How I Used Truth - Lesson 2 - Annotation 10
Show how Jesus' statement "What is that to thee? follow thou me" (John 21:22) is related to the overcoming of the habit of condemnation.
10. We believe that back of this statement Jesus is emphasizing a paramount Truth principle which is that we should not become emotionally involved in another person's situation. Each person has within him the divine pattern, the Christ, which is his "hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). If we are called upon to give definite help or perhaps to counsel another person, we give this help. However, our first and truest help is always that of prayer.
When Jesus said "follow thou me," we believe that He was asking us not only to follow His example of non-condemnation, of love and understanding, but to seek and follow the guidance of the Christ within us. It is as though these very words are spoken to us by our own Christ Self which seeks to show us the way, even as Jesus, the Way-Shower, pointed the way for all mankind.
We build a "condemnatory habit of mind" by repeatedly judging from appearances because of our lack of understanding of the Truth about a situation, or a person. The word habit implies doing unconsciously, spontaneously, automatically that which a person does often. According to Webster's dictionary habit is "an aptitude or inclination for some action acquired by frequent repetition." As the baby moves into childhood, then adolescence, and finally adulthood, many of the good habits that make for a satisfying life have had to be repeated over and over until they form a "groove" in the mental processes. When we follow inner guidance from the Christ Self we are able, by denial, to release wrong habits of thought and action. Then we establish in consciousness, by affirmation, only habits based on that which is true. Herein lies the great value of the use of affirmations. When we build Truth ideas into consciousness by affirmation we are able unconsciously, as well as consciously, spontaneously, automatically to respond only to the Truth, no matter what another person may say or do, or what type of situation we may be called upon to face.
We must not assume from this that we are to be indifferent to the needs of others, to be so unconcerned that we never even give them a thought. However, there is a difference between being compassionately concerned, and interfering in something that is not our business. One of our poets has wisely said about this latter attitude:
"For fools rush in where angels fear to tread" (Alexander Pope).
In following inner guidance we will know just when we should perform some outer act to help in a situation that merits change. We will also know if we are to do only the inner work of prayer until such time as our outer help is asked.
It is easy for us to judge by the appearance from the reports of world leaders, of nations. However, our truest judgment will reveal that if we obey the command "follow thou me," we will know how to pray for enlightenment, wisdom, peace. If circumstances call to us for definite participation in bringing about harmonious relations in the lives of individuals or in nations we will be guided as to whether we are to take active outer participation, or simply to do our part in the inner realms of prayer.
When we are tempted to condemn, let us listen to the "still small voice" saying, "What is that to thee? follow thou me." We will never offend when we follow God's instruction. Rather, we will be among the peacemakers of the world when we can make this precept primary in our human relationships.
Father, what lifts the weight that has been pressing
So sorely, and so long?
"Child, 'twas the weight of your own condemnation,
The self-inflicted load that burdened you,
By your own act of reconciliation,
You are forgiven too.
For while you held your brother as a debtor,
Your bitter thinking shackled your own soul,
The selfsame act that broke for him the fetter
Has made you free and whole."