anger and see ourselves as victims of what others do, but what we see is not the truth. To see the false is to be in the wrong mind because we are seeing what does not exist. This means that we have made a judgment that is not true. Everything we see comes from judgment and none of it is true. Judgment is how we keep ourselves in misery. We set goals for happiness. Yet in our insanity, we choose pain instead. We judge the events of the day, which is precisely how we keep happiness away. We choose not to be happy, as insane as that sounds. As Jesus says, we want what goes against our will. "Father, I want what goes against my will, and do not want what is my will to have." (W.347.1.1) Our real will is to know who we are. It is to know our Being as love.
 
Jesus is very clear and direct with us when he says that our minds are sick. "Straighten my mind, my Father. It is sick." (W.347.1.2-3) It is a clear statement of the insanity of the false self. We want what goes against our own best interests because, ultimately, we don't know what will make us happy. We pursue the very things that continue to bring pain and distress. If we saw this clearly, we would surely see the insanity of it and admit that our minds are truly sick. Until we see this is the case, we are not willing to release our pursuits and our judgments of what we want. Jesus keeps trying to help us see that we are unhappy. We don't see it because we have made an adjustment to this insane world. It is not unlike a mental patient, who decides to be happy in the asylum, believing that this is where his safety and security are.
 
It is this sense of safety, comfort, and self-gratification that we have established for ourselves in the world that makes us resistant to leave it. We have been taught to conform to society rather than listen to our inner guidance. We have built layers of protection against the truth buried in all of us. To access the truth requires going through the fear of letting go of everything we currently hang onto. Eventually, the inner calling becomes so compelling, there is no choice but to respond to it. To ignore it brings more pain until our external situation eventually reflects our inner conflict and we are willing to see that what is reflected in the world starts in our own mind. When life brings us to our knees, our motivation to choose to answer the Call for a better way is increased. The only meaningful purpose we can embrace is to know ourselves.
 
We may have become comfortable with where we are now in our spiritual journey. We may feel that we have found a place of comfort and safety in our study and practice of the Course. We see that we have more peace than we had in the past. Yet in this place of comfort, we may feel reluctant to go deeper, which requires uncovering more layers of the ego mind. Thus, we settle into a happier state and resist taking the next step in the process of undoing the ego thought system. To be a happy learner is to stay vigilant to all the ways we try to keep ourselves safe and to learn to welcome new opportunities to go deeper. This is a journey inward and requires more courage than we have been accustomed to in our lives. We are going into unfamiliar territory, leaving the old and the familiar. It is a process of discovery. Every situation shows us some inner conflict that we may have been avoiding. To continue to avoid this inner conflict is to invite more pain. We must go past the inner barriers that stand in the way of what we are, but we don’t go alone. The Holy Spirit, our own inner Resource, is with us always.
 
Jesus persists in assuring us that our happiness can only be found through forgiveness. We don't believe this, and so we need help to walk through the fear and resistance. Our natural state of mind is peace. We actively keep peace away each time we attack a brother with our judgments and our anger and each time we react to any seeming attack on us. The thing is, we will continue to make judgments and have our buttons pushed in situations that arise. Instead of judging ourselves when this happens, we are called to be willing to look at the barriers we are holding to love and welcome them as opportunities for healing. It is not helpful to judge anything going on in our lives as wrong or bad. It is all useful for healing and has been called into our lives by our own decision.
 
Jesus always reminds us that we are completely innocent--- now . We just don't recognize this as the truth about ourselves. Therefore, he assures us that there is no need to manufacture false innocence by projecting guilt. The ego, on the other hand, has told us that we are guilty, and by projecting guilt onto others, we will be relieved of it. Of course, the law of love tells us that what we give, we receive. It is a universal law, with no exceptions. When we realize that to lay guilt onto another is how we keep it, we become motivated to heal the guilt within; until we do, all we are doing is hurting ourselves.
 
We are not being asked to deny what we see, but only to recognize that we are constantly giving our interpretations to events, people, and situations that have no meaning except what we give them. The world is neutral. The interpretations we give to what seems to be happening are based on beliefs that we hold about ourselves. When I give my interpretation of an event to the Holy Spirit, He always reflects another way for me to see it. While our interpretations bring us distress, we nevertheless sometimes make the insane decision to suffer because it allows us to blame our suffering on what others have done to us and hold them to account instead of ourselves. This is how we actively choose to keep the miracle away from ourselves, and this is truly insane. That is why we need to acknowledge, "Father, I want what goes against my will, [anger, attack, specialness, holding grievances] and do not want what is my will to have [peace, miracles, joy]. " (W.347.1.1) We want it because it keeps us safe from Love. It keeps our special individual self in control.
 
Jesus asks, "Can nothing give rise to anger? Hardly so. Remember, then, teacher of God, that anger recognizes a reality that is not there; yet is the anger certain witness that you do believe in it as a fact. Now is escape impossible, until you see you have responded to your own interpretation, which you have projected on an outside world. Let this grim sword be taken from you now. There is no death. This sword does not exist. The fear of God is causeless. But His Love is Cause of everything beyond all fear, and thus forever real and always true." (Manual for Teachers.17.9.5-13)
 
Today, let us bring our attention to how we actively resist our well-being. "What is temptation but the wish to stay in hell and misery?" (T.31.VII.10.1) (ACIM OE T.31.VII.78) Until we are willing to assume complete and total responsibility for everything that happens to us, we deny that it is actually our wish to hold onto misery. Yet if we really look honestly at our thoughts, we would see that we choose anger and attack deliberately in order to hide from God's Love, which we believe will annihilate us. As long as we identify with the body and the world, rather than with the eternal Self, we try to prove God wrong. We defend against His Love. We demonstrate our belief in our body and the false self by showing Him that we can die and thus we can't be the eternal Self as He says we are. This internal conflict, between our wrong-minded thinking and the Love that awaits us, must be resolved. We do this by our willingness to look honestly at our inner motivations and intentions, which is not for the weak. It is truly a hero’s journey because it takes great courage. None of us loves to go into the darkness, but when we come to the other side of it, then the joy, the trust, and the lightness of spirit are all worth every step we take as we navigate this difficult terrain.
 
Love and blessings, Sarah

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