When I first began attending church, I was soon introduced to the idea of a “Last Judgment.” It was a fearful idea, one that made me feel guilty and afraid of what I might face if and when I met my Maker. Many of us no doubt joined a church or made a profession of some kind in order to assure us escape from the “last judgment”. It was based on the idea that God made our physical bodies so what we did with them or didn’t would have to be reckoned with.
Over the years I have come to understand that God is Spirit and no doubt the early teachings of people like Jesus were to help people understand they were not bodies but in essence and in timelessness, connected as one with their Creator and all His Creation as Spirit. Of course, the church has taught for many centuries that we were bodies and when the body dies, we just sleep for a few centuries, longer or shorter, and then arise and continue on in a place called heaven, if we passed the final Judgment. This way we can keep our forms and hopefully, gain a more perfected model of our individuality.
In a what some call “awakening,” we can become aware that we are not our bodies but spirit beings. It is the crux of the situation when in the Bible, a man named Nicodemus came to Jesus one night and ended up discussing being “born again.” When Jesus mentioned this necessity to the man in order to gain the Presence or Kingdom of Heaven, Nicodemus was shocked. Would he need to be reborn from a new mother’s womb in order to fulfill this mandate? “No,” Jesus answered, “it is a Spiritual awakening or birth.”
In the plan of awakening, humanity was to be able, and is still able, to accept forgiveness for all the false ideas and actions of the body/mind, ideas of specialness or greed, fear and unloving actions toward others, and even hatred toward the idea of a loving and merciful Creator of us all. Yet, our tendency is to forget and build up systems to preserve a life of egocentric ideas and accomplishments. Thousands of these have been created, in my view, into religious systems that preserve and maintain structures of form and rigid judgments with fear rather than a Spirit of freedom and love.
When we were raising four children in past years, we had to learn, as most parents, that when a child acts outside of acceptable boundaries, as they and we all do, we remind them of the mistake and need to rethink, and then forget it. To nag and pester a child or even another adult with their past failures is debilitating and self-defeating. It gives them and us a very self-defeating and negative self-image. I admired the school principal, who once told me in dealing with inappropriate student behaviors, he dealt with the student as the rules required, then forgot it and treated the young person as though it never happened.
The Last Judgment isn’t to be a fearful and damning device but simply, as the Course of Miracles describes it, a time of “right evaluation” to return us to our right minded thinking. We realize we have acting unwisely and unloving without forgiveness to ourselves and others, and then we let it go. Yes, our separation from Truth, from the Spirit God of Love has no doubt occurred over millions of years and many life times. But the process can be greatly time shortened by our forgiveness and absorption into that which is eternal, timeless, and unending love. It is not physical but it can be expressed in our lifetimes with love and forgiveness to ourselves and others. In a sense then, all the projections of the world and the hatred and mistakes we have made are as nothing. As the world and universe and time itself, they will all pass. “The world passes away and all that is in it,” the Bible says, “ but the Word of God abides forever.” As God’s children, we are part of this word, forever.
Yes, the Last Judgment simply means we finally come to the place when we are finally “self-realized” back into our eternal home, a journey in time yet without any distance at all in eternity. It is a wonderful, freeing place to be and way to walk our brief earthly journeys. We slowly learn not to take things so seriously with an ability to let them go. We overlook the insanities and futilities about us, with love and patience. We slowly learn the art of love, of sharing it with all we encounter along the way.
Judge yourselves as worthy, then! Judge yourself not according to appearance, income levels, gender, race, nationality or whatever outward form you carry, but judge yourselves as eternal beings of love, created by the loving Father, or Mother, to be that very idea from the beginning, and forever more. And be free to be, to be carried by the wind, being free forever.