Aught Against Thee



Humanly, if others have done us wrong, we either condemn, ostracize, or wait for them to come to us with some kind of an apology, but spiritually, “if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” It may go against normal human nature, but we have to take the first step and make the first move. This would truly be loving our neighbor. It is all to do with coming to understand the truth of Man as the Child of God.

And so, though most are familiar with the principle requirement of if we have aught against anyone, before we bring ourselves to the altar, we must make peace with our brother, do we realize there is that further step of the converse we have to take, a deeper requirement, before we are ready to return unto the altar of the silence of our own Being to pray? It would certainly make sense to us all that we can harbor no grudge or sense of separation between ourselves and our so-called others, and that is indeed the first step, but we have to take the second step, a step that imposes or invites an even greater challenge, as the rational, reasonable mind may well question why it should make peace if it has nothing against someone else. Clearly, this has to be a selfless act of humility, to “agree with thine adversary,” to go and make peace with one who has aught against us, “for verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” It seems a reversal of roles and responsibilities, which makes getting ourselves out of the picture even more necessary. But humility and Love, true oneness between all men, is the great disarmer, for none will beat us with the Olive Branch of Peace extended to them to release them from condemnation. It opens the door to union, revealing our freedom to return to the altar and pray, in “Spirit and in Truth.”


When my children were three and two years old respectively, they used to play in the small yard outside the back door of our rented apartment, a small two-room basement I lived in for 26 years. One day while working at my desk in the living room — the other room being the kitchen, where my children used to play in one half of the room and sleep on folding camp beds that were brought out of the cupboard at night and put away in the morning — my wife came in and said, “Something just landed outside the back door!”

“Something just landed outside the back door?” What on earth could she be talking about? So I went out to see, and yes, sure enough — and I will not pull any punches when I describe this situation, for we all are or can be challenged to extremity from time to time — “something” surely had “landed outside the back door,” right where the children played, on a small area of concrete and amongst a small patch of grass. Unmistakable were the scattered remnants of human excrement! It had clearly come straight down from our own building, yet I knew most of the residents and could not imagine any of them would do such a thing, but I was so outraged, I immediately shouted up at the building so that the perpetrator might hear how disgusting it was and how outraged we were. I think the whole neighborhood must have heard! I immediately went upstairs to the front of the building and rang all the door-bells to see who was home. The only reply was from the top floor apartment, the sixth floor resident. I apologized for disturbing him and explained what had happened, asking if I could come in and speak with him, as I could not imagine who would do such a thing.

Although I had seen him come and go many times, we had never spoken. He was a very large, thick-set young man, often in and out very late at night, though I had no idea what he did. So disregarding any concepts we may have held about him, my wife and I walked up the six floors to his door, carrying our two children, noticing as we approached the top floor that the toilet to his apartment was a full flight of stairs down from where he lived. As he opened the door, we immediately saw he had a broken ankle, as his right foot was in a cast. I explained, without accusing, how unacceptable it was and how shocked and upset we were, especially having the two small children, feeling sure he would understand, as he certainly did, though he denied any involvement in it.

Yet despite his insistence he knew nothing about the situation, the evidence was so clear: He had a broken foot. His bathroom was many stairs below his apartment. And he clearly, instead of using it in his situation, had thrown his excrement out of the back window. It was obvious, wasn’t it — and certainly too convincing for my wife to disregard, he being the only resident home, after all.

And so, convinced as she was, unbeknown to me, as I was about the unpleasant task of cleaning up the mess outside the back door, my wife who by then was on her way out to the grocery store, unable to contain herself, and understandably upset, had shouted at him over the intercom that she knew it was him.

As I was about to put the cleaned-up mess into the dustbins in the basement garbage shed at the front of the house, I was suddenly confronted by a raging bull, the resident from the sixth floor, shouting down at me through the railings on the pavement. He was accompanied by two of his pals, both equally menacing, and demanded I come up and talk to him, all the while shouting obscenities about my wife and her accusations. He had such a huge hand, he grabbed me by the throat, nearly lifting me up off my feet, pressing me against the railings, one pugnacious-looking “mate” on either side of him, with their grimacing faces, like caricatures of rage, up against mine while my neighbor ranted abuse. I crossed my legs, expecting any second to be kneed in the groin as he ranted and raved about my wife, telling me what he would do if she ever falsely accused him of anything again. Needless to say, I was quite shaken by this encounter and had to go and sit quietly in my chair afterwards to gather myself and find my peace.

That evening, once I had finally settled down, when the other residents came home, I mentioned to a young Indian man who lived with his wife on the third floor, what had happened. He immediately apologized and said, “Oh dear, that would be my grandfather. He arrived yesterday from Bombay and is staying with us for a few days on his way to the United States — and that is what he is used to doing, and he doesn’t know how to use the toilet!”

Oh, dear! I realized we had no choice but to call on the man on the top floor and ask in all humility if we could come in and speak with him again, apologizing profusely and explaining how upset my wife had been, the evidence she had seen, and how she could not help but jump to that conclusion. I asked him to shake hands, saying we were sorry and understood why he was so upset, and hoped there would be no ill-feeling between us.

The strange thing was, over the next few days, I still felt disturbed by the situation and was unable to meditate and be totally at peace. There still was an unpleasant feeling and I was disturbed by the vibration of “having him in the building,” which was, of course, only mental suggestion, and so had to constantly work on myself to release all sense or thought of judgment about him. But I cannot say he inspired a pleasant feeling in me and I knew despite my humble explanation and apology, he was unrepentant about his own actions, as despite seeing him on a few subsequent occasions, we never spoke again. But I kept doing my inner work to realize the whole “building” was filled with only One Presence — in fact, that there was no “building” or “material situation,” there was only my own consciousness of omnipresence, regardless of appearances and despite all evidence to the contrary — gratefully finally finding my peace and the release I waited on from within myself, from the disruption of suggestion. I was finally able to “return to the altar to pray.”

The next thing I knew, to my surprise, he had moved out! The issue or cause for conflict was resolved or removed. The “problem” was no more. Having found my peace with the situation, it found outer expression in this way — but all because, “Before you come to the altar to pray, if any man hath aught against you, go and make peace with him, then come and offer your gift at the altar.”

We might sometimes wonder why some things come into our experience. But we only need refer to the story of Jesus to realize the Christ is fulfilling Its purpose in and through us all, “to will and to do unto Its good pleasure,” healing the sickness of this world, all of which hints at Love’s way of finding the lost through “attracting the detractor.” So, once we begin to find our peace, My Peace, the Christ Peace, we have to expect the world to knock on our door. It may not look like that is what is happening. They may not seem to be “asking for help”; they may seem to be violent accusers, shouting “Crucify him! Crucify him!” but in a way they know not, the Son of Man is come unto them, the Son of Man in Jesus, the Son of Man in you, and the Son of Man in me.


And how awake to the Call we have to be. We cannot harbor a grudge. We must find our peace and our release in the moment, then walk on, with no one to judge, no one to condemn, and no one to forgive, for “there remaineth no condemnation in those who have their being in Christ.” No man can claim to have fully attained, so life for us all is about the hope of redemption and forgiveness, a life lived in freedom, without judgment and condemnation; and we can all be instrumental in bringing that life into the world, that it might literally be the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, here and now, and always.

No moment is without purpose, and so, just like the man on the train, there is no knowing what has become of “the man upstairs,” but one thing for sure, in a way he knows not, in that moment of connection, he began the journey of awakening back to the Father’s house of his own being. And so we can all be instrumental in the lives of others, transforming without doing, simply through being.


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From Ch 23, “Understanding Forgiveness,” The Day of Awakening.             Return to Top



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