ACIM Text Reading for August 6
Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God
IV. Perception and Choice
To the extent to which you value guilt, to that extent will you perceive a world in which attack is justified. To the extent to which you recognize that guilt is meaningless, to that extent you will perceive attack cannot be justified. This is in accord with perception’s fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this. The rest but stems from this, to hold it up and offer it support. This is perception’s form, adapted to this world, of God’s more basic law; that love creates itself, and nothing but itself.
God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him, but He could be sure His sanity went there with him, so he could not be lost forever in the madness of his wish.
Perception rests on choosing; knowledge does not. Knowledge has but one law because it has but one Creator. But this world has two who made it, and they do not see it as the same. To each it has a different purpose, and to each it is a perfect means to serve the goal for which it is perceived. For specialness, it is the perfect frame to set it off; the perfect battleground to wage its wars, the perfect shelter for illusions which it would make real. Not one but it upholds in its perception; not one but can be fully justified.
There is another Maker of the world, the simultaneous Corrector of the mad belief that anything could be established and maintained without some link that kept it still within the laws of God; not as the law itself upholds the universe as God created it, but in some form adapted to the need the Son of God believes he has. Corrected error is the error’s end. And thus has God protected still His Son, even in error.
There is another purpose in the world that error made, because it has another Maker Who can reconcile its goal with His Creator’s purpose. In His perception of the world, nothing is seen but justifies forgiveness and the sight of perfect sinlessness. Nothing arises but is met with instant and complete forgiveness. Nothing remains an instant, to obscure the sinlessness that shines unchanged, beyond the pitiful attempts of specialness to put it out of mind, where it must be, and light the body up instead of it. The lamps of Heaven are not for mind to choose to see them where it will. If it elects to see them elsewhere from their home, as if they lit a place where they could never be, then must the Maker of the world correct your error, lest you remain in darkness where the lamps are not.
Everyone here has entered darkness, yet no one has entered it alone. Nor need he stay more than an instant. For he has come with Heaven’s Help within him, ready to lead him out of darkness into light at any time. The time he chooses can be any time, for help is there, awaiting but his choice. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another altar where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness. And he will reinterpret all temptation as just another chance to bring him joy.
How can a misperception be a sin? Let all your brother’s errors be to you nothing except a chance for you to see the workings of the Helper given you to see the world He made instead of yours. What, then, is justified? What do you want? For these two questions are the same. And when you see them as the same, your choice is made. For it is seeing them as one that brings release from the belief there are two ways to see. This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light.
The Maker of the world of gentleness has perfect power to offset the world of violence and hate that seems to stand between you and His gentleness. It is not there in His forgiving eyes. And therefore it need not be there in yours. Sin is the fixed belief perception cannot change. What has been damned is damned and damned forever, being forever unforgivable. If, then, it is forgiven, sin’s perception must have been wrong. And thus is change made possible. The Holy Spirit, too, sees what He sees as far beyond the chance of change. But on His vision sin cannot encroach, for sin has been corrected by His sight. And thus it must have been an error, not a sin. For what it claimed could never be, has been. Sin is attacked by punishment, and so preserved. But to forgive it is to change its state from error into truth.
The Son of God could never sin, but he can wish for what would hurt him. And he has the power to think he can be hurt. What could this be except a misperception of himself? Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? Forgetting not that what he is to you will make this choice your future? For you make it now, the instant when all time becomes a means to reach a goal. Make, then, your choice. But recognize that in this choice the purpose of the world you see is chosen, and will be justified.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 6
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(198) Only my condemnation injures me.
My condemnation keeps my vision dark, and through my
sightless eyes I cannot see the vision of my glory.
Yet today I can behold this glory and be glad.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1167: I find it fairly easy to not defend myself from others, see they are looking for love, not take offense, not take things personally; when someone is, from the world’s standpoint, “attacking” me. Several have noticed and commented on what a “forgiving” person I am. However, when someone “attacks” my loved ones, my full defense mechanisms come on for their sake. Try as I might, I can’t look at them as looking for love when they are “hurting” my family or friends. Can you suggest any readings from A Course in Miracles that could help me in this aspect? I need to see my loved ones as safe as I see myself! Why can’t I?
A: Most students run into what you are experiencing. You seem to be heading in the right direction; you just need to continue the process of generalizing what you have learned. The key principles to keep in focus as you practice are that differences are not real, and that there is no hierarchy of illusions or attack. When you truly see another’s attack as a call for love, you are no longer you ; you have become the extension of love, not one person forgiving another person. And since love is all-inclusive, when you are identified with love, everyone else, without exception, would also be enclosed in that circle of invulnerability and innocence. If, therefore, you perceive your loved ones as vulnerable and victimized, it is because you have left your right mind and once again identified with the thought system of vulnerability and victimization — a thought system that has you project your guilt and see it in the form of guilty victimizers harming innocent victims. Then, in league with the ego, you will believe in a hierarchy of attack, and forgiveness will be harder in some situations than in others ( see T.12.VII.1) .
To the ego, relationships are between persons, while Jesus teaches that relationships are only in the mind, because there is no one outside the mind. That is tremendously difficult to grasp, but it is essential to keep in focus in order to avoid making differences important and then using them as means to maintain the reality of separation, often under the guise of being loving and protective. When you choose against the ego, you are choosing against separation in all its forms. As you learn to generalize, you will gradually perceive everyone the same way: as minds always choosing between illusion and truth (T.12.VI.6:4,5,6) — both victims and victimizers are calling out for love. You would then gradually focus less and less on bodies and specific identities (family, friend, stranger, etc.). This is not easy to do because of our obsession with form at the expense of content ( see T.14.X.7,8,9; T.22.III.6).
So try to get past the form to the content when thinking about your loved ones. They, too, are either calling out for love or expressing it. This in no way means that you must sit back and allow them to be attacked. We are talking only about your thinking, not your behavior. Seeing attack as a call for love does not mean that you should never try to stop someone from hurting you or your loved ones. In your right mind you may be guided to do or say something, or to do or say nothing, but it would not be you making the decision.
In addition to the readings noted above, the section in the text called “True Empathy” (T.16.I) is always a good one to read when faced with the kind of issue you have raised.