ACIM Text Reading for July 29
Chapter 24 ~ The Goal of Specialness
VII. Salvation from Fear
Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that not one trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. He is your savior from the dreams of fear. He is the healing of your sense of sacrifice and fear that what you have will scatter with the wind and turn to dust. In him is your assurance God is here, and with you now. While he is what he is, you can be sure that God is knowable and will be known to you. For He could never leave His Own creation. And the sign that this is so lies in your brother, offered you that all your doubts about yourself may disappear before his holiness. See in him God’s creation. For in him his Father waits for your acknowledgment that He created you as part of Him.
Without you there would be a lack in God, a Heaven incomplete, a Son without a Father. There could be no universe and no reality. For what God wills is whole, and part of Him because His Will is One. Nothing alive that is not part of Him, and nothing is but is alive in Him. Your brother’s holiness shows you that God is One with him and you; that what he has is yours because you are not separate from him nor from his Father.
Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. Your brother is as He created him. And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.
Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance, in all temptation to perceive what is not there, and all belief God’s Son can suffer pain because he sees himself as he is not.
Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. See in his freedom yours, for such it is. Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgment made for all it looks upon. And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being.
It is His sinlessness that eyes that see can look upon. It is His loveliness they see in everything. And it is He they look for everywhere, and find no sight nor place nor time where He is not. Within your brother’s holiness, the perfect frame for your salvation and the world’s, is set the shining memory of Him in Whom your brother lives, and you along with him. Let not your eyes be blinded by the veil of specialness that hides the face of Christ from him, and you as well. And let the fear of God no longer hold the vision you were meant to see from you. Your brother’s body shows not Christ to you. He is set forth within his holiness.
Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? Where is your peace but in his holiness? And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself, set forth at last in terms you recognized and understood?
Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. What never was is not a part of you. Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgment you have laid on both of you. The Christ in you beholds his holiness. Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not.
See him as what he is, that your deliverance may not be long. A senseless wandering, without a purpose and without accomplishment of any kind, is all the other choice can offer you. Futility of function not fulfilled will haunt you while your brother lies asleep, till what has been assigned to you is done and he is risen from the past. He who condemned himself, and you as well, is given you to save from condemnation, along with you. And both shall see God’s glory in His Son, whom you mistook as flesh, and bound to laws that have no power over him at all.
Would you not gladly realize these laws are not for you? Then see him not as prisoner to them. It cannot be what governs part of God holds not for all the rest. You place yourself under the laws you see as ruling him. Think, then, how great the Love of God for you must be, that He has given you a part of Him to save from pain and give you happiness. And never doubt but that your specialness will disappear before the Will of God, Who loves each part of Him with equal love and care. The Christ in you can see your brother truly. Would you decide against the holiness He sees?
Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth.
Now you are merely asked that you pursue another goal with far less vigilance; with little effort and with little time, and with the power of God maintaining it, and promising success. Yet of the two, it is this one you find more difficult. The “sacrifice” of self you understand, nor do you deem this cost too heavy. But a tiny willingness, a nod to God, a greeting to the Christ in you, you find a burden wearisome and tedious, too heavy to be borne. Yet to the dedication to the truth as God established it no sacrifice is asked, no strain called forth, and all the power of Heaven and the might of truth itself is given to provide the means, and guarantee the goal’s accomplishment.
You who believe it easier to see your brother’s body than his holiness, be sure you understand what made this judgment. Here is the voice of specialness heard clearly, judging against the Christ and setting forth for you the purpose that you can attain, and what you cannot do. Forget not that this judgment must apply to what you do with it as your ally. For what you do through Christ it does not know. To Him this judgment makes no sense at all, for only what His Father wills is possible, and there is no alternative for Him to see. Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for July 29
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(190) I choose the joy of God instead of pain.
Pain is my own idea. It is not a Thought of God, but one I
thought apart from Him and from His Will. His Will is joy,
and only joy for His beloved Son. And that I choose, instead
of what I made.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #782(i): Lesson 190 “I choose the joy of God instead of pain” states: “For pain proclaims God cruel. How could it be real in any form?” (W.pI.190.1:5,6) (1) If pain is caused by other human beings, could that be real? Jesus, in his Passion, tortured by other human beings, was in great pain before he died. Was his pain real or was that an illusion?
A: Sometimes in A Course in Miracles Jesus is speaking only about absolute truth, where he is contrasting truth and illusion. On that level (Level One), only God and the realm of Heaven is real; all else is illusory. That is the level Jesus is speaking on in the statements you refer to. Another example of Level One occurs in paragraph 3: “If God is real, there is no pain. If pain is real, there is no God” (W.pI.190.3:3,4) . So Jesus is saying that in no sense could pain be real. If it were real, then God could not be God.
Jesus also talks to us on another level (Level Two), because we think there is reality outside Heaven. We think we are real and that we exist in a real physical universe. Even though Jesus knows that existence outside Heaven is not real, he talks to us as though it were real, because that is all that we can understand. The lesson he wants to help us learn is that we could never experience pain unless we made a decision in our minds to feel victimized, and that would be only because we would be trying to project our guilt out of our minds onto something external. Thus, nothing in the world or the body is the way it appears to be. Everything is the effect of a cause, which is always a decision made in the mind.
With regard to the Passion, Jesus explains in the text that the biblical accounts of his crucifixion are not accurate: “Atonement without Sacrifice” in Chapter 3 (T.3.I); “The Message of the Crucifixion” in Chapter 6 (T.6.I) . He did not perceive himself as a sacrificial lamb or as persecuted. What is so radical about the Course is that it teaches us that everything happens in our minds. There was no guilt in his mind; therefore he could not experience pain, despite what appeared to be happening to his body. Likewise, he teaches us that the resurrection had nothing to do with his body. Resurrection refers to our awakening from the dream that we are separate from God and that we are guilty sinners deserving of punishment. In that sense, the resurrection took place before the crucifixion.
You may wish to read our book A Course in Miracles and Christianity: A Dialogue , co-authored by Kenneth Wapnick and a Catholic priest philosopher/theologian. This dialogue between two friends shows the important differences between traditional biblical Christianity and what the Course teaches. From beginning to end, the two systems are shown to be mutually exclusive thought systems. It is not as if you cannot practice both, but it would help to be aware of how the two systems differ.