In Abuse, Choose to Love but Not Condone

“Abuse is but improper use—use on a scale that makes the insanity of use obvious to both the user and the usee, and so has its proper place in our discussion here. Look at patterns of abuse, in everything from drugs and alcohol to physical or emotional mistreatment. These, like the larger examples of your daily life gone awry, are but demonstrations of internal desires taken to a greater extreme; only these, rather than being reflected by the group, are reflected within the individual.” (ACOL, C:9.44)

Jesus is using the word “abuse” here not just in the narrow context of child abuse or even domestic abuse, but in the larger context of our emotions gone wayward. We hurt ourselves also when we abuse others, and so victimhood is not the only concern (though it is a major one). Our society is coming to understand abuse when there is an outside victim, and is denouncing it, sometimes including legal judgments against the perpetrators. But our society is looking for a victim, and in the larger sense of A Course of Love, all are victims (or none are victims). We feel sympathy, rightly, for the one(s) hurt, and A Course of Love specifically counsels compassion, saying that no one individual is responsible for the wrongs done to him or her. This is a major step forward in New Age thought, for all too often our literature has just stopped with the truth that we create our own reality, and blaming the victim for the mess in which he/she finds himself/herself has become a popular pastime—silently, if not overtly.

So we do feel compassion for the one “wronged” in abuse in our society, but we also need to feel compassion for the perpetrator, for he/she is lost in egoic battles, attack, anger, falsehood, and the like. Quite literally he/she knows not what he/she does. This quotation from the New Testament is given new meaning in A Course of Love by Jesus. He spells out this mention from the Bible, and he explains the context. Truly ACOL goes a long way toward explaining the puzzlements that confused us from Jesus’s life on earth.

So: We need to turn aside from abuse of any kind, but we need to feel compassion not only for the one wronged, but also for the one who committed the wrong. We have to save both of them. It is we who will create a new world, and if we don’t do something for the abuse we see all around us, we will never actually make substantive changes in our world at all.

Choose the loving reaction, and by this act we will rain down thunderbolts on the heads of those who are creating havoc by their misguided actions. This does not mean that we passively condone; we don’t condone at all. But we realize that each is a child of God, and deserves to know that he/she is making mistakes—surely, big mistakes. But nothing that can’t be righted within a world that is set aright again.


Finding the Relationship that Heals

“Use, in any form, leads to bondage, and so to perceive a world based on use is to see a world where freedom is impossible.” (ACOL, C:9.43)

When we use another for our own ends, we do ourselves and them a great disservice. We, this passage would tell us, are in bondage as well as they. And freedom is impossible.

We need to be of service to each other, of course, but this is different from “using” another. We have often, in egoic terms, looked out on our world and tried to imagine what we might gain from another. Our special relationships are virtually always based on this fallacious way of thinking.

In special relationships, we look around for people who have exceptional traits, traits that will complement our own. Often these traits are superficial attractions, often physical appearance. As the special relationship proceeds, we are caught in more and more ways by our ego. We seek to have what our special other has, to consume rather than to give. And this never works very well.

The fact that special relationships are meant for “use” rather than “service” is often not noticed by the individuals involved. But we notice the great drama that occurs in the context of these relationships, the highs and the lows. The highs entrap us, so that we don’t want to let go, and, importantly, we often do not want either to transform the relationship into something better. That something better is a holy relationship with service at is center. Service to the other, which also gives to ourselves, for giving and receiving, as I have noted, is described in A Course of Love as being equal.

We want to fall into expressions of love, and this in itself will transform the special in our relationships into holy. This is not simply saying “I love you” at the right times. This is a fundamental change of outlook. A choice of the selfless in which the Self is truly found. And the Self is the Christ in us.

So don’t look for the ways that we can use each other. This will never work well, and it won’t work at all for very long. The way to a lasting and transformed relationship is to love without any thought of what we can get in return. And this takes “use” out of the equation.

Ask today, in prayer, what we might do to transform all of our special relationships into holy ones. That is the aim for all, ALL, of our relationships.

And it will be no surprise that we are healed.

The Quest for Right Relationships

“Your quest for what is missing thus becomes the race you run against death. You seek it here, you seek it there, and scurry on to the next thing and the next. Each person runs this race alone, with hope only of victory for himself. You realize not that if you were to stop and take your brother’s hand, the racecourse would become a valley full of lilies, and you would find yourself on the other side of the finish line, able at last to rest.” (ACOL, C:9.40)

“If you were to stop and take your brother’s hand.” Yes! Here A Course of Love is saying the same thing that A Course in Miracles does. In ACIM, we are encouraged to realize that our way home is in a holy relationship with our brother. And this method, for Jesus, has not changed. We find our way back to God by loving our brother (or sister).

We are constantly looking for salvation alone, fruitlessly. But even Ruth Montgomery’s Guides said that we have to take our brother’s hand, that we cannot find our way back to God in a solitary and lonely search. Yet we still try, and it is such a pity! We need only acknowledge our relationship, in sharing, in joining with all, to know the ultimate in salvation, the enlightenment process itself.

Jesus’s language in this passage is so very beautiful. “The racecourse would become a valley full of lilies.” He invoked herein the same image as A Course in Miracles as well. Jesus likes lilies, and we do, too. Our Easter lilies are a case in point.

So what do we do now? We simply and humbly make a decision that we will join with our brothers and sisters in the walk homeward. We will no longer seek to be solitary seekers. Our seeking does have an end, we will learn in A Course of Love, but in the Course proper, we are not yet at that point.

Join today with the significant others in your life. Let their turmoil and troubles be your own as well, but not to disturb your peace, for this turmoil is illusory. Never forget that this world is an illusion—at least until we reach the real world toward which we are heading. And then, it is very likely that the real is intangible, being of God, Who has no form.

The best thing that we can do today is to determine that we are One with our brothers and sisters as well as One with God. God, being within, is always available for our communion with Him. He never does forsake us, as traditional Christianity has often said. Be humble today. Ask what we should do next. And it is very likely that that next action will be a gift to our brothers and sisters, the others in our world. There is no better way to spend a day, for giving and receiving are one, and what we give to others is returned to us many times over.

Focus on the Love that Remains

“Seeking what you have lost in other people, places, and things is but a sign that you do not understand that what you have lost still belongs to you. What you have lost is missing, not gone. What you have lost is hidden to you but has not disappeared nor ceased to be.” (ACOL, C:9.39)

There is a tenet in A Course of Love that the relationships that we have known are never really lost to us, that even if separated by distance or even death, we have an ongoing connection. A Course in Miracles says something very similar; it says that all who meet are destined to meet again, for it is intended that all special relationships will eventually turn holy. If we can believe these two ideas (and I believe we can, of course), then we need not fret when there are endings in our lives. Those we have loved are never really lost to us, in part, perhaps, because (as we know) love is eternal.

Thus what we have lost in people, places, and things is not really gone, though it may be missing at any given point in time. Love is not gone, and nearly always love is present, still, in some form that we can appreciate. The forms change, but the eternity of love felt by God’s children does not change.

Of course, we can get stubborn. If we are still clinging to special relationships (even though ACOL says that special relationships must end), we may not be satisfied with anything holy that enters our lives. We may insist, angrily, that we want what we want. And then we are not at peace.

The smart thing is to take love where it is to be found. Holy love lets the other go, leave entirely, without pain or suffering. After all, we know that we are protected and that we are never alone and lost to a remedy. Although another person cannot substitute for the lost person, we can gracefully see the other go—if only because we know that somewhere, somehow, there will be a reconciliation.

This attitude may take a great deal of faith, but it constitutes true love. We do not wish someone to stay with us who wants out. And all the universe will rush to our side with remediation, if we are not too stubborn to accept the love that still abides with us—despite a loss.

A young person, feeling special love for the first time, and then finding rejection, will not easily see this point of view. It takes more maturity to see the whole picture. But an eternal love exists, as this passage implies, and we would do well to focus our eyes on the love that remains in our lives.
We have no other choice, really. And then we open ourselves to new joy, not renewed stubbornness at refusing to let go.

A Warm Heart Is a Gift of Grace

“As long as you do not want to be forgiven you will not feel the gentle touch of forgiveness upon you and your world. While there is no need in truth for this forgiveness, as there is no truth to this big change that you believe you have undergone, your desire to be forgiven is a first step away from your belief that you can fix things by yourself and in so doing earn your way back into your Father’s home. Being willing to be forgiven is the precursor of atonement, the state in which you allow your errors to be corrected for you.” (ACOL, C:9.35)

Forgiveness is said in this passage actually to be unnecessary. While we believe that it is necessary, however, we will not take steps toward receiving the atonement until we have opened ourselves to this forgiveness. And we do want the atonement, which is the undoing of all that has gone before, including especially egoic consciousness. Jesus has led the way to the atonement. Would we not be foolish to refuse the forgiveness that will make every pathway toward the atonement smooth and easy?

We cannot correct our own errors. This may seem a radical statement, but if we recall how many times we have tried to correct errors, only to have the same mistake crop up again and again, we will see the validity of what Jesus is telling us. We will be gently and easily led to remove a mistake-prone inclination. But we would be egoic indeed if we thought that we were making ourselves better all the while. And we are trying to diminish the ego in ourselves, not build it up.

We cannot fix things ourselves and thereby win back the Father’s home, heaven. But we can open ourselves to change and thereby become the recipients of our inheritance, which includes heaven. Our inheritance has been waiting for us for eons. And now we are on a smooth pathway, heading for what we have wanted most in all the world. We must not jinx the matter now. We must not try to take things in our own hands, for we would surely foul it up.

Jesus will guide us gently and in an encouraging manner. He is doing just this in A Course of Love, a course that doesn’t demand a studious attitude, for its words are entering our heart. Call upon him now, today, this moment. See if a warmth doesn’t overtake you.

This warmth is the gift of grace to which we have all been heading since time began. We simply didn’t recognize it until now.

Wonders Felt by the Heart

“Child of God, you need no imaginary friend when you have beside you he who is your friend always and would show you that you have no needs at all. What you truly are cannot be used, not even by God. See you not that it is only in illusion that you can use others who are like yourself?” (ACOL, C:9.31)

Jesus is here talking about himself, not as an imaginary friend but as a real entity taking us by the hand and leading us to ultimate salvation. He has often in A Course of Love indicated that he is with us, guiding us. He apparently clones himself, outside time and space, to be anywhere that he wishes, with anyone, simultaneously.

We will have to believe even in the face of our disbelief. We will have to realize that there are wonders possible in this universe that we cannot comprehend. Jesus’s omnipresence is one such mystery. But if his assurances give us comfort, should we not make the tiny effort to understand and to believe?

We are encouraged in ACOL not to use others, but to serve them. Our service to others is the important point. Never do we get anything lasting out of trying to “use up” the value of another, to our own benefit. This is an egoic urge, a very selfish one, and one of which we need to be forewarned. In this world, previously, we have often “used” others to our own benefit. We have offered conditional love, predicated on getting something from another. And then, when we get the something that we want, we think we love in return.

Such is not love, but use. We have diminished the worth of our exalted brothers and sisters by turning them into agents of our need. But we learn that we have no needs, that our needs have all been met and are being met. So why do we continue to seek to use others? And why do they comply?

It is a matter of wanting love. We learn in ACOL that giving and receiving are one, and in learning this, we are sure that service is our best response to others. When we serve them, we set ourselves up to receive the best that they can offer. But we have not “used” them to gain. It is an even exchange.

We don’t use Jesus when we accept his free offer of help, of guidance in this world, of him being with us in this world. He offers to serve us, and we accept, knowing that in turn we will serve others. And the mission that Jesus is upon becomes clear to us in this equal exchange.

We love and are loved in return, but not in a conditional sense. The love is freely offered, and then given in return, and we are free of egoic using of another free individual. Our minds and hearts are in the right place, finally.

Nourishment & Rest for Our Spirit

“My words call you to the eternal, to nourishment and rest of the spirit rather than the body. That your sights are set on the care of the body alone is another example of choosing an opposite for replacement.” (ACOL, C:9.22)

All of us long, all too often, for comfort of the physical body. And here Jesus encourages us toward something more—comfort of the spirit. The spirit knows invulnerability far more than the body, for the body and its thoughts and feelings can be subdued by fear. The spirit cannot be subdued by fear, for the spirit is the part of us that is joined to the Christ Self. The spirit and the Christ Self are One, and herein is the appeal to the heart made complete.

When we choose an “opposite” for “replacement,” meaning the body, we are seeing in contrasts. This seeing in contrasts was a method that the Holy Spirit used in His time, but we have now moved beyond the time of the Holy Spirit and are in the time of Christ, where a direct knowing is the norm. Previously the contrast enlightened us, but now we know without proof, for we are listening and feeling with the heart. We don’t need proof when we draw in the heart.

Jesus calls us to the eternal, and this eternal can include a new vision for the body (though he does not say so in this passage). This new vision for the body is the Christ-conscious physical form of the Self that Jesus later on calls “elevated.” This means that we can live in physical form for eons, if we so choose. We might come to understand that it will take many of us choosing to live in physical form on this earth to lead the billions back to God. The billions who still live in separation, an illusory separation (of course), but separation indeed. In A Course in Miracles, Jesus said that the separation occurred over millions of years, and that millions more might be needed to heal the separation. And if so, many of us need to be embodied, on earth, to effect this change.

Our brothers and sisters need us here in this world. We can do much good, though A Course of Love is not a call to proselytize. The people in our world will signal when they are ready to hear our truth. Then and only then do we have the golden zipper removed from our lips, and we are free to share what we have come to know.