ACIM Text Reading for August 17
Chapter 27 ~ The Healing of the Dream
II. The Fear of Healing
Is healing frightening? To many, yes. For accusation is a bar to love, and damaged bodies are accusers. They stand firmly in the way of trust and peace, proclaiming that the frail can have no trust and that the damaged have no grounds for peace. Who has been injured by his brother, and could love and trust him still? He has attacked and will attack again. Protect him not, because your damaged body shows that you must be protected from him. To forgive may be an act of charity, but not his due. He may be pitied for his guilt, but not exonerated. And if you forgive him his transgressions, you but add to all the guilt that he has really earned.
The unhealed cannot pardon. For they are the witnesses that pardon is unfair. They would retain the consequences of the guilt they overlook. Yet no one can forgive a sin that he believes is real. And what has consequences must be real, because what it has done is there to see. Forgiveness is not pity, which but seeks to pardon what it thinks to be the truth. Good cannot be returned for evil, for forgiveness does not first establish sin and then forgive it. Who can say and mean, ‘My brother, you have injured me, and yet, because I am the better of the two, I pardon you my hurt’. His pardon and your hurt cannot exist together. One denies the other and must make it false.
To witness sin and yet forgive it is a paradox that reason cannot see. For it maintains what has been done to you deserves no pardon. And by giving it, you grant your brother mercy but retain the proof he is not really innocent. The sick remain accusers. They cannot forgive their brothers and themselves as well. For no one in whom true forgiveness rests can suffer. He holds not the proof of sin before his brother’s eyes. And thus he must have overlooked it and removed it from his own. Forgiveness cannot be for one and not the other. Who forgives is healed. And in his healing lies the proof that he has truly pardoned, and retains no trace of condemnation that he still would hold against himself or any living thing.
Forgiveness is not real unless it brings a healing to your brother and yourself. You must attest his sins have no effect on you to demonstrate they are not real. How else could he be guiltless? And how could his innocence be justified unless his sins have no effect to warrant guilt? Sins are beyond forgiveness just because they would entail effects that cannot be undone and overlooked entirely. In their undoing lies the proof that they are merely errors. Let yourself be healed that you may be forgiving, offering salvation to your brother and yourself.
A broken body shows the mind has not been healed. A miracle of healing proves that separation is without effect. What you would prove to him you will believe. The power of witness comes from your belief. And everything you say or do or think but testifies to what you teach to him. Your body can be means to teach that it has never suffered pain because of him. And in its healing can it offer him mute testimony of his innocence. It is this testimony that can speak with power greater than a thousand tongues. For here is his forgiveness proved to him.
A miracle can offer nothing less to him than it has given unto you. So does your healing show your mind is healed, and has forgiven what he did not do. And so is he convinced his innocence was never lost, and healed along with you. Thus does the miracle undo all things the world attests can never be undone. And hopelessness and death must disappear before the ancient clarion call of life. This call has power far beyond the weak and miserable cry of death and guilt. The ancient calling of the Father to His Son, and of the Son unto his own, will yet be the last trumpet that the world will ever hear. Brother, there is no death. And this you learn when you but wish to show your brother that you had no hurt of him. He thinks your blood is on his hands, and so he stands condemned. Yet it is given you to show him, by your healing, that his guilt is but the fabric of a senseless dream.
How just are miracles! For they bestow an equal gift of full deliverance from guilt upon your brother and yourself. Your healing saves him pain as well as you, and you are healed because you wished him well. This is the law the miracle obeys; that healing sees no specialness at all. It does not come from pity but from love. And love would prove all suffering is but a vain imagining, a foolish wish with no effects. Your health is a result of your desire to see your brother with no blood upon his hands, nor guilt upon his heart made heavy with the proof of sin. And what you wish is given you to see.
The ‘cost’ of your serenity is his. This is the ‘price’ the Holy Spirit and the world interpret differently. The world perceives it as a statement of the ‘fact’ that your salvation sacrifices his. The Holy Spirit knows your healing is the witness unto his, and cannot be apart from his at all. As long as he consents to suffer, you will be unhealed. Yet you can show him that his suffering is purposeless and wholly without cause. Show him your healing, and he will consent no more to suffer. For his innocence has been established in your sight and his. And laughter will replace your sighs, because God’s Son remembered that he is God’s Son.
Who, then, fears healing? Only those to whom their brother’s sacrifice and pain are seen to represent their own serenity. Their helplessness and weakness represent the grounds on which they justify his pain. The constant sting of guilt he suffers serves to prove that he is slave, but they are free. The constant pain they suffer demonstrates that they are free because they hold him bound. And sickness is desired to prevent a shift of balance in the sacrifice. How could the Holy Spirit be deterred an instant, even less, to reason with an argument for sickness such as this? And need your healing be delayed because you pause to listen to insanity?
Correction is not your function. It belongs to One Who knows of fairness, not of guilt. If you assume correction’s role, you lose the function of forgiveness. No one can forgive until he learns correction is but to forgive, and never to accuse. Alone, you cannot see they are the same, and therefore is correction is not of you. Identity and function are the same, and by your function do you know yourself. And thus, if you confuse your function with the function of Another, you must be confused about yourself and who you are. What is the separation but a wish to take God’s function from Him and deny that it is His? Yet if it is not His it is not yours, for you must lose what you would take away.
In a split mind, identity must seem to be divided. Nor can anyone perceive a function unified which has conflicting purposes and different ends. Correction, to a mind so split, must be a way to punish sins you think are yours in someone else. And thus does he become your victim, not your brother, different from you in that he is more guilty, thus in need of your correction, as the one more innocent than he. This splits his function off from yours, and give you both a different role. And so you cannot be perceived as one, and with a single function that would mean a shared identity with but one end.
Correction you would do must separate, because that is the function given it by you. When you perceive correction is the same as pardon, then you also know the Holy Spirit’s Mind and yours are One. And so your own identity is found. Yet must He work with what is given Him, and allow Him only half your mind. And thus He represents the other half, and seems to have a different purpose from the one you cherish, and you think is yours. Thus does your function seem divided, with a half in opposition to a half. And these two halves appear to represent a split within a self perceived as two.
Consider how this self perception must extend, and do not overlook the fact that every thought extends because that is its purpose, being what it really is. From an idea of self as two, there comes a necessary view of function split between the two. And what you would correct is only half the error, which you think is all of it. Your brother’s sins become the central target for correction, lest your errors and his own be seen as one. Yours are mistakes, but his are sins and not the same as yours. His merit punishment, while yours, in fairness, should be overlooked.
In this interpretation of correction, your own mistakes you will not even see. The focus of correction has been placed outside yourself, on one who cannot be a part of you while this perception lasts. What is condemned can never be returned to its accuser, who had hated it, and hates it still as symbol of his fear. This is your brother, focus of your hate, unworthy to be part of you and thus outside yourself; the other half, which is denied. And only what is left without his presence is perceived as all of you. To this remaining half the Holy Spirit must represent the other half until you recognise it is the other half. And this He does by giving both of you a function that is one, not different.
Correction is the function given both, but neither one alone. And when it is fulfilled as shared, it must correct mistakes in you and him. It cannot leave mistakes in one unhealed and set the other free. That is divided purpose, which can not be shared, and so it cannot be the goal in which the Holy Spirit sees His Own. And you can rest assured that He will not fulfil a function that He does not see and recognise as His. For only thus can He keep yours preserved intact, despite your separate views of what your function is. If He upheld divided function, you were lost indeed. His inability to see His goal divided and distinct for you and him, preserves yourself from the awareness of a function not your own. And thus is healing given you and him.
Correction must be left to One Who knows correction and forgiveness are the same. With half a mind this is not understood. Leave, then, correction to the Mind that is united, functioning as one because it is not split in purpose, and conceives a single function as its only one. Here is the function given it conceived to be its own, and not apart from that its Giver keeps because it has been shared. In His acceptance of this function lies the means whereby your mind is unified. His single purpose unifies the halves of you that you perceive as separate. And each forgives the other, that he may accept his other half as part of him.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 17
Love, which created me, is what I am.
I seek my own Identity, and find It in these words: “Love, which created me, is what I am.” Now need I seek no more. Love has prevailed. So still It waited for my coming home, that I will turn away no longer from the holy face of Christ. And what I look upon attests the truth of the Identity I sought to lose, but which my Father has kept safe for me.
Father, my thanks to You for what I am; for keeping my Identity untouched and sinless, in the midst of all the thoughts of sin my foolish mind made up. And thanks to You for saving me from them. Amen.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #401-a: A Course in Miracles urges us to give our minds back to God. I suppose that means having Him in our minds all the time. Is that correct? Is there anything we can do to get it without further delay?
Q #401-b: Jesus commended His Spirit to God, while he was nailed to the cross, and he tells us to do it as well. Can you explain this and how to do it?
Q #401-c: The Course says that if we apply all our abilities to a single unified purpose for a long time, they will become unified. How can we do it?
A: i. To give our minds back to God means that we would first realize that we somehow preferred to be to separate from Him and that we are actively maintaining that separation in our everyday lives. So Jesus helps us identify (especially in the workbook lessons) how we are doing that, so that we can then decide whether it is still worth it to continue on the path of separation, which is the path of specialness and separate interests. If we decide it is not worth it anymore, then we can simply decide against our deciding to be separate. This is done by being willing to practice seeing everyone as sharing the same wrong-minded thought system and the same right-minded thought system, and that the differences we perceive are not ultimately of any importance. Giving our minds back to God is giving our minds back to oneness, our natural state. What “delays” us is our tremendous resistance to this shift, because it means deciding against the special, individual self we have come to know as our only identity. Therefore the only motivation for making that shift is that we have recognized that this self is false and does not lead to happiness, and something else now appeals to us more. We need not let go of this self, just give it a different purpose now. Instead of using it to maintain separation and differences, we can now use it to undo the separation. That is how we begin the process of giving our minds back to God.
ii. Commending our spirit to God is really the same as giving our minds back to God — it is our willingness to undo all sense of separation from each other, acknowledging first that it is there because we wanted it to be there. “Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his spirit into the Hands of his Father. By doing this the mind awakens from its sleep and remembers its Creator. All sense of separation disappears” (T.3.II.5:1,2,3). See also T.5.VII.3.
iii. By consistently practicing seeing our interests as the same as everyone else’s, we gradually eliminate conflict from our minds, and then they become more unified. The differences among us recede in importance, and our peace is found more and more in the acceptance of our oneness. If we use our lives and our everyday interactions as a means of undoing the separation, then we will no longer suffer the strain of having to face every day as if we were on a battleground filled with rivals and predators — a “kill or be killed” environment. When we rise above the battleground with Jesus, our perception will be unified: we will perceive either calls for love or expressions of love in all happenings. And this will be our permanent state of mind because it will reflect the true oneness of Heaven’s Love. We will want nothing else, having fully accepted that there is nothing else.