Tempted by another's sins

Monday, Dec 20, 2021 1076 words 4 mins 46 secs
An A Course in Miracles Blog  © 2021 Paul West

The ego is sneaky about projecting sin and guilt onto others. If someone else is not really doing anything wrong, it is riskier and perhaps more difficult for you to "unfairly" project your own sin and guilt onto them. If you do, it will appear much more obvious that you are the one doing the attacking, and that it is not called for. This is too "overt". Just picking some random innocent target and attacking it would indeed be vicious, but our ego tends not to do this.

Instead, we lay a trap and lay in wait, trying to find a target. A target is someone who, of their apparent own free will, is sinning on their own. Someone who is digging their own grave. Someone who is hurting, attacking, being at fault, choosing poorly, doing something offensive, believing wrongly, saying harmful words, punishing or whatever. So long as the person is, themselves, seeming to be clearly the one who is sinning.

"The body's eyes are therefore not the means by which the real world can be seen, for the illusions that they look upon must lead to more illusions of reality. And so they do. For everything they see not only will not last, but lends itself to thoughts of sin and guilt."

Once we see this "proof of sin" in someone else, it becomes a strong temptation. It tempts you to believe it. It almost invites you to agree with it, to see judgement as justified, and to therefore launch an attack which reinforces the person's sinfulness. But this is a slippery slope, even though it's what the ego enjoys as its less overt tactic.

When it's clearly someone else who seems to be wrong, it presents a wonderful opportunity for your own ego. Since all attention is on the other person, and since they appear to be the one who is making things worse for themselves and everyone, your ego takes the "opportunity" to sneak in and USE it for its purposes.

If it can now condemn and accuse the person, based on "what they are doing", it seems completely justified. But the sneaky thing is that you aren't having to "invent" a sin for them to be accused of. They have already provided a nice sin for you to latch onto. All you have to do is "point it out". So now the ego simply seems to be mirroring what the person is already doing, rather than making a "fresh accusation".

By doing this, the attack upon the person becomes disguised. It hides in the darkness of the other person's actions. They were already sinning, so it seems like you're not ADDING anything to them. And so simply by "identifying it" and "pointing it out" and labelling it AS a sin, you appear to be not attacking them at all. But if you step back, you ARE still in fact accusing them of sin still, you are attacking them, you are compounding their own sin, and are being just as judgemental as before.

It's just that, when someone else provides the "material", you seem to not be the one who is "inventing" the sin, so your accusation against them seems invisible. It doesn't stand out from what they are already going. It's like you slip in a little sin of your own hidden by theirs. All the focus is on them, by their own doing, so your ego gets to hide from being the center of attention. It's still attacking but now it seems like you're not doing anything.

This becomes quite risky though, to yourself, because you can become quite blinded by this sleight of hand, even unto yourself as you're doing it. You may not even realize that you have been "tempted" by the sin of another, and that you fell for it, believed in it, and recognized it as a perfect opportunity to condemn without the implication fo yourself. You can then find yourself accusing the other of "doing what they're obviosuly doing", convincing yourself that YOU are not doing anything, and therefore are now are attacking even more unconsciously.

It's one thing to be more aware of your desire to project your own shit onto someone else. It's another to be attacking someone on the basis of what they are seeming to do, and then not even realizing that you're attacking them. When they are the "source" of the sin, you can easily lose sight of how you are contributing to it, or mirroring it. Your own attack becomes invisible to you, and then you believe that you're not even doing anything wrong at all.

Thus you end up in a pattern of not attacking people unless they sin first, and then when they do seem to sin, you take it as an ideal opportunity to scapegoat. Because you think no-one will notice what YOU are doing because they'll be so busy focusing on what THEY are doing. A good decoy goes a long way. Except that you even distract your own attention, and now you much more easily allow your mind to fall into a scapegoating mode.

Overall I personally experience this as "falling for temptation", in that the world is constantly presenting "opportunities" to focus on sin and make it real. It's a constant vigilance to try not to "take a cheap shot", when someone is obviously mistaken in some way. If I don't recognize it as "just a mistake", I will make it real and try to compound it, drawing myself away from myself, trying to displace my own guilt onto someone else. But only if "they started it."

No-one wants to overly be seen as an unjustified attacker, so we wait until someone makes the first move, before we pounce on it. Then the gloves come off and the claws come out, and rightly so, because now the other person has invited us to attack them. They want punishment, and if we agree with that we will give it to them, and benefit from doing so. It's much easier to "fall for" this temptation to "beat someone when they are down" than to look like a total a-hole hurting people for no apparent reason. This is why almost all attacks on others are "justified" as being "called for" based on what we think other people "did wrong first."

Of course, "only the self-accused condemn" and "we but accuse our brother of our own sins."

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