“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.