In the first paragraph, Jesus lays out very specifically that our brother is not our enemy; we only think he is. In the past we may have wished harm against our so-called enemies. Be truthful with yourself in this! But that “poisonous thought” was only harming our own mind. I know for myself when I have been at odds with another, I’ve had my own revenge thoughts arise in the mind. I’ve had situations where I was blindsided by another’s hatred of me and at first felt hurt, then confused, then blinding mad as I projected blame forth. The only way I was able to heal my mind was to acknowledge that I swallowed the ego’s poisonous beliefs. All this leads me back to what I project upon God. I project my guilt upon Him making me the victim and He the victimizer. We just do it here in the world on a smaller scale.
Jesus goes on to state that we will not find relief on the bottom rungs of the ladder. This is true because we are still expecting something outside in the world to save us. If we want the uncomfortable pain to cease, then we practice, practice and practice again. This means doing the work required. Keep your nose out of the ACIM book, and close your eyes and ask Holy Spirit for His Assistance. He is there for a reason. The book only leads to Him. You have to put in the time to BE with Him, to LISTEN to Him, so do it!
What I have asked for for my brother is not what I would have. Thus have I made of him my enemy.
This is the prayer to pray. How can we be uplifted if we still are making someone else the source of our pain? Listen to how you think. Listen to what you say to others. What is it that you are portraying? Are you accepting responsibility?
That is the only way I was able to survive my experiences with my children being molested by my ex-husband in 2000. I had to take responsibility. This doesn’t mean I sit in sackcloth and ashes and beat myself to death because of the guilt I feel, but it does mean I take responsiblity period. No judgment from me as the Holy Spirit does not judge.
Make peace with yourself and with your holy brother. I know it was not easy for me. This doesn’t mean I want to be around my ex-husband, but it does mean he no longer rules my mind and drives my heart. My heart is with God and He beats His peace as One with me, as a lesson tells us. Our goal is God, only God, and let’s go there together my friends.
I talked about this on my Unity Radio show on 8/28/15 entitled “Get Off the Cross”, you can access it here.
Rev. Paul will be working with the Monday group on 8/31/15 on this particular passage as well. More information on the group here.
III. Praying for Others
S-1.III.1. We said that prayer is always for yourself, and this is so. 2 Why, then, should you pray for others at all? 3 And if you should, how should you do it? 4 Praying for others, if rightly understood, becomes a means for lifting your projections of guilt from your brother, and enabling you to recognize it is not he who is hurting you. 5 The poisonous thought that he [is] your enemy, your evil counterpart, your nemesis, must be relinquished before [you] can be saved from guilt. 6 For this the means is prayer, of rising power and with ascending goals, until it reaches even up to God.
S-1.III.2. The earlier forms of prayer, at the bottom of the ladder, will not be free from envy and malice. 2 They call for vengeance, not for love. 3 Nor do they come from one who understands that they are calls for death, made out of fear by those who cherish guilt. 4 They call upon a vengeful god, and it is he who seems to answer them. 5 Hell cannot be asked for another, and then escaped by him who asks for it. 6 Only those who are in hell can ask for hell. 7 Those who have been forgiven, and who accepted their forgiveness, could never make a prayer like that.
S-1.III.3. At these levels, then, the learning goal must be to recognize that prayer will bring an answer only in the form in which the prayer was made. 2 This is enough. 3 From here it will be an easy step to the next levels. 4 The next ascent begins with this:
5 What I have asked for for my brother is not what I would have. 6 Thus have I made of him my enemy.
7 It is apparent that this step cannot be reached by anyone who sees no value or advantage to himself in setting others free. 8 This may be long delayed, because it may seem to be dangerous instead of merciful. 9 To the guilty there seems indeed to be a real advantage in having enemies, and this imagined gain must go, if enemies are to be set free.
S-1.III.4. Guilt must be given up, and not concealed. 2 Nor can this be done without some pain, and a glimpse of the merciful nature of this step may for some time be followed by a deep retreat into fear. 3 For fear’s defenses are fearful in themselves, and when they are recognized they bring their fear with them. 4 Yet what advantage has an illusion of escape ever brought a prisoner? 5 His real escape from guilt can lie only in the recognition that the guilt has gone. 6 And how can this be recognized as long as he hides it in another, and does not see it as his own? 7 Fear of escape makes it difficult to welcome freedom, and to make a jailer of an enemy seems to be safety. 8 How, then, can he be released without an insane fear for yourself? 9 You have made of him your salvation and your escape from guilt. 10 Your investment in this escape is heavy, and your fear of letting it go is strong.
S-1.III.5. Stand still an instant, now, and think what you have done. 2 Do not forget that it is you who did it, and who can therefore let it go. 3 Hold out your hand. 4 This enemy has come to bless you. 5 Take his blessing, and feel how your heart is lifted and your fear released. 6 Do not hold on to it, nor onto him. 7 He is a Son of God, along with you. 8 He is no jailer, but a messenger of Christ. 9 Be this to him, that you may see him thus.
S-1.III.6. It is not easy to realize that prayers for things, for status, for human love, for external “gifts” of any kind, are always made to set up jailers and to hide from guilt. 2 These things are used for goals that substitute for God, and therefore distort the purpose of prayer. 3 The desire for them [is] the prayer. 4 One need not ask explicitly. 5 The goal of God is lost in the quest for lesser goals of any kind, and prayer becomes requests for enemies. 6 The power of prayer can be quite clearly recognized even in this. 7 No one who wants an enemy will fail to find one. 8 But just as surely will he lose the only true goal that is given him. 9 Think of the cost, and understand it well. 10 All other goals are at the cost of God.