Ask: I judge my judgmental friend. What is going on here?

I have been a student of ACIM for about 5 years, being brought to it by someone who has been studying it for 30 years and who considers himself to be a great expert in it.   The trouble is he is a difficult personality who sometimes becomes very judgmental of people and situations.  I think someone who is so into the Course should not be like this and I point this out, in what I consider to be a calm and loving way.   He, however, hates any criticism and gets very angry with me and accuses me of judging him, whereupon I point out (rather less calmly!) that he is judging me ... and so it goes on with us both getting very angry and shouting at one another.  What's going on here? –Anonymous

            What is going on is two egos (personal thought systems) battling for who is going to be “right” in the mistaken belief that being right will undo guilt. Your friend’s judgments on others are his ideas of what is right. You judge him as wrong and you think that however you think he “should” be is right. Attack and defend. Attack and defend. You are both feeling guilty and terrified.
When your friend sees the ego in others it reminds him of the ego in his mind. He still feels very guilty about the ego in his mind. Otherwise, seeing ego in others would not bother him. Without guilt he would just observe the ego in himself and in others instead of projecting his guilt onto them.
He feels attacked and afraid when you judge him because he unconsciously agrees with you that he “should” be different. So he attacks you, the mirror of his own guilt, instead of recognizing that his feeling that he is being attacked comes from his own belief in his own guilt.
You, too, feel guilty for the ego in your mind. When you see him coming from ego it reminds you of the ego in your mind. In your guilt you attack him, the mirror in which you see your own guilty mind.
            I’m going to take a whack at what else is going on with you. It scares you that someone who has been studying for 30 years still gives so much power to the ego in his mind. But remember that time studying the Course is pointless if it is not put into practice. Intellectual study alone will not bring peace. Willingness to work through your obstacles to peace will result in peace. You must be willing to use every situation as a classroom. When you cannot just observe another but you get an emotional charge from their attitudes, behavior, or words know that this indicates that you have something to learn about yourself. So you can be grateful to this relationship for bringing your belief in guilt to your conscious awareness. Now you can let your friend go his own way and bring your guilt to the Holy Spirit to work through.

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will said…

I became involved in Alcoholics Anonymous in 1984. I have been sober ever since. There are a lot of "old-timers" ( people with years of sobriety) that are just like the man you are describing. Know the Big Book and progam inside out but are very difficult to get along with. Using any of these programs, religion, 12 step, the Course as an intellectual exercise is a long hard road. It seems a universal law that if you use the ego to make changes you get what you paid for. One of my attractions to the Course was it's statement that it is experiential.

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