ACIM Text Reading for August 8
Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God
IX. Justice Returned to Love
The Holy Spirit can use all that you give to Him for your salvation. But He cannot use what you withhold, for He cannot take it from you without your willingness. For if He did, you would believe He wrested it from you against your will. And so you would not learn it is your will to be without it. You need not give it to Him wholly willingly, for if you could you had no need of Him. But this He needs; that you prefer He take it than that you keep it for yourself alone, and recognize that what brings loss to no one you would not know. This much is necessary to add to the idea no one can lose for you to gain. And nothing more.
Here is the only principle salvation needs. Nor is it necessary that your faith in it be strong, unswerving, and without attack from all beliefs opposed to it. You have no fixed allegiance. But remember salvation is not needed by the saved. You are not called upon to do what one divided still against himself would find impossible. Have little faith that wisdom could be found in such a state of mind. But be you thankful that only little faith is asked of you. What but a little faith remains to those who still believe in sin? What could they know of Heaven and the justice of the saved?
There is a kind of justice in salvation of which the world knows nothing. To the world, justice and vengeance are the same, for sinners see justice only as their punishment, perhaps sustained by someone else, but not escaped. The laws of sin demand a victim. Who it may be makes little difference. But death must be the cost and must be paid. This is not justice, but insanity. Yet how could justice be defined without insanity where love means hate, and death is seen as victory and triumph over eternity and timelessness and life?
You who know not of justice still can ask, and learn the answer. Justice looks on all in the same way. It is not just that one should lack for what another has. For that is vengeance in whatever form it takes. Justice demands no sacrifice, for any sacrifice is made that sin may be preserved and kept. It is a payment offered for the cost of sin, but not the total cost. The rest is taken from another, to be laid beside your little payment, to “atone” for all that you would keep, and not give up. So is the victim seen as partly you, with someone else by far the greater part. And in the total cost, the greater his the less is yours. And justice, being blind, is satisfied by being paid, it matters not by whom.
Can this be justice? God knows not of this. But justice does He know, and knows it well. For He is wholly fair to everyone. Vengeance is alien to God’s Mind because He knows of justice. To be just is to be fair, and not be vengeful. Fairness and vengeance are impossible, for each one contradicts the other and denies that it is real. It is impossible for you to share the Holy Spirit’s justice with a mind that can conceive of specialness at all. Yet how could He be just if He condemns a sinner for the crimes he did not do, but thinks he did? And where would justice be if He demanded of the ones obsessed with the idea of punishment that they lay it aside, unaided, and perceive it is not true?
It is extremely hard for those who still believe sin meaningful to understand the Holy Spirit’s justice. They must believe He shares their own confusion, and cannot avoid the vengeance that their own belief in justice must entail. And so they fear the Holy Spirit, and perceive the “wrath” of God in Him. Nor can they trust Him not to strike them dead with lightning bolts torn from the “fires” of Heaven by God’s Own angry Hand. They do believe that Heaven is hell, and are afraid of love. And deep suspicion and the chill of fear comes over them when they are told that they have never sinned. Their world depends on sin’s stability. And they perceive the “threat” of what God knows as justice to be more destructive to themselves and to their world than vengeance, which they understand and love.
So do they think the loss of sin a curse. And flee the Holy Spirit as if He were a messenger from hell, sent from above, in treachery and guile, to work God’s vengeance on them in the guise of a deliverer and friend. What could He be to them except a devil, dressed to deceive within an angel’s cloak. And what escape has He for them except a door to hell that seems to look like Heaven’s gate?
Yet justice cannot punish those who ask for punishment, but have a Judge Who knows that they are wholly innocent in truth. In justice He is bound to set them free, and give them all the honor they deserve and have denied themselves because they are not fair, and cannot understand that they are innocent. Love is not understandable to sinners because they think that justice is split off from love, and stands for something else. And thus is love perceived as weak, and vengeance strong. For love has lost when judgment left its side, and is too weak to save from punishment. But vengeance without love has gained in strength by being separate and apart from love. And what but vengeance now can help and save, while love stands feebly by with helpless hands, bereft of justice and vitality, and powerless to save?
What can Love ask of you who think that all of this is true? Could He, in justice and in love, believe in your confusion you have much to give? You are not asked to trust Him far. No more than what you see He offers you, and what you recognize you could not give yourself. In God’s Own justice does He recognize all you deserve, but understands as well that you cannot accept it for yourself. It is His special function to hold out to you the gifts the innocent deserve. And every one that you accept brings joy to Him as well as you. He knows that Heaven is richer made by each one you accept. And God rejoices as His Son receives what loving justice knows to be his due. For love and justice are not different. Because they are the same does mercy stand at God’s right Hand, and gives the Son of God the power to forgive himself of sin.
To him who merits everything, how can it be that anything be kept from him? For that would be injustice, and unfair indeed to all the holiness that is in him, however much he recognize it not. God knows of no injustice. He would not allow His Son be judged by those who seek his death, and could not see his worth at all. What honest witnesses could they call forth to speak on his behalf? And who would come to plead for him, and not against his life? No justice would be given him by you. Yet God ensured that justice would be done unto the Son He loves, and would protect from all unfairness you might seek to offer, believing vengeance is his proper due.
As specialness cares not who pays the cost of sin, so it be paid, the Holy Spirit heeds not who looks on innocence at last, provided it is seen and recognized. For just one witness is enough, if he sees truly. Simple justice asks no more. Of each one does the Holy Spirit ask if he will be that one, so justice may return to love and there be satisfied. Each special function He allots is but for this; that each one learn that love and justice are not separate. And both are strengthened by their union with each other. Without love is justice prejudiced and weak. And love without justice is impossible. For love is fair, and cannot chasten without cause. What cause can be to warrant an attack upon the innocent? In justice, then, does love correct mistakes, but not in vengeance. For that would be unjust to innocence.
You can be perfect witness to the power of love and justice, if you understand it is impossible the Son of God could merit vengeance. You need not perceive, in every circumstance, that this is true. Nor need you look to your experience within the world, which is but shadows of all that is really happening within yourself. The understanding that you need comes not of you, but from a larger Self, so great and holy that He could not doubt His innocence. Your special function is a call to Him, that He may smile on you whose sinlessness He shares. His understanding will be yours. And so the Holy Spirit’s special function has been fulfilled. God’s Son has found a witness unto his sinlessness and not his sins. How little need you give the Holy Spirit that simple justice may be given you.
Without impartiality there is no justice. How can specialness be just? Judge not because you cannot, not because you are a miserable sinner too. How can the special really understand that justice is the same for everyone? To take from one to give another must be an injustice to them both, since they are equal in the Holy Spirit’s sight. Their Father gave the same inheritance to both. Who would have more or less is not aware that he has everything. He is no judge of what must be another’s due, because he thinks he is deprived. And so must he be envious, and try to take away from whom he judges. He is not impartial, and cannot fairly see another’s rights because his own have been obscured to him.
You have the right to all the universe; to perfect peace, complete deliverance from all effects of sin, and to the life eternal, joyous and complete in every way, as God appointed for His holy Son. This is the only justice Heaven knows, and all the Holy Spirit brings to earth. Your special function shows you nothing else but perfect justice can prevail for you. And you are safe from vengeance in all forms. The world deceives, but it cannot replace God’s justice with a version of its own. For only love is just, and can perceive what justice must accord the Son of God. Let love decide, and never fear that you, in your unfairness, will deprive yourself of what God’s justice has allotted you.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 8
I am not a body. I am free,
For I am still as God created me.
(200) There is no peace except the peace of God.
Let me not wander from the way of peace, for I am lost on
other roads than this. But let me follow Him Who leads me
home, and peace is certain as the Love of God.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #209: I’ve been a student of A Course in Miracles for one year. Recently I had a disturbing experience during my morning practice and meditation with my workbook lesson. Sometimes I do feel Jesus’ presence, both in meditation and in other everyday situations. Now instead I felt the presence of the Dalai Lama. I had been reading a book by him the day before, so coming to think of him should not have been surprising. But it scared me — I didn’t dare to explore this further. After that I decided to take it easy with practicing — not doing lessons, only meditating morning and night. But then a couple of days ago, while watching a movie, I was reminded of Marianne Williamson, and felt her presence. I didn’t want to explore this either. Both incidents I think of as not true in the sense that I do not think that either the Dalai Lama or Marianne Williamson were really there.
i: Is this kind of experience something you have run into? What does it possibly mean? How can one handle it?
ii: If I feel this need, which I do, to dismiss these “presences” as fantasies, why should I not just as easily dismiss the presence of Jesus? I mean, I don’t, not in truth. But I still feel that dismissing one experience reflects on the other, and I’m not sure how to handle it.
A: Your experiences are not the problem, but your interpretation that they are somehow unnatural and undesirable is what is causing you your problem. Your wily ego is only doing what any self- serving ego will want to do — undermine any experiences that may reflect a different reality. And, of course, distract you from practicing the Course and its workbook lessons.
If, as the Course teaches, we are all thoughts or ideas (T.15.VI.4:5), and minds are all joined (e.g., T.18.VI.3:1; T.28.III.3:1; W.pI.19.2:1), then everyone is present to us all the time. What is artificial and unnatural is the belief that we are bodies, separated by time and space. But to question that assumption is to begin to question the basic assumptions of the ego thought system that keep this world in place and ultimately keep us mindless.
And so whether you experience the presence of Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Marianne Williamson, or someone else, if you have accepted the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you will know that, as symbols of love, they are all the same, for we are all one. In the words of one of those workbook lessons you have recently been avoiding, “One brother is all brothers. Every mind contains all minds, for every mind is one. Such is the truth” (W.pI.161.4:1,2,3).
Q #210: There seems to be a conflict between the ego consciousness and God consciousness that ebbs and flows. I’ve been studying A Course in Miracles for three months and am able to observe the “struggle” almost as a spectator would. Comments appreciated.
A: Our minds are split between the part that identifies with the ego thought system of separation (wrong-mindedness) and the part that identifies with the Holy Spirit’s thought system of forgiveness (right-mindedness). We are constantly choosing between the two thought systems, although we generally are not aware of making this choice. That is the point of the training in the Course: first, to help us catch the thoughts that precede our experience, which, in the workbook lessons, Jesus refers to as the process of mind searching, where we would observe what is going on in our minds. Then eventually, we would be able to catch ourselves choosing either the ego or the Holy Spirit as our teacher. This is a process that continues throughout our lives.
You perhaps are referring to the fear that we experience when we ask for help to change our teacher from the ego to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. That could be perceived as a struggle in which we are attracted to the healing love in our right minds, but are still reluctant to let go of everything else. We always are identified with one or the other, though, and over a period of time we would become more and more clear about which one we have chosen. We go back and forth between our right mind and our wrong mind, but there is no neutral state. If we are observing our inner state with the ego, then we would be fearful, judgmental, or self-glorifying. If we are observing our inner state with Jesus, we would be peaceful, non-judgmental, and patient, knowing that we are in the process of undoing something that never happened, and therefore we would not take any of our thoughts all that seriously.