ACIM Text Reading for July 22
Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness
III. The Forgiveness of Specialness
Forgiveness is the end of specialness. Only illusions can be forgiven, and then they disappear. Forgiveness is release from all illusion, and that is why it is impossible but partly to forgive. No one who clings to one illusion can see himself as sinless, for he holds one error to himself as lovely still. And so he calls it ‘unforgivable’, and makes it sin. How can he then give his forgiveness wholly, when he would not receive it for himself? For it is sure he would receive it wholly the instant that he gave it so. And thus his secret guilt would disappear, forgiven by himself.
Whatever form of specialness you cherish, you have made sin. Inviolate it stands, strongly defended with all your puny might against the Will of God. And thus it stands against yourself; your enemy, not God’s. So does it seem to split you off from God, and make you separate from Him as its defender. You would protect what God created not. And yet, this idol that seems to give you power has taken it away. For you have given your brother’s birthright to it, leaving him alone and unforgiven, and yourself in sin beside him, both in misery, before the idol that can save you not.
It is not you who are so vulnerable and open to attack that just a word, a little whisper that you do not like, a circumstance that suits you not, or an event that you did not anticipate upsets your world, and hurls it into chaos. Truth is not frail. Illusions leave it perfectly unmoved and undisturbed. But specialness is not the truth in you. It can be thrown off balance by anything. What rests on nothing never can be stable. However large and overblown it seems to be, it still must rock and turn and whirl about with every breeze.
Without foundation nothing is secure. Would God have left His Son in such a state, where safety has no meaning? No, His Son is safe, resting on Him. It is your specialness that is attacked by everything that walks and breathes, or creeps or crawls, or even lives at all. Nothing is safe from its attack, and it is safe from nothing. It will forevermore be unforgiving, for that is what it is; a secret vow that what God wants for you will never be, and that you will oppose His Will forever. Nor is it possible the two can ever be the same, while specialness stands like a flaming sword of death between them, and makes them enemies.
God asks for your forgiveness. He would have no separation, like an alien will, rise between what He wills for you and what you will. They are the same, for neither one wills specialness. How could they will the death of love itself? Yet they are powerless to make attack upon illusions. They are not bodies; as one Mind they wait for all illusions to be brought to them, and left behind. Salvation challenges not even death. And God Himself, Who knows that death is not your will, must say, ‘Thy will be done’ because you think it is.
Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life, of love and holiness, the perfect Father of a perfect Son, for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this. The way is barred to love and to salvation. Yet if you would release your brother from the depths of hell, you have forgiven Him Whose Will it is you rest forever in the arms of peace, in perfect safety, and without the heat and malice of one thought of specialness to mar your rest. Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead.
The special ones are all asleep, surrounded by a world of loveliness they do not see. Freedom and peace and joy stand there, beside the bier on which they sleep, and call them to come forth and waken from their dream of death. Yet they hear nothing. They are lost in dreams of specialness. They hate the call that would awaken them, and they curse God because He did not make their dream reality. Curse God and die, but not by Him Who made not death; but only in the dream. Open your eyes a little; see the saviour God gave to you that you might look on him, and give him back his birthright. It is yours.
The slaves of specialness will yet be free. Such is the Will of God and of His Son. Would God condemn Himself to hell and to damnation? And do you will that this be done unto your saviour? God calls to you from him to join His Will to save you both from hell. Look on the print of nails upon his hands that he holds out for your forgiveness. God asks your mercy on His Son and on Himself. Deny Them not. They ask of you but that your will be done. They seek your love that you may love yourself. Love not your specialness instead of Them. The print of nails is on your hands as well. Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 22
For this review we take but one idea each day, and practice it as often as is possible. Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than fifteen minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage, and invite the memory of God to come again.
With this in mind we start our practicing, in which we carefully review the thoughts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us in our last twenty lessons. Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day. One is enough. But from that one, there must be no exceptions made. And so we need to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole we learn.
These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. It is this:
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
The day begins and ends with this. And we repeat it every time the hour strikes, or we remember, in between, we have a function that transcends the world we see. Beyond this, and a repetition of the special thought we practice for the day, no form of exercise is urged, except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind, and makes it deaf to reason, sanity and simple truth.
We will attempt to get beyond all words and special forms of practicing for this review. For we attempt, this time, to reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God. We merely close our eyes, and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. For thus is freedom given us from all we did not know and failed to understand.
There is but one exception to this lack of structuring. Permit no idle thought to go unchallenged. If you notice one, deny its hold and hasten to assure your mind that this is not what it would have. Then gently let the thought which you denied be given up, in sure and quick exchange for the idea we practice for the day.
When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation, as you say:
This thought I do not want. I choose instead _____.
And then repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you thought. Beyond such special applications of each day’s idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid in practicing. Instead, we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.
To Him I offer this review for you. I place you in His charge, and let Him teach you what to do and say and think, each time you turn to Him. He will not fail to be available to you, each time you call to Him to help you. Let us offer Him the whole review we now begin, and let us also not forget to Whom it has been given, as we practice day by day, advancing toward the goal He set for us; allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of freedom to the world.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(183) I call upon God’s Name and on my own.
The Name of God is my deliverance from every thought of
evil and of sin, because it is my own as well as His.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #453: “Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified” (T.24.III.8:13) to me is one of the most important statements in A Course in Miracles. It contains the key to our release, yet it shows the main reason for our resistance to this release. Your comments on this statement would be most welcome.
A: Well said! Leading up to this grand conclusion, Jesus says, “Forgive the great Creator of the universe, the Source of life…for your illusions of your specialness. Here is the hell you chose to be your home. He chose not this for you. Ask not He enter this.…Forgive the Holy One the specialness He could not give, and that you made instead” (T.24.III.6:1,2,3,4,7). The ego has tried, from the very beginning, to implicate God in the horrors and suffering in the world, and in our personal lives. How wonderful it would be, for the ego, if God were held to be ultimately responsible for everything, which of course is exactly what is proclaimed in the Bible and the religions and philosophies based on the Bible.
Here in A Course in Miracles, and specifically in the passage you cite, Jesus is correcting that eons-old belief. God has nothing to do with the vicious world of specialness and crucifixion. He could not. Love can only love. That is why we have to forgive God; He is not part of our insanity, despite our desperately wanting Him to be.
Therefore, if crucifixion is in our lives, we are the ones who put it there, and want it there. That is a bitter pill to swallow for most of us, and we would resist it with all our might, because we would then have to admit that we have been wrong about every single thing we have ever thought. Our lives — our thoughts and emotions — are turned upside down, and we break out in a cold sweat in the face of such an awesome accusation. To hold others — ultimately God — responsible for our perceptions of crucifixion thus protects us from the deeply buried belief that we are the ones who crucified infinite love so that our own need for specialness could be satisfied. Jesus is exposing this deception, while assuring us that looking with him at this deep, dark secret is the only way we will ever be liberated permanently from all the pain and death that mark our lives in this world. There is nothing that stands in the way of this freedom other than our own choice to be right rather than happy. And that is not sinful — just silly.
Q #690: I am having great difficulty with one phrase that keeps recurring in A Course in Miracles and it has shown up in Question #453, which centers on the statement, “Forgive your Father it was not His Will that you be crucified” (T.24.III.8:13). The troublesome statement is: “That is why we have to forgive God; He is not part of our insanity…” In the common use of forgive, I would forgive someone for some wrong that they have done to me and I hold no grudge against them. How can I forgive God? He has not done anything to my detriment. I find this use very confusing.
A: What He has done “wrong” is that He does not notice us — the ultimate affront! God (the true God) is completely unaware of our existence, and therefore is not involved in our lives to bless our many sacrifices and efforts done in the name of goodness and innocence, and to justify our judgments of those who have treated us unfairly. Jesus teaches us it is insane to think that for one to win another must lose (T.25.VII), and that it is possible for love to be exclusive. But these principles are at the core of the thought system that governs our lives, and, indeed, are the very source of our existence as individuals. God, as perfect Oneness and Love, could not give rise to this insanity, which means it is not real. Our existence as individuals consequently is exposed as not linked to God in any way. Suffering, pain, and death, as well as heroism and triumphs are not His Will.
A massive system of deception and lies is thus uncovered, shattering the foundation of our existence and the universe in which we appear to live, and forcing us to face what we swore we would never again look upon (T.19.IV.D.6:1). Everything that goes on in our personal worlds as well as the world at large is our will, not God’s. The implications of this recognition are staggering, which become the focus of Jesus’ teachings throughout his course. It seems far more tolerable to have God’s blessings on our struggles and suffering, justifying our perception of sin and victimizers “out there,” rather than to have to accept responsibility for all of it ourselves (as the one Son). It is for this that we need to forgive God. He gives no credence or validity to what is so real and meaningful to us: “Not one Thought of His makes any sense at all within this world. And nothing that the world believes as true has any meaning in His Mind at all” (T.25.VII.3:3,4). Therefore, since does God not support our thought system, He does not support us, either, as we know ourselves. What means so much to us is nothing to God. The same is true for Jesus, as well. He sees everything of the body and our individual identity as meaningless — all the events of our lives, which seem to have so much significance, are without meaning. We are presented with this in the very first lesson of the workbook, and many times in many ways throughout the rest of the lessons — Lesson 93, for example: “The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing. It is neither bad nor good. It is unreal, and nothing more than that” (W.pI.93.5:1,2,3,4,5). This realization is bound to stir up some profound emotions in us — fear, anger, confusion, etc. Who likes to be told that they are unreal?
This is not the end of the story, though, because at some point in our work with the Course, we will find ourselves relieved to be unburdened of our guilty secret. We will be glad to have been proven wrong in all we thought to be the truth. But before reaching that stage comes the anger that God did not buy our story. It is not all that pleasant to be caught in a lie, and this is especially devastating when the deception involves our very identity. We suddenly become aware of the massive self-deception we have engaged in, and without the help of Jesus and his course, or some other loving reflection of truth outside our thought system, we would have a most difficult time coping with this situation and all the guilt and fear it arouses. All that supported us now is revealed as but strategic ways of keeping us from the truth about ourselves and reality — defenses against the truth. It is as if the bottom has fallen out. But Jesus helps us realize we need only have the willingness to change our choice of teachers in our minds from the ego to him, and peace will be restored in our awareness. We are merely awakening from a nightmare dream of separation from our Creator and Source.