Judgment and Justice
Lesson Eleven of the Unity Society Correspondence School Course, written by ARTHUR D. HALL, a student.
From Unity Magazine, July 1912 TruthUnity note: This article was printed as a Unity tract in April 1916.
Read and download this article as it was published in April 1916 as a Unity tract
Thus saith the Lord God; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord God.—Ezekiel 45:9.
FROM the above quotation it may be seen that even in the Old Testament days, as well as in our own time, men were brought face to face with all sorts of economical, political, ethical and religious experiences. In fact, the world has changed but little in some things. Many men of today are spending a great deal of time studying the conditions of the business world, and endeavoring to find some ways; and means whereby the problems of life cab be solved. It would seem that the whole cause, or rather occasion, for all inharmonies that are found in the present day life is traced back to the fact of misjudgment and injustice.
We all feel that there must be some wonderful changes introduced into the methods of government and social relations before there will be harmony and fellowship expressed in the problems of our daily life. There are many who feel that these changes should be made in society as a whole, and as soon as possible. Would it not be well to look back of society as a whole and see if that should be the starting place? Very likely, we would come to the conclusion that the individual should be our place of commencement. The individual is the unit. In the individual (the I Am) is all that is to be found in life; and also, the solution of all life problems.
With the individual as the starting point it will be necessary to bring him out of the consciousness of misjudgment and injustice, in order that he may carry out his mission in life of expressing the Perfect Good. In doing this the faculty of Judgment must be redeemed. To do this it will be necessary to place the faculty of Judgment in the Absolute, and to deny all mortal concepts of judgment. When this is done, all ideas of limitations of every kind will be driven from the consciousness; and the mind will be free from all personality. It now becomes necessary to look back of all appearances and see the true motive which lies back of all that comes into visibility. In doing this the mind will be filled with thoughts of Reality, ideas of the unity, or oneness, of life.
Having the faculty of Judgment redeemed, the next step will be to establish Justice in accordance with the Judgment. The true way to accomplish this is to recognize the Divine Law of Justice. This is done by affirming that the Divine Law of Justice is always acting righteously. Not only must this Divine Law be recognized, but it must be brought into action. Recognition of the law without actualization of it keeps one in a passive state, and prevents progress. In establishing the Law of Justice we resort to affirmations. There is much help derived from making definite affirmations. For instance, I affirm that because I am a child of God, and God is the Divine Law of Justice, this Divine Law of Justice is working in and through me continually; and nothing can keep my own away from me.
With the faculty of Judgment and the Law of Justice established in the consciousness, we are ready to use them and to notice the results, first upon the individual organism, then upon society at large. When one uses righteous judgment in his dealings with others he becomes broader minded, more loving, refrains from all manner of criticism, and keeps his eye single, seeing only good. It is obvious that this effect upon the organism would result in clearer thought, purer expression of love and affection, more kindly disposition, and, in fact, a renewal of the whole man would take place.
All this will never come to pass as long as the individual persists in living in the sense consciousness. Through the senses we interpret the appearances only. Appearances are not real, for that which is real never changes. We know that appearances are ever changing according to circumstances. Consequently, in order that we may live in the Reality, the Absolute, we must “Judge not according to appearances, but judge righteous judgment” How are we to do this? Simply by looking behind, or back of, all appearances, and getting hold of the idea which the appearance is representing. We must see what the true motive in the creative mind is in order to determine the value of the finished product. We should consciously know that all is good, for God is All, regardless of appearances. Appearances are observed by the senses and taken into consciousness through the intellect, and not through spiritual perception. All judgment and justice should be preceded by intelligence, which is Divine and not material. To be intelligent is to know the Truth. To consciously, as well as intellectually, know the Truth sets one free from all appearances, and then one will positively be able to judge all things righteously.
As has been intimated, lack of the knowledge of Truth and righteous judgment results in inharmony and discord, which in itself is brought about through misjudgment. When misjudgment is the occasion of suffering, usually this is due to the fact that the person, or individual in the popular meaning of the word, has been condemning himself, or others, in some way or another. In treating cases of this kind it is often necessary to treat the patient, at first, for freedom from condemnation. Even in self treatment, this method is quite necessary in order to overcome the error “condemnation.” Condemnation is too often the occasion of misjudgment. To free one’s self, or the patient, from condemnation, affirm that the Spirit of Love now works perfectly in and through the individual; constantly holding the thought of the Divine Presence being Omnipresent, and realizing also that only Love can come from the One Source. Affirm that condemnation is not from God. Therefore, affirm, “I condemn no one.” After that affirmation, or a similar one, let this affirmation follow: “Love controls all things.” Also affirm that God’s Love is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. Send thoughts of love, peace and blessing out into the universe.
Let us never lose sight of the thought that God is a God of Love and Justice. Yes, even more than this, for God is Love, and God is Justice. It would be unwise for one to expect to receive justice, forgiveness, love, and any good from another when one is not willing to reciprocate. Should we any more expect to receive these things from God when we are unwilling to show love, forgiveness and justice to our fellow-men? Certainly not! The Divine Law of Justice works both ways at the same time. It cannot work only one way. It must complete its circle of giving and receiving. Just as soon as one lets this law work in and through him by forgiving those who trespass against him, those who seemingly are his enemies, those who are unjust and do not express their true selves, then the Divine Law of Love will forgive him. It is really an even exchange. “As a man soweth, so shall he reap.” When, and in the degree, we express forgiveness, in the same degree we receive blessings, peace and forgiveness.
We have seen that injustice is not of God, and it therefore is unreal, and must be overcome. This unreality cannot be overcome as long as it is allowed to remain in consciousness. We now know that there is a Divine Law of Justice working in and through us. Perhaps we do not understand this law. Nevertheless, it is, and we can understand it. It will be but a short time before we thoroughly understand this law if we will use it every chance we can. Having the understanding of the law, we must then fix our faith firmly in it. With our faith firmly fixed in a law which we consciously understand, we will be able to overcome the belief in injustice.
Perhaps it may be well to illustrate what I mean with examples of two classes of men. There are some people who are backward in pushing themselves forward in order to get that which they desire. They are apt to wait for someone to be kind enough to assist them to attain their wants. There are others who get what they want at any cost. Very likely we will see that both these instances are evidence of misunderstanding of the Divine Law of Justice; and thus the persons are given the feeling that they would not get their rights otherwise.
The first is wrong because he does not realize that he must bring into expression his true self. He must know that God, the All-Good, is his Father; and that all that the Father has is his, by right of his inheritance. He must not wait for someone to help him. He must get his help and support directly from Spirit. He should receive his inspiration and guidance from Spirit, through perception and meditation, and carry out his spiritual perceptions and inspirations into all his affairs, holding, at the same time, consciousness of the Truth that the Divine Law of Justice is working in and through him continually. He should realize that all now is waiting for him to receive.
The second is wrong in so far as he does not recognize that his good is coming from God, the One Source, by the Divine Law of Justice. He is not working understanding. When working from this basis of error he becomes grasping, selfish and unjust.
Summing up, then, the belief in injustice should be treated with the affirmation that “all things are working together for good to those who love God.” And also, by affirming that the Divine Law of Justice is working perfectly in the individual towards all people; and in all people towards the individual. There will then be no thought of incompetency in doing what one desires to do, nor will there be any feeling that another is getting more than his share of the good things in this world. All will recognize that there is plenty for everyone in the inexhaustible Source of All-Good.
It is quite impossible to render true Justice without a clear conception of true Judgment. Just what do we mean by “Judgment”? In answering this question for ourselves, we must not forget with what we are dealing. We are dealing with mind. Judgment, therefore, we may say is a faculty of the mind. Through this faculty we are able to perceive Truth, and in righteousness bring all the other faculties into harmony and order. “Judgment” is referred to to a great extent in the Scriptures. Here it is applied to the action of the Divine Mind, God, in its work of judging, especially to the experiences men have when they are using the Law of Justice.
Everything we do, every thought we entertain, every affirmation or denial we make, carries with it a judgment. In other words, I may say that “judgment” is the result obtained by our thoughts, words and actions. For instance, should we continually hold that God, the All-Good, is all there really is, our character, our affairs, and all that has to do with us, would express the Good. This expression itself would be the “judgment.”
In the old theology we are taught to believe that there is to be a day of judgment; and this judgment-day everyone must face after passing through what is called death. This day is pictured to one as a day of trial in which God judges all, allowing some to enter heaven, while others are punished for sins committed upon earth. It is so good to be able to see that this cannot be true when one holds that God is love, and that he loves all of his children equally.
In Truth there is no especial day of judgment. Every day now is a judgment-day. Judgment is being administered for every thought, word and action. The day of judgment is the time in which we experience the results of our own creations. Often times we are not conscious of the judgment-day, but, even so, we are constantly arriving at the “judgment-day.”
In so far as there is a day of judgment, there must necessarily be a place where this judgment takes place. Where this “judgment-seat” is, is a question which is easily settled to one who is in the Truth. The judgment-seat of which we speak is right within every individual man. Because it is within man, and because every day brings one to the seat of judgment, we go through various experiences which seemingly cannot be accounted for.
As we have seen, judgment is continually going on within ourselves. It is not a question as to whether we are willing for it to go on or not, but whether we will accept or resist it. Our desire as to its continuing or stopping has nothing to do with it. It goes on regardless of human opinions of it. Should we resist it rather than accept it, our unpleasant experiences will be increased. It is our aim to overcome all our enemies (error beliefs) and allow eternal life to be manifest in our bodies. If we persist in resisting judgment we will experience a separateness in consciousness which is commonly called death. On the other hand, if we accept the judgments and hold them as helpful suggestions, we will develop in spiritual unfoldment and realize the blessings that will come with the righteous judgment.
Some one may say that God pronounces judgment on both the good and the evil ones. Before going any further, consider just what is meant in such a statement. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth” is quite true. The experiences which we have when we are quickened by the Spirit, or the judgments which are taken into consciousness and established in Truth and righteousness, are what we may understand as “chastening.” God chastens us by his judgments. That is, he corrects our mistakes, the errors, all that is not good in us, by giving us the Truth. By our acceptance of God’s judgment, or chastening, we receive blessings and grow in strength, love and wisdom.
From what we have understood so far, we may easily see the falsity of the belief in a future day of judgment taking place in a locality known as hell, where continually is a fire in which the evil ones are tortured. In the Scriptures we read considerable about the “hell-fire.” We must always take into consideration that the Bible is translated from a foreign language into English, and that there are words which do not have the same meaning in English that they have in the original Scriptures. “Hell” is one of these words. In the Scriptures we find three words translated “hell,” but all have a similar meaning. We have the word “Gehenna,” from the Greek Ge Hennan, which means “hell.” Also, we have another Greek word, Hades, which means “grave.” Again, the Hebrew word, Sheol, means “pit.” One can clearly see that the words must be studied as well as the general text in order to get a spiritual interpretation from the Scriptures.
The “hell-fire” mentioned in the Scriptures does not mean a place of eternal punishment, where those who are not good are cast, after death. (The English word “hell” comes from the Saxon word helan, and there is nothing in the meaning of that word which suggests eternal punishment, or torment.) “Hell-fire” simply means a place of purification. The “hell-fire” gets its origin from the fact that there is a valley near Jerusalem known as the Valley of Hinnon, or Ge Hennan, in which refuse, sewage, dead animals, and all waste matter was thrown. In this valley a fire was kept burning continually to consume this material. So the “hellfire” which we speak of is that in us which destroys and burns up all evil, all dross, and all that we wish to get rid of. God, Spirit, is this consuming or purifying fire. God does not consume men, but he destroys all that is not good in men. It is Spirit that takes out of our way that which we do not want. He will continue to destroy all evil thought, all uncleanliness in our lives until there is nothing more to destroy, and the Good alone remains. Then we will be renewed and purified.
The main purpose of the “hell-fire” is to purify our lives by destroying all error beliefs, so that we will perfectly express the Christ in every thought, word and deed. Jesus taught men the Truth of Being. He taught them that they should become perfect even as God, their Father, is perfect. We cannot become perfect while we are laboring under the error belief of misjudgment. This must and can be overcome by all men. Jesus taught us that we should not condemn anyone, that we should forgive everyone, that we should love our enemies and our neighbors. Perhaps, if we recall a few of Jesus’ sayings, we will be helped in overcoming the great error of misjudgment:
“Judge not according to appearances, but judge righteous judgment.”
“Neither do / condemn thee.”
“I seek not mine own glory; there is one that seeketh and judgeth.”
“I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”
So far we have seemingly put a great deal of stress upon judgment, and our attitude towards it. There is a reason why it is necessary, or important, to take the right attitude toward judgments. When one does take the true attitude toward them, he always gets the benefit of them, which he cannot do if he puts himself in an opposing attitude toward them. Should a friend comment upon some mistake we have made, or call our attention to the fact that there is, an easier way of accomplishing the thing which we are striving to do, it would be unkind of us to presume, or misjudge, that our friend’s motive was that of condemnation rather than of helpfulness. We very likely would take our friend’s suggestion, thank him, and if we were wise in the judgment of the Principle, we would correct our mistake. So it is with our attitude toward God’s judgments. We must not consider them as condemning, for we should realize that God is Love, and Love sees nothing but Good: Rather, we should put ourselves in the attitude of accepting God’s judgments as blessings, helps and suggestions for a speedy realization of the Truth of Being, and of our oneness with God.
We know that God created all things and pronounced them good. This being the Truth, there is no need for our allowing ourselves to fear anything, or to fear the judgments which are constantly being, received. Once we get the understanding of judgments fixed in our consciousness, together with their meaning and purpose, we then will overcome all fear of them. We must keep our eyes single to the Good. We must call everything good, for so it is. We should never allow our thoughts to dwell upon two powers—good and evil. There is but one power—Good. We should see all our fellow-men as created in the image and likeness of God; and we should constantly see them manifesting, perfectly, the Christ Whatever we give to the world, that we receive from the world. If we send loving thoughts to our fellow-men, if we refrain from condemning anyone, if we are ever praising and giving thanks, we need not fear judgments. Jesus tells us ‘that as we judge we shall be judged. If our judgment is true, righteous, and in accordance with the Divine Law of Justice, we will surely overcome all fear of judgment, and know that righteous judgment helps one to express God in all ways.
We read in the Scriptures that God is the “consuming fire.” Yes, this is true; but, as we have seen before, God does not consume men, but all error beliefs, and all things that are harmful to the expression of the Perfect Man. Also, we know that God is Eternal, and that God is Love. God, being Love, is always ready and willing to forgive us for all our mistakes and shortcomings. Knowing that this “purifying fire” of Spirit is eternal, we know that we can never be put into a place of everlasting torment, or eternal punishment. By asking God for forgiveness for our errors, we will receive his love and blessing, and become purified, renewed, and come into conscious at-one-ment with Spirit.
With this Truth fixed in our consciousness we can fearlessly attack the thought of the “unpardonable sin” of which we hear a great deal. “The unpardonable sin” mentioned in the Scriptures is the sin against the Holy Ghost. This, however, is unpardonable only as we allow it to be. Our resistance of the Holy Spirit keeps us from receiving the love of the Spirit. If we do not receive this love we cannot realize it, nor are we able to let it express in us towards our fellow-men. God is always ready and willing to forgive us our mistakes. It is only when man is not ready to receive from God this forgiveness that his sin becomes, or remains, unpardonable.
It is always well to make definite affirmations in all things. We have considered certain statements which will help us to overcome the error of misjudgment, so let us now consider some truths which will help us to quicken our faith in Divine Justice which follows Divine Judgment:
“God is my help in every need. God does my every hunger feed.”
God is the Spirit of Divine Justice, and he is working in and through me continually.
“The Divine Law of Justice is now working perfectly in me towards all people; and the Divine Law of Justice is now working perfectly in all people towards me.”
“All things are working together for good” to me.
“No height, nor depth, nor time, nor space can keep my own away from me.”
“There is plenty for you and for me.”
No one can keep that which does not belong to him.
“O, princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice.” The starting place in every reform, or in every, change of government must begin with every individual member of society. Once the individual is on the path of Truth, then the surrounding community will be effected. It will not be long before society as a whole will feel the influence of the individual who is living the Life of Spirit What applies to the individual applies to society, for the latter is made up of the former. “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, seeketh not its own; ... but rejoiceth with the Truth” (I Cor. 13:4-6).
‘Tis life whereof our nerves are scant,
Oh, life, not death, for which we pant,
More life and fuller that we want.