“The Bible says that you should go with a brother twice as far as he asks. It certainly does not suggest that you set him back on his journey. Devotion to a brother cannot set you back either. (T52)”
Affirmation: “Devotion to a brother cannot set me back”
1 – What “Brother” Means
A “brother” in A Course in Miracles always includes brothers and sisters, and it means a companion, another person in this world who needs our compassion. (The Course was scribed in the sixties, and inclusive gender language had not yet become inherent in our writing.)
2 – What Devotion to a Brother Means
It is important to note here that we are to follow the biblical injunction of going the distance with our brother. We are to go the extra mile. But we are not encouraged to send our brother searching alone for his (or her) pathway; we are to help him in the best way that we know how. This best way may not always be apparent. Sometimes we can help best by stepping back, and only smiling at him (or her); this is stated elsewhere in the Course. We are bade to pay attention to what our brother is ready for. And this may not be readily apparent, and so we need to think carefully before we act.
3 – Do We Always Act?
Sometimes we will get the indication from the Holy Spirit that we are to do nothing. Perhaps we would only make the feelings of our brother worse by trying to talk to him. We may have even said too much already. Then is the time to reach for solitude and to commune with God. He is always there, deep within us. He does not join in our illusions, but He allows us to rise above those illusions. And He will comfort, when interactions with our brother have proved to be disappointing.
4 – Difficulties with a Brother
It is important to forgive and to forget, and then to drop the issue. Nothing is gained by continuing to rehash the bad experience. We are indeed, according to ACIM, making the insanity real, and then how do we overlook it? And overlook it we need to do. This is much easier when we realize that we will have forgotten the issue in awhile, and so why not drop it now, before more damage is done? Often it is ourselves that we need to forgive. We can see that our brother thought he was making a joke, and even if it was a joke at our expense, we do not see out from his eyes, to understand his perspective. Our personalities differ, and what is one individual’s “joke” becomes grounds for offense if we don’t share his brand of humor. May we try to see through his eyes today. And may we stop the rehashing of an old conflict, because conflict is inevitable in the mad world in which we live. Move on to reality, instead, Jesus might say (an interpretation of ACIM). We need to realize that we are just as fallible as our brother, and next time maybe our jokes will fall flat. Goodwill will smooth away these misunderstood feelings.
5 – No Setbacks
Also important to this passage is the fact that our devotion to our brother cannot cause us to lose ground. Our pathway, according to the Course, is found in our devotion to our brother, rather than through long periods of contemplation. Our way, according to the Course, is forgiveness, which leads to love, of our brother. Forgiveness of our brother will lead us to Awakening. So will contemplation, though Jesus states that this other way can be tedious, and we are encouraged to follow our way, which the Course spells out in abundant detail.
May I be the best companion to my brother. This will mean that I am there for him when he needs me. I will walk along the pathway with him.
May I recognize that devotion to my brother cannot cause me to lose ground in the quest for salvation. Devotion to my brother is the way spelled out in the Course. Thank You for these words of encouragement and advice.
Today I would see my brother especially in my significant relationships, my holy relationships. May no stress mar the serenity of our day together. May my devotion to those closest to me meet their needs, and may I feel that the love we share is increased by our time together today. Thank You for giving me the patience and forbearance to remain calm and collected. May what I say and do today add to the peace that my intimates feel, the peace that You can give to all of us in great measure.