ACIM Text Reading for August 29
Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God
VIII. 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 recognise 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 net 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 honour 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 judgement 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 recognise you could not give yourself. In God’s Own justice does He recognise 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 recognise 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 look’s on innocence at last, provided it is seen and recognised. 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 29
God is my Father, and His Son loves Him.
Father, I must return Your Love for me, for giving and receiving are the same, and You have given all Your Love to me. I must return it, for I want it mine in full awareness, blazing in my mind and keeping it within its kindly light, inviolate, beloved, with fear behind and only peace ahead. How still the way Your loving Son is led along to You!
Brother, we find that stillness now. The way is open. Now we follow it in peace together. You have reached your hand to me, and I will never leave you. We are one, and it is but this oneness that we seek, as we accomplish these few final steps which end a journey that was not begun.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q) Is learning cumulative? That is, do I take what I have learned with me when I die, so that when I “come back” I do not
have to begin all over again?
A) The premise of this question is that time is linear, and therefore one’s learning can be measured within an evolving linear dimension. However, as we learn in A Course in Miracles, also discussed in the previous chapter, time is not linear since everything within the dream of time and space occurred within the original instant. And so learning does not really occur within the seemingly linear-based dream figure we call ourselves. Rather, our learning is simply the acceptance of the correction of forgiveness within our minds. This correction, held for us by the Holy Spirit, undoes — or unlearns — the ego’s thought system of separation. It existed before the world of time and space was made, and it still remains in our minds. Our ability to choose this correction is also in our minds. And so it is what we have referred to as the decision maker — the part of our tripartite minds that chooses — that learns the difference between the ego’s lies and the Holy Spirit’s truth. The physical and psychological self with which we identify, and which we believe does the learning, is simply the reflection in a world of time and space of the decision maker, whose choosing occurs outside the temporal and spatial dimensions.
This of course is not understandable to a brain that has been programmed to think only within the dimension of time and space, life and death. But we are assured by Jesus that our understanding is not necessary:
You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit’s are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing (T-18.IV.7:3-6).
And so, even if we cannot truly understand how we learn the lessons of the Holy Spirit, we can at least understand how we do not learn them.