ACIM Text Reading for June 14
Chapter 19 ~ The Attainment of Peace
III. The Unreality of Sin
The attraction of guilt is found in sin, not error. Sin will be repeated because of this attraction. Fear can become so acute that the sin is denied the acting out. But while the guilt remains attractive the mind will suffer, and not let go of the idea of sin. For guilt still calls to it, and the mind hears it and yearns for it, making itself a willing captive to its sick appeal. Sin is an idea of evil that cannot be corrected, and yet will be forever desirable. As an essential part of what the ego thinks you are, you will always want it. And only an avenger, with a mind unlike your own, could stamp it out through fear.
The ego does not think it possible that love, not fear, is really called upon by sin, and always answers. For the ego brings sin to fear, demanding punishment. Yet punishment is but another form of guilt’s protection, for what is deserving punishment must have been really done. Punishment is always the great preserver of sin, treating it with respect and honouring its enormity. What must be punished, must be true. And what is true must be eternal, and will be repeated endlessly. For what you think is real you want, and will not let it go.
An error, on the other hand, is not attractive. What you see clearly as a mistake you want corrected. Sometimes a sin can be repeated over and over, with obviously distressing results, but without the loss of its appeal. And suddenly, you change its status from a sin to a mistake. Now you will not repeat it; you will merely stop and let it go, unless the guilt remains. For then you will but change the form of sin, granting that it was an error, but keeping it uncorrectable. This is not really a change in your perception, for it is sin that calls for punishment, not error.
The Holy Spirit cannot punish sin. Mistakes He recognises, and would correct them all as God entrusted Him to do. But sin He knows not, nor can He recognise mistakes that cannot be corrected. For a mistake that cannot be corrected is meaningless to Him. Mistakes are for correction, and they call for nothing else. What calls for punishment must call for nothing. Every mistake must be a call for love. What, then, is sin? What could it be but a mistake you would keep hidden; a call for help that you would keep unheard and thus unanswered?
In time, the Holy Spirit clearly sees the Son of God can make mistakes. On this you share His vision. Yet you do not share His recognition of the difference between time and eternity. And when correction is completed, time is eternity. The Holy Spirit can teach you how to look on time differently and see beyond it, but not while you believe in sin. In error, yes, for this can be corrected by the mind. But sin is the belief that your perception is unchangeable, and that the mind must accept as true what it is told through it. If it does not obey, the mind is judged insane. The only power that could change perception is thus kept impotent, held to the body by the fear of changed perception which its Teacher, Who is one with it, would bring.
When you are tempted to believe that sin is real, remember this: If sin is real, both God and you are not. If creation is extension, the Creator must have extended Himself, and it is impossible that what is part of Him is totally unlike the rest. If sin is real, God must be at war with Himself. He must be split, and torn between good and evil; partly sane and partially insane. For He must have created what wills to destroy Him, and has the power to do so. Is it not easier to believe that you have been mistaken than to believe in this?
While you believe that your reality or your brother’s is bounded by a body, you will believe in sin. While you believe that bodies can unite, you will find guilt attractive and believe that sin is precious. For the belief that bodies limit mind leads to a perception of the world in which the proof of separation seems to be everywhere. And God and His creation seem to be split apart and overthrown. For sin would prove what God created holy could not prevail against it, nor remain itself before the power of sin. Sin is perceived as mightier than God, before which God Himself must bow, and offer His creation to its conqueror. Is this humility or madness?
If sin is real, it must forever be beyond the hope of healing. For there would be a power beyond God’s, capable of making another will that could attack His Will and overcome it; and give His Son a will apart from His, and stronger. And each part of God’s fragmented creation would have a different will, opposed to His, and in eternal opposition to Him and to each other. Your holy relationship has, as its purpose now, the goal of proving this is impossible. Heaven has smiled upon it, and the belief in sin has been uprooted in its smile of love. You see it still, because you do not realise that its foundation has gone. Its source has been removed, and so it can be cherished but a little while before it vanishes. Only the habit of looking for it still remains.
And yet you look with Heaven’s smile upon your lips, and Heaven’s blessing on your sight. You will not see sin long. For in the new perception the mind corrects it when it seems to be seen, and it becomes invisible. Errors are quickly recognised and quickly given to correction, to be healed, not hidden. You will be healed of sin and all its ravages the instant that you give it no power over your brother. And you will help him overcome mistakes by joyously releasing him from the belief in sin.
In the holy instant, you will see the smile of Heaven shining on both you and your brother. And you will shine upon him, in glad acknowledgement of the grace that has been given you. For sin will not prevail against a union Heaven has smiled upon. Your perception was healed in the holy instant Heaven gave you. Forget what you have seen, and raise your eyes in faith to what you now can see. The barriers to Heaven will disappear before your holy sight, for you who were sightless have been given vision, and you can see. Look not for what has been removed, but for the glory that has been restored for you to see.
Look upon your Redeemer, and behold what He would show you in your brother, and let not sin arise again to blind your eyes. For sin would keep you separate from him, but your Redeemer would have you look upon your brother as yourself. Your relationship is now a temple of healing; a place where all the weary ones can come and rest. Here is the rest that waits for all, after the journey. And it is brought nearer to all by your relationship.
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ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 14
Let not my mind deny the Thought of God.
What makes this world seem real except your own denial of the truth that lies beyond? What but your thoughts of misery and death obscure the perfect happiness and the eternal life your Father wills for you? And what could hide what cannot be concealed except illusion? What could keep from you what you already have except your choice to see it not, denying it is there?
The Thought of God created you. It left you not, nor have you ever been apart from it an instant. It belongs to you. By it you live. It is your Source of life, holding you one with it, and everything is one with you because it left you not. The Thought of God protects you, cares for you, makes soft your resting place and smooth your way, lighting your mind with happiness and love. Eternity and everlasting life shine in your mind, because the Thought of God has left you not, and still abides with you.
Who would deny his safety and his peace, his joy, his healing and his peace of mind, his quiet rest, his calm awakening, if he but recognized where they abide? Would he not instantly prepare to go where they are found, abandoning all else as worthless in comparison with them? And having found them, would he not make sure they stay with him, and he remain with them?
Deny not Heaven. It is yours today, but for the asking. Nor need you perceive how great the gift, how changed your mind will be before it comes to you. Ask to receive, and it is given you. Conviction lies within it. Till you welcome it as yours, uncertainty remains. Yet God is fair. Sureness is not required to receive what only your acceptance can bestow.
Ask with desire. You need not be sure that you request the only thing you want. But when you have received, you will be sure you have the treasure you have always sought. What would you then exchange for it? What would induce you now to let it fade away from your ecstatic vision? For this sight proves that you have exchanged your blindness for the seeing eyes of Christ; your mind has come to lay aside denial, and accept the Thought of God as your inheritance.
Now is all doubting past, the journey’s end made certain, and salvation given you. Now is Christ’s power in your mind, to heal as you were healed. For now you are among the saviors of the world. Your destiny lies there and nowhere else. Would God consent to let His Son remain forever starved by his denial of the nourishment he needs to live? Abundance dwells in him, and deprivation cannot cut him off from God’s sustaining Love and from his home.
Practice today in hope. For hope indeed is justified. Your doubts are meaningless, for God is certain. And the Thought of Him is never absent. Sureness must abide within you who are host to Him. This course removes all doubts which you have interposed between Him and your certainty of Him.
We count on God, and not upon ourselves, to give us certainty. And in His Name we practice as His Word directs we do. His sureness lies beyond our every doubt. His Love remains beyond our every fear. The Thought of Him is still beyond all dreams and in our minds, according to His Will.
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ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #703: What is view of A Course in Miracles on black magic/voodoo? Specifically the belief that another can harm you through the use of black magic. Can another control or guide your thought to cause you physical harm?
A: Jesus tells us in the text: “If you will recognize that all the attack you perceive is in your own mind and nowhere else, you will at last have placed its source, and where it begins it must end. For in this same place also lies salvation” (T.12.III.10:1,2). This is the foundation of the Course’s teaching on forgiveness and the answer to your question. No one can control or guide another’s thought to cause harm to the body. The mind that chooses to believe either the ego or the Holy Spirit is the only source of our experience in the dream. When the mind chooses to identify with the body, it attacks itself. The attack is a denial of the true identity of God’s Son as mind, and is therefore an attack on God. The inevitable guilt that follows this attack is projected on to the body. Identification with the body, which is alien to the mind’s natural condition as spirit, is the real source of all pain, anxiety, and every form of suffering that the body experiences. The mind has filled the entire physical universe with weapons to defend the choice for separation, and convince itself that the body and the world are real. The arsenal includes both positive and negative external agents that have been given power over the body’s physical condition, and seem to have the ability to give peace or take it away. When the mind chooses to identify with the ego rather than the Holy Spirit, the choice is expressed by an “agreement” with something (germs, viruses, car accidents), or someone (doctors, voodoo masters, politicians) in the world of form to be the seeming cause of all types of physical, emotional, or psychological distress. That is the ego’s version of cause and effect, and is the magic principle as Jesus explains it in the Course: “The body cannot create, and the belief that it can, a fundamental error, produces all physical symptoms. …The whole distortion that made magic rests on the belief that there is a creative ability in matter which the mind cannot control” (T.2.IV.2:6,8).
This means that neither black magic nor any negative experience can take our peace away, any more than a beautiful sunset can bring us peace. By the same token, when the mind chooses healing the choice may be reflected in the world through joining with a physician or other healer. The important thing to remember is that it is always the mind that chooses attack (the ego) or healing (the Holy Spirit).
Our learning begins with our willingness to recognize how much we believe in our identity as bodies and prefer the ego’s reversal of cause and effect, which supports our need to perceive ourselves as unfairly treated victims, rather than minds with the power to choose. The body was made to be vulnerable to attack. It gets sick, ages, decays and eventually dies. None of this matters nor has any effect on the mind’s true identity. One of the important goals in studying and practicing the principles of the Course in our lives is to learn to identify with the mind, rather than with the body. This learning is a process that takes time, and the willingness to bring everything in our lives, positive as well as negative, to the Holy Spirit to be transformed through forgiveness.