Let me forget my brother’s past today.
See complete instructions in a separate document. A short summary:
- Read the commentary paragraph slowly and personally.
- Pray the prayer, perhaps several times.
- Morning and evening: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
- Hourly remembrance: Repeat the idea and then spend time in Open Mind Meditation.
- Frequent reminders: Repeat the idea and then spend a quiet moment in meditation.
- Response to temptation: Repeat the idea whenever upset, to restore peace.
- Read the “What Is” section slowly and thoughtfully once during the day.
Practice suggestion: For a longer version of today’s idea, try thinking of a particular person you are carrying a grievance toward, and then repeating the following:
Let me forget my brother [name’s] past today.
Because if I see that his sins are in the past, I will see that mine are, too.
Because if I believe that he bears God’s Name, I will believe that I do, too.
Because if I see that he is God’s creation, I will see that I am, too.
“I cannot come to You without my brother” (1:2). The decision for God is the decision to share. What we recognize, in recognizing our Identity, is an Identity that is shared with all living things. Because my salvation lies in awaking to this shared Identity, it is impossible to come to God alone. The problem is separation; therefore the solution is unity.
“[My brother’s] sins are in the past, along with mine, and I am saved because the past is gone” (1:5). If the past is gone for me, it is gone for everyone. If I hold on to the past in regard to my brother, therefore, and hold grievances against him in any way, I am denying my own salvation. “Let me not cherish [the past] within my heart, or I will lose the way to walk to You” (1:6).
The lesson teaches that “to know my Source, I first must recognize what You created one with me” (1:3). In other words, to fully appreciate my own origins in God, to know my own holiness and perfection, I need to see that “that awful person” and everyone else was created by God in just the same way. “I cannot come to You without my brother” (1:2).
We all have certain people we just can’t see as being in Heaven. Let’s say one of mine is named George. I can’t see George as being worthy of Heaven. Maybe, for me, if George were there it wouldn’t be Heaven. Do you know the kind of person I mean?
Well, “I cannot come to You without my brother” does not mean that I can’t get to Heaven until George does. It means that I can’t get to Heaven until I see George as already there. It is still something in my control; I’m not made dependent on the other person’s seeing. In my mind George must be seen as the same as myself. In my mind, I must see his holiness, I must forget his past. When I can forget his past, I can forget my own.
If I hold the past against my brother I am holding it against myself. We cannot see ourselves as any higher than we see our brother. I can’t be any holier than he is. Yet I cannot be any less holy than Jesus.
The bottom line is, I can’t see myself as having any gift of God that I am not willing for everyone to have.
When I honor my brother as my savior, I am recognizing Who he really is, and thereby I recognize my own Identity, shared with him. My brothers and sisters are my saviors, not in the sense that they provide me with something I do not have or do something for me I cannot do, but in the sense that by forgiving them, by forgetting their past, I remind myself of the truth about myself which I share with them. They show me my own judgment on myself, and give me opportunities to let it go. When I see my brother, I am seeing myself, and my gentleness and kindness toward them, in forgiveness, is the way I can give these gifts to myself.
In the closing paragraph, Jesus speaks to us. It is important to recognize him as the speaker:
Forgive me, then, today. And you will know you have forgiven me if you behold your brother in the light of holiness. He cannot be less holy than can I, and you cannot be holier than he. (2:1-3)
I have said that how I see my brother is how I see myself. In this paragraph, Jesus makes it plain that how I see my brother is also a reflection of how I see him, and how I see God. And thus my forgiveness of a brother is identical to forgiving Jesus, and to forgiving God.
“You cannot be holier than he [your brother]” (2:3). The limit I mentally place on my brother, by how I perceive him, is a limit I am placing on myself. If I hold him to the past, then I am held to the past. If I see him as incapable of understanding, incapable of learning, incapable of perfection, then I am seeing myself that way. No one is beyond redemption. If I see a brother as if I believe “he will never find God in this lifetime,” I am placing that limit on myself. And in every case, the limit is false. “There is no order of difficulty among [miracles]” (T-1.1:1).