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 honoring its enormity. 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 recognizes, and would correct them all as God entrusted Him to do. But sin He knows not, nor can He recognize 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 realize 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 recognized 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 each other overcome mistakes by joyously releasing one another from the belief in sin.
In the holy instant, you will see the smile of Heaven shining on both of you. And you will shine upon each other, in glad acknowledgment 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, 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.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for June 14
Now are we one with Him Who is our Source.
What time but now can truth be recognized? The present is the only time there is. And so today, this instant, now, we come to look upon what is forever there; not in our sight, but in the eyes of Christ. He looks past time, and sees eternity as represented there. He hears the sounds the senseless, busy world engenders, yet He hears them faintly. For beyond them all He hears the song of Heaven, and the Voice for God more clear, more meaningful, more near.
The world fades easily away before His sight. Its sounds grow dim. A melody from far beyond the world increasingly is more and more distinct; an ancient call to which He gives an ancient answer. You will recognize them both, for they are but your answer to your Father’s Call to you. Christ answers for you, echoing your Self, using your voice to give His glad consent; accepting your deliverance for you.
How holy is your practicing today, as Christ gives you His sight and hears for you, and answers in your name the Call He hears! How quiet is the time you give to spend with Him, beyond the world. How easily are all your seeming sins forgot, and all your sorrows unremembered. On this day is grief laid by, for sights and sounds that come from nearer than the world are clear to you who will today accept the gifts He gives.
There is a silence into which the world can not intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost. There is a sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched. All this today you will remember. Faithfulness in practicing today will bring rewards so great and so completely different from all things you sought before, that you will know that here your treasure is, and here your rest.
This is the day when vain imaginings part like a curtain, to reveal what lies beyond them. Now is what is really there made visible, while all the shadows which appeared to hide it merely sink away. Now is the balance righted, and the scale of judgment left to Him Who judges true. And in His judgment will a world unfold in perfect innocence before your eyes. Now will you see it with the eyes of Christ. Now is its transformation clear to you.
Brother, this day is sacred to the world. Your vision, given you from far beyond all things within the world, looks back on them in a new light. And what you see becomes the healing and salvation of the world. The valuable and valueless are both perceived and recognized for what they are. And what is worthy of your love receives your love, while nothing to be feared remains.
We will not judge today. We will receive but what is given us from judgment made beyond the world. Our practicing today becomes our gift of thankfulness for our release from blindness and from misery. All that we see will but increase our joy, because its holiness reflects our own. We stand forgiven in the sight of Christ, with all the world forgiven in our own. We bless the world, as we behold it in the light in which our Savior looks on us, and offer it the freedom given us through His forgiving vision, not our own.
Open the curtain in your practicing by merely letting go all things you think you want. Your trifling treasures put away, and leave a clean and open space within your mind where Christ can come, and offer you the treasure of salvation. He has need of your most holy mind to save the world. Is not this purpose worthy to be yours? Is not Christ’s vision worthy to be sought above the world’s unsatisfying goals?
Let not today slip by without the gifts it holds for you receiving your consent and your acceptance. We can change the world, if you acknowledge them. You may not see the value your acceptance gives the world. But this you surely want; you can exchange all suffering for joy this very day. Practice in earnest, and the gift is yours. Would God deceive you? Can His promise fail? Can you withhold so little, when His Hand holds out complete salvation to His Son?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #982: I try to listen to the Holy Spirit all the time, and especially to ask Him to speak through me when I’m talking to others. I am often amazed at the gentle, encouraging words that come out of my mouth. I attribute this to just being willing to let Christ talk for me, not to any special abilities of my own. But last week, while I was talking to a new thought minister, something happened that bothered me. I told him that instead of encouraging his flock to listen to God for themselves, he tries to keep them dependent on him and to make them believe that they have to go through him to reach God. I spoke very authoritatively to him. Then, afterwards, I quickly apologized and ran out. This is bothering me because I wasn’t teaching love. I barely knew this man! I did open up to spirit before speaking with him, so why would something so harsh come out? I guess I must have been projecting in some way, for some reason. Please give me your insight.
A: First, we need to be clear that we cannot necessarily judge whether or not we are teaching love by the words we say. Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles that what we hear when we listen to the Holy Spirit “may indeed be quite startling” (M.21.5: 2). Thus, it is possible that our words could sound harsh or even outlandish, but still be motivated by an underlying intention to be loving and helpful. So, with nothing but a description of external events to go on, we could not say whether you were in fact being unkind to that man.
You are correct that whenever we say, feel, or think anything that is not an extension of love, we are projecting. If that is indeed what you were doing in that instant, we could only guess the reasons why. Without knowing more about you, we could only speculate why you might have been triggered at that specific moment, by that particular individual. But it might be helpful to ponder the following statement from the Course: “projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth” ( T.2.I.1:7 ).
In other words, if you were attacking him, the chances are that he reminded you of something of which you accuse yourself. (This does not necessarily mean that you accuse yourself of exactly what you reprimanded him for, though this could be the case.) Then, before that guilt came to consciousness, your ego jumped in and said, “Ah, I know how to get rid of this guilt. I’ll focus instead on what he is doing wrong.” As the Course says, “Projection makes perception… you attacked your brother, because you saw in him a shadow figure in your private world [your mind] . And thus it is you must attack yourself first, for what you attack is not in others. Its only reality is in your own mind…”( T.13.V.3:5,6,7,8 ).
If guilt led to the incident in the first place, rather than continuing to feel guilty about it, it would be more helpful to instead use it as a valuable source of information. Because “What is not love is always fear, and nothing else” ( T.15.X.4:5 ), you could recognize that, despite your frequently successful attempts to connect with the Holy Spirit’s Love, part of your mind is still fearful. In fact, as long as we retain any belief in the reality of this world and our individual existence within it, a part of our mind will remain afraid. It is only at the very end of our spiritual journey that we will be entirely guilt free and consistently filled with love. Until then, it is virtually inevitable that we will have both right-minded moments in which we extend love, and wrong-minded moments in which we project guilt.
The fact that you recognize that you may have projected guilt, and have a sincere desire not to do so, is very helpful. At this point, you could simply stop right there and ask the Holy Spirit to help you look at the incident you described (and any future situations which trigger your guilt) through His compassionate, non-judgmental eyes — allowing Him to give the same gentle encouragement to you that you have felt Him help you direct toward others.