ACIM Text Reading & Workbook Lesson for August 10
Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God
VIII. The Rock of Salvation
Yet if the Holy Spirit can commute each sentence that you laid upon yourself into a blessing, then it cannot be a sin. Sin is the only thing in all the world that cannot change. It is immutable. And on its changelessness the world depends. The magic of the world can seem to hide the pain of sin from sinners, and deceive with glitter and with guile. Yet each one knows the cost of sin is death. And so it is. For sin is a request for death, a wish to make this world’s foundation sure as love, dependable as Heaven, and as strong as God Himself. The world is safe from love to everyone who thinks sin possible. Nor will it change. Yet is it possible what God created not should share the attributes of His creation, when it opposes it in every way?
It cannot be the “sinner’s” wish for death is just as strong as is God’s Will for life. Nor can the basis of a world He did not make be firm and sure as Heaven. How could it be that hell and Heaven are the same? And is it possible that what He did not will cannot be changed? What is immutable besides His Will? And what can share its attributes except itself? What wish can rise against His Will, and be immutable? If you could realize nothing is changeless but the Will of God, this course would not be difficult for you. For it is this that you do not believe. Yet there is nothing else you could believe, if you but looked at what it really is.
Let us go back to what we said before, and think of it more carefully. It must be so that either God is mad, or is this world a place of madness. Not one Thought of His makes any sense at all within this world. And nothing that the world believes as true has any meaning in His Mind at all. What makes no sense and has no meaning is insanity. And what is madness cannot be the truth. If one belief so deeply valued here were true, then every Thought God ever had is an illusion. And if but one Thought of His is true, then all beliefs the world gives any meaning to are false, and make no sense at all. This is the choice you make. Do not attempt to see it differently, nor twist it into something it is not. For only this decision can you make. The rest is up to God, and not to you.
To justify one value that the world upholds is to deny your Father’s sanity and yours. For God and His beloved Son do not think differently. And it is the agreement of their thought that makes the Son a co-creator with the Mind Whose Thought created him. So if he chooses to believe one thought opposed to truth, he has decided he is not his Father’s Son because the Son is mad, and sanity must lie apart from Both the Father and the Son. This you believe. Think not that this belief depends upon the form it takes. Who thinks the world is sane in any way, is justified in anything it thinks, or is maintained by any form of reason, believes this to be true. Sin is not real because the Father and the Son are not insane. This world is meaningless because it rests on sin. Who could create the changeless if it does not rest on truth?
The Holy Spirit has the power to change the whole foundation of the world you see to something else; a basis not insane, on which a sane perception can be based, another world perceived. And one in which nothing is contradicted that would lead the Son of God to sanity and joy. Nothing attests to death and cruelty; to separation and to differences. For here is everything perceived as one, and no one loses that each one may gain.
Test everything that you believe against this one requirement, and understand that everything that meets this one demand is worthy of your faith. But nothing else. What is not love is sin, and either one perceives the other as insane and meaningless. Love is the basis for a world perceived as wholly mad to sinners, who believe theirs is the way to sanity. But sin is equally insane within the sight of love, whose gentle eyes would look beyond the madness and rest peacefully on truth. Each sees a world immutable, as each defines the changeless and eternal truth of what you are. And each reflects a view of what the Father and the Son must be, to make that viewpoint meaningful and sane.
Your special function is the special form in which the fact that God is not insane appears most sensible and meaningful to you. The content is the same. The form is suited to your special needs, and to the special time and place in which you think you find yourself, and where you can be free of place and time, and all that you believe must limit you. The Son of God cannot be bound by time nor place nor anything God did not will. Yet if His Will is seen as madness, then the form of sanity which makes it most acceptable to those who are insane requires special choice. Nor can this choice be made by the insane, whose problem is their choices are not free, and made with reason in the light of sense.
It would be madness to entrust salvation to the insane. Because He is not mad has God appointed One as sane as He to raise a saner world to meet the sight of everyone who chose insanity as his salvation. To this One is given the choice of form most suitable to him; one which will not attack the world he sees, but enter into it in quietness and show him he is mad. This One but points to an alternative, another way of looking at what he has seen before, and recognizes as the world in which he lives, and thought he understood before.
Now must he question this, because the form of the alternative is one which he cannot deny, nor overlook, nor fail completely to perceive at all. To each his special function is designed to be perceived as possible, and more and more desired, as it proves to him that it is an alternative he really wants. From this position does his sinfulness, and all the sin he sees within the world, offer him less and less. Until he comes to understand it cost him his sanity, and stands between him and whatever hope he has of being sane. Nor is he left without escape from madness, for he has a special part in everyone’s escape. He can no more be left outside, without a special function in the hope of peace, than could the Father overlook His Son, and pass him by in careless thoughtlessness.
What is dependable except God’s Love? And where does sanity abide except in Him? The One Who speaks for Him can show you this, in the alternative He chose especially for you. It is God’s Will that you remember this, and so emerge from deepest mourning into perfect joy. Accept the function that has been assigned to you in God’s Own plan to show His Son that hell and Heaven are different, not the same. And that in Heaven They are all the same, without the differences which would have made a hell of Heaven and a heaven of hell, had such insanity been possible.
The whole belief that someone loses but reflects the underlying tenet God must be insane. For in this world it seems that one must gain because another lost. If this were true, then God is mad indeed! But what is this belief except a form of the more basic tenet, “Sin is real, and rules the world?” For every little gain must someone lose, and pay exact amount in blood and suffering. For otherwise would evil triumph, and destruction be the total cost of any gain at all. You who believe that God is mad, look carefully at this, and understand that it must be either God or this must be insane, but hardly both.
Salvation is rebirth of the idea no one can lose for anyone to gain. And everyone must gain, if anyone would be a gainer. Here is sanity restored. And on this single rock of truth can faith in God’s eternal saneness rest in perfect confidence and perfect peace. Reason is satisfied, for all insane beliefs can be corrected here. And sin must be impossible, if this is true. This is the rock on which salvation rests, the vantage point from which the Holy Spirit gives meaning and direction to the plan in which your special function has a part. For here your special function is made whole, because it shares the function of the whole.
Remember all temptation is but this; a mad belief that God’s insanity would make you sane and give you what you want; that either God or you must lose to madness because your aims can not be reconciled. Death demands life, but life is not maintained at any cost. No one can suffer for the Will of God to be fulfilled. Salvation is His Will because you share it. Not for you alone, but for the Self that is the Son of God. He cannot lose, for if he could the loss would be his Father’s, and in Him no loss is possible. And this is sane because it is the truth.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 10
God is with me. I live and move in Him.
God is with me. He is my Source of life, the life within, the air I breathe, the food by which I am sustained, the water which renews and cleanses me. He is my home, wherein I live and move; the Spirit which directs my actions, offers me Its Thoughts, and guarantees my safety from all pain. He covers me with kindness and with care, and holds in love the Son He shines upon, who also shines on Him. How still is he who knows the truth of what He speaks today!
Father, we have no words except Your Name upon our lips and in our minds, as we come quietly into Your Presence now, and ask to rest with You in peace a while.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #525: Recently a friend of mine did something that really hurt my feelings. I’ve been trying to forgive him but I can’t seem to get the incident out of my mind. So I went to the workbook section that begins with “What is Forgiveness” for a remedy. I didn’t get beyond the first sentence: “Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred.” Would you please try to clarify what is meant by “never occurred” or “what didn’t happen”?
A: Whatever occurred in form between you and your friend did take place. The workbook is not advocating denial of our experience in the dream. What your friend did not do is take your peace away, nor cause the feelings you may have. That can happen only as the result of a choice in the mind to choose against peace, by choosing to believe the separation is real. This means choosing the ego as teacher, accepting the ego’s interpretation of what occurs in the dream of separation. Basic to the ego thought system is the belief that external circumstances are the cause of internal conflict. A Course in Miracles calls this magic and upside-down thinking. The miracle, on the other hand, is recognizing that nothing external has any effect on our peace.
One of the most important goals of the Course, if not the most important goal, is to teach us that we have a mind with the power to choose. It is this power to choose that is the foundation of the cause and effect principle. The line you quote from the workbook is one of the many ways the Course teaches this principle. You thought your brother caused you to be upset, by hurting you. That is not what happened. What did happen is that prior to any external event with your friend, you made a choice in your mind to identify with the ego by believing you are a separate individual in a body, rather than an innocent Son of God who is spirit, as God created you. That is where you really were. Guilt at having made this choice is projected outside of the mind in the form of reactions to all the upsetting situations encountered in relationships and the world.
When we attack our true Identity as the Son of God by identifying with the ego, we cannot but be hurt by everyone and everything in the dream. We are literally “under attack,” but it is our own attack, as Jesus tells us in the text: “All attack is Self attack. It cannot be anything else. Arising from your own decision not to be what you are, it is an attack on your identification. Attack is thus the way in which your identification is lost, because when you attack, you must have forgotten what you are” (T.10.II.5:1,2,3,4). If a choice in the mind is the cause of how we feel, then we cannot be the victim of people or circumstances outside of the mind (W.pI.31); we cannot be hurt by anything external. Therefore: “There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God”(T.14.III.7:5, 6). Forgiveness begins with the willingness to recognize this process and see the mind as the true cause of your hurt, not your brother. Accepting that you cannot be hurt is the kindness of forgiveness offered to yourself, as well as to your friend.
A: This is a way of saying that we will awaken from the dream when we no longer are afraid of letting go of the false self we made, and are ready to accept back our true Identity as the one Son of God. Our fear is so great that we progress towards awakening through instants of forgiveness; but these are quickly followed by fear of what total forgiveness means for us. So the gentleness of forgiveness is expressed through patiently accepting where we are, and not being hard on ourselves when we find ourselves right back in the thick of the ego’s insanity.
A: Forgiveness does not demand that anyone, including ourselves, be in any way different at any given time. When someone is perceived to be in a fearful state, forgiveness recognizes the power of the mind to make a different choice and “waits” for the other’s readiness or willingness to choose differently. Forgiveness is thus patient, in the way the manual describes one of the characteristics of the teacher of God: “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety. Patience is natural to the teacher of God. All he sees is certain outcome, at a time perhaps unknown to him as yet, but not in doubt. The time will be as right as is the answer” (M.4.VIII.1:1,2,3,4).
This applies to oneself as well. Any sense of impatience in achieving the goal of A Course in Miracles, or experiencing the peace of forgiveness, indicates that the ego has been put in charge of the Atonement plan, which means it is no longer truly the Atonement plan. It makes the error real ascribing power to the ego, the exact opposite to the meaning of Atonement. The forgiveness process that Jesus is teaching in the Course is gentle. It invites us to wait, rather than try to fight off resistance, or force ourselves to think or behave in a way for which we are not truly ready. We wait by doing what Jesus tells us we should do: “Step gently aside, and let healing be done for you…Focus your mind only on this:…I need do nothing except not to interfere” (T.16.I.3:7,9,12).
Our part in the process is very simple; we are asked to look at the ego in operation, recognizing its vicious thoughts and judgments as the expression of fear, wait, which means not try to fix it, change it, or impose our solutions, and not judge it as sinful. We then let the Holy Spirit do His part, which means to share His perception. Since we are very skilled in making our insane lives work according to the ego’s upside-down strategies, it is very difficult for us “not to interfere.” Most of us are great “doers,” and need to learn from Jesus to wait patiently.