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68 Each day, each hour and minute, even every second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection, between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the decision for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, happy or unhappy.

"The Decision for Guiltlessness"
Workbook for Students
Lesson 154
I am among the ministers of God.
1 Let us today be neither arrogant nor falsely humble. We have gone beyond such foolishness. We cannot judge ourselves, nor need we do so. These are but attempts to hold decision off, and to delay commitment to our function. It is not our part to judge our worth, nor can we know what role is best for us; what we can do within a larger plan we cannot see in its entirety. Our part is cast in Heaven, not in hell. And what we think is weakness can be strength; what we believe to be our strength is often arrogance.

2 Whatever your appointed role may be, it was selected by the Voice for God, Whose function is to speak for you as well. Seeing your strengths exactly as they are and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom, and when, He chooses and accepts your part for you. He does not work without your own consent, but He is not deceived in what you are and listens only to His Voice in you.

3 It is through His ability to hear One Voice Which is His own that you become aware at last there is One Voice in you. And that One Voice appoints your function and relays it to you, giving you the strength to understand it, do what it entails, and to succeed in everything you do that is related to it. God has joined His Son in this, and thus His Son becomes His messenger of unity with Him.

4 It is this joining through the Voice of God of Father and of Son that sets apart salvation from the world. It is this Voice which speaks of laws the world does not obey, which promises salvation from all sin, with guilt abolished in the mind that God created sinless. Now this mind becomes aware again of Who created it, and of His lasting union with itself. So is its Self the one reality in which its will and that of God are joined.

5 A messenger does not elect to make the message he delivers. Nor does he question the right of him who does nor ask why he has chosen those who will receive the message that he brings. It is enough that he accept it, bring it to the ones for whom it is appointed, and fulfill his role in its delivery. If he determines what the messages should be or what their purpose is or where they should be carried, he is failing to perform his proper part as bringer of the Word.

6 There is one major difference in the role of Heaven's messengers which sets them off from those the world appoints. The messages which they deliver are intended first for them. And it is only as they can accept them for themselves that they become able to bring them further and to give them everywhere that they were meant to be. Like earthly messengers, they did not write the messages they bear, but they become their first receivers in the truest sense, receiving to prepare themselves to give.

7 An earthly messenger fulfills his role by giving all the messages away. The messengers of God perform their part by their acceptance of His messages as for themselves and show they understand the messages by giving them away. They choose no roles that are not given them by His authority. And so they gain by every message which they give away.

8 Would you receive the messages of God? For thus do you become His messengers. You are appointed now. And yet you wait to give the messages you have received, and so you do not know that they are yours and do not recognize them. No one can receive and understand he has received until he gives. For in the giving is his own acceptance of what he received.

9 You who are now the messengers of God receive His messages, for that is part of your appointed role. God has not failed to offer what you need, nor has it been left unaccepted. Yet another part of your appointed task is yet to be accomplished. He Who has received for you the messages of God would have them be received by you as well. For thus do you identify with Him and claim your own.

10 It is this joining that we undertake to recognize today. We will not seek to keep our minds apart from Him Who speaks for us, for it is but our voice we hear as we attend Him. He alone can speak to us and for us, joining in One Voice the getting and the giving of God's Word, the giving and receiving of His Will.

11 We practice giving Him what He would have that we may recognize His gifts to us. He needs our voice that He may speak through us. He needs our hands to hold His messages and carry them to those whom He appoints. He needs our feet to bring us where He wills, that those who wait in misery may be at last delivered. And He needs our will united with His own, that we may be the true receivers of the gifts He gives.
12 Let us but learn this lesson for today: we will not recognize what we receive until we give it. You have heard this said a hundred times, and yet belief is lacking still. But this is sure—until belief is given it, you will receive a thousand miracles and then receive a thousand more but will not know that God Himself has left no gift beyond what you already have nor has denied the tiniest of blessings to His Son. What can this mean to you until you have identified with him and with his own?

13 Our lesson for today is stated thus:

14 I am among the ministers of God, and I am grateful that I have the means by which to recognize that I am free.

15 The world recedes as we light up our minds and realize these holy words are true. They are the message sent to us today from our Creator. Now we demonstrate how they have changed our minds about ourselves and what our function is. For as we prove that we accept no will we do not share, our many gifts from our Creator will spring to our sight and leap into our hands, and we will understand what we received.

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Lesson ARCHIVE
Course in Miracles
Original Edition
Text
Chapter 13
 From Perception to Knowledge

VIII. The Decision for Guiltlessness
 par 64-78 [To Be Continued]
64 Learning will be commensurate with motivation, and the interference in your motivation for learning is exactly the same as that which interferes with all your thinking. The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns so easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not salvation, and serves no useful function at all.

65 You are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both, you do not see yourselves as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness and push it from your sight.

66 There is no compromise that you can make with guilt and escape the pain which only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in Heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that, if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore to yourself gently, but with the conviction born of the love of God and of His Son,

67 What I experience, I will make manifest. If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear. I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement,  not for its rejection. I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest and sharing it. Let me bring peace to God's Son from his Father.

68 Each day, each hour and minute, even every second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection, between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt; the Holy Spirit the decision for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, happy or unhappy.

69 The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.

70 No penalty is ever asked of God's Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it, he binds himself to darkness because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he threw away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.

71 The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone, and teach him that whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt the Son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.

72 God is the only Cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in it in any mind. Remember always that mind is one and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.

73 Whenever you decide to make decisions for yourself, you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision which led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God's Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of. Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt because they think it is salvation and will not refuse to see it and side with it. [They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection.] And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them.

74 All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy and will bring to them all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their wills will not provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them and gives them what they will without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.

75 It will never happen that you will have to make decisions for yourself. You are not bereft of help, and Help that knows the answer. Would you be content with little, which is all that you alone can offer yourself, when He Who gives you everything will simply offer it to you? He will never ask what you have done to make you worthy of the gift of God. Ask it not therefore of yourselves. Instead, accept His answer, for He knows that you are worthy of everything God wills for you. Do not try to escape the gift of God which He so freely and so gladly offers you. He offers you but what God gave Him for you. You need not decide whether or not you are deserving of it. God knows you are.

76 Would you deny the truth of God's decision and place your pitiful appraisal of yourself in place of His calm and unswerving value of His Son? Nothing can shake God's conviction of the perfect purity of everything that He created, for it is wholly pure. Do not decide against it, for being of Him, it must be true. Peace abides in every mind that quietly accepts the plan which God has set for his Atonement, relinquishing his own. You know not of salvation, for you do not understand it. Make no decisions about what it is or where it lies, but ask of the Holy Spirit everything and leave all decisions to His gentle counsel.

77 The One Who knows the plan of God which God would have you follow can teach you what it is. Only His wisdom is capable of guiding you to follow it. Every decision you undertake alone but signifies that you would define what salvation is and what you would be saved from. The Holy Spirit knows that all salvation is escape from guilt. You have no other "enemy," and against this strange distortion of the purity of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit is your only friend. He is the strong protector of your innocence, which sets you free. And it is His decision to undo everything that would obscure your innocence from your unclouded mind.

78 Let Him, therefore, be the only Guide that you would follow to salvation. He knows the way and leads you gladly on it. With Him you will not fail to learn what God wills for you is your will. Without His guidance, you will think you know alone and will decide against your peace as surely as you made the wrong decision in ever thinking that salvation lay in you alone. Salvation is of Him to Whom God gave it for you. He has not forgotten it. Forget Him not, and He will make every decision for you, for your salvation, and the peace of God in you.

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Sarah's Reflections
Lesson 154
I am among the ministers of God.
Our function in this world is to forgive. Regardless of our role in the world, the content is always the same. It is to accept Correction of our misperceptions. Then, and only then, can we extend the message that the separation never happened in reality, and God's Son is guiltless. This is what we demonstrate as ministers of God. It is living by example. It is through giving that we can know ourselves, as we were created. "For you will not see the light, until you offer it to all your brothers." (W.153.11.5) This is what our purpose is. Certainly, we can choose to waste time in distractions, but when we do, Jesus tells us time wastes us. Time is here only for the purpose of healing ourselves. "For as we prove that we accept no will we do not share, our many gifts from our Creator will spring to our sight and leap into our hands, and we will recognize what we received." (W.154.14.4) It is a demonstration to our brothers and sisters that the ego has no power to take our peace and our joy, which is changeless and eternal and is present in everyone we meet.
 
What really struck me today when I read this lesson was that any attempt to judge ourselves is an attempt "to hold decision off, and to delay commitment to our function." (W.154.1.4) It is a very common fallacy to believe that we are not sufficiently spiritually advanced to undertake our function in the world. Thus, we are called not to be either arrogant or falsely humble. We are under the delusion that we can judge our own readiness. This struck me because it was my excuse for delaying facilitating gatherings and workshops in our community. I did not feel ready and, by my own assessment, I still feel I have a lot more work to do in healing my mind. I was also comparing myself with others who seemed so much more advanced. Jesus tells us that while this may look like humility, it is actually arrogance because we are listening to the ego. The ego is diminishing who we really are and what we have to offer to the world. "There is no one from whom a teacher of God cannot learn, so there is no one whom he cannot teach." (Manual for Teachers.3.1.3)
 
We do not deliver our own message. "A messenger is not the one who writes the message he delivers. Nor does he question the right of him who does, nor ask why he has chosen those who will receive the message that he brings. It is enough that he accept it, give it to the ones for whom it is intended, and fulfill his role in its delivery. If he determines what the messages should be, or what their purpose is, or where they should be carried, he is failing to perform his proper part as bringer of the Word." (W.154.5.1-4) We are not the ones who decide if the message is appropriate or not. We only become a channel for His message. The content of the message is always one that reflects God's Love in this world.
 
Our appointed role "was selected by the Voice for God , " (W.154.2.1) meaning we simply follow the guidance and not look to the ego for confirmation. It is not our own message, but it is through Him that we have the strength to understand what it entails and to "succeed in everything you do that is related to it." (W.154.3.2)
 
Jesus advises us not to put ourselves in charge of our journey of awakening, for we cannot judge our own progress. In fact, he says, "Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success." (T.18.V.1.5-6) (ACIM OE.T.18.VI.41) Jesus is telling us that we can't figure any of this out for ourselves, because "what we think is weakness can be strength, what we believe to be our strength is often arrogance." (W.154.1.7) We just don't have the information we need by which to judge.
 
The Holy Spirit knows us because His Presence is part of us in our right minds. "Seeing your strengths exactly as they are, and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom and when, He chooses and accepts your part for you." (W.154.2.2) We merely follow His lead and His guidance. It is about placing our lives in His hands and letting Him take charge of everything. This requires submission and surrender of our own plans, our own way, and our own need for specialness. We turn to Him because, on our own, we do not know, and we can't judge. There is no way we can understand where we are in this journey. Our judgments are always based on very limited data.
 
I have spent a lifetime learning to be independent and taking pride in managing my own life. Surrendering and submitting to authority has not come easily. I continue to struggle with the authority issue, but I have learned how much joy and relaxation comes from knowing I can stop trying to do this on my own. When we see how much peace, joy, and success come from surrendering our way to One who knows, we become more motivated to give up our way. It requires that we turn away from the voice of the ego and learn to be still and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. It comes as a result of our dedication and commitment to the practices laid out in these lessons. It does take effort.
 
"When the ego was made, God placed in the mind the Call to joy. This Call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at Its sound. That is why you must choose to hear one of two voices within you. One you made yourself, and that one is not of God. But the other is given you by God, Who asks you only listen to it. The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense. His is the Voice that calls you back to where you were before and will be again. It is possible even in this world to hear only that Voice and no other. It takes effort and great willingness to learn." (T.5.II.3.2-10) (ACIM OE T.5.III.19) (ACIM OE.T.5.IV.20)
 
"The Holy Spirit is your Guide in choosing. He is in the part of your mind that always speaks for the right choice, because He speaks for God. He is your remaining communication with God, which you can interrupt but cannot destroy." (T.5.II.8.1‑3) (ACIM OE T.5.IV.25) As we connect with this Voice, we are led to be where we are to be, to whom to speak, and what to say. We become the messenger, as we are given the messages. We don't make up the messages. We learn to turn within and ask for guidance in everything we are to say and do. Our function is to see the innocence in our brothers. It requires that we see past their behaviors to the truth in them so we can know our own innocence. We carry the message to those who are part of our lives, to those we are to meet, and even to those we think about. "The curriculum is highly individualized, and all aspects are under the Holy Spirit's particular care and guidance." (M.29.2.6)
 
"The messages that they deliver are intended first for them." (W.154.6.2) In other words, we first receive in order to give, but we don't fully get the message until we give it. If I want to know I am forgiven, I must forgive. We are therefore giving what we have first accepted for ourselves. It is not about anything in form but only about the content of love, which is demonstrated by accepting the Atonement for ourselves. It is never about particular words or behavior, but we demonstrate we are no longer invested in judgment. "The messengers of God perform their part by their acceptance of His messages as for themselves, and show they understand the messages by giving them away." (W.154.7.2) Thus, our understanding is reinforced as we demonstrate it. We are to be constantly looking for His direction, rather than choosing our own way. "They choose no roles that are not given them by His authority." (W.154.7.3)
 
Why wait? Jesus tells us, "You are appointed now." (W.154.8.3) We are called to exemplify what we have learned. We do so by communicating that we are the same, we share one Self, and we are all God's One Son, completely forgiven. It requires that we accept this for ourselves and extend it to all so we can know this for ourselves. "No one can receive and understand he has received until he gives." (W.154.8.6)
 
He is telling us, "You have heard this said a hundred ways, a hundred times, and yet belief is lacking still." (W.154.12.2) All of God's gifts are already ours. Jesus tells us, "you will receive a thousand miracles and then receive a thousand more" (W.154.12.3) and many blessings, but they go unnoticed until we are prepared to see them. Behind this illusion, behind all of our problems, behind our specialness and our judgments are miracles waiting to be received. If we are to become the reflection of God's Love in this dream, it means the dark shadow of the ego must be released. The cost of holding onto its thought system is that all of the gifts of God will go unnoticed, though they are always there, awaiting our acceptance. We have the Love of God and we are the Love of God. It is all within us now.
 
This ministry Jesus is talking about is certainly not about preaching, proselytizing, or trying to change anyone. It is only about healing our own minds so we can be a reflection of His Love in the world. "We practice giving Him what He would have, that we may recognize His gifts to us." (W.154.11.1) It is all about accepting forgiveness and offering it.
 
The body, which was made as a symbol of attack, can now be used for a holy purpose. The body, which was made to limit love, can now express a different message through our voice, our hands, our feet, and our will united with His own so "that those who wait in misery may at last be delivered." (W.154.11.4) "And He needs our will united with His Own, that we may be the true receivers of the gifts He gives." (W.154.11.5) He can now work through us in everything we do, everywhere we go, and all those we meet and are yet to meet. The gifts we give are always for ourselves.
 
Early this week, I met with my accountant, who was doing my tax return. He works out of his home and has a ten-year-old daughter. She confided in me that she had a big problem with some girls at school who are mean to her. I was able to let her know, in a very simple way, about the opportunity available to her in this situation to learn about her own strength in the midst of the challenges they were presenting to her. I explained the call for love coming from these girls who were torturing her. I explained to her how our minds are joined and when she chooses to see the situation from their perspective, she will be able to release her fear and send them blessings instead. I explained to her that whatever was held in her mind about them would be received by their minds. I invited her to consider how unhappy they must be to attack anyone. Finally, I suggested she pay special attention to their response as she, herself, looks at them differently.
 
Today, I got a card in the mail from her saying, "Sarah, it worked!! I send them blessings all the time now. I want to thank you for helping me with this problem." I am among the ministers of God and I don't know when, how, or who will be there on my path, at any moment, ready to hear the message being given me through Him. I don't know what to say or do, but He does. I don't know the impact of my message, but He does. It is all a fascinating journey. I thought I was just going there to pick up my tax return! We never know why we are in whatever situation we find ourselves. What I have discovered is that "There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other." (M.3.1.6-8)
 
I attended a wedding of a friend at the MacDonald Hotel recently and again had a lot of trepidation about dressing up, making small talk, and wondering how soon I could leave. Then, just when we were ready to exit, we were introduced to a couple who shared a struggle they were having in their lives. It was another perfect opportunity for a holy encounter where there was a message to be delivered that all is forgiven and everyone is innocent. Again, it was a reminder that we really can't judge what anything is for. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from a gal who had visited our home briefly on two occasions. She wrote to say she wondered if we even remembered her after such a long time. As a result of our meeting, a couple of years ago, she had been prompted to find her spiritual path and asked if we could help make some connections for her. She indicated that prior to our meeting, she had an aversion to anything to do with God. Who would have thought?!
 
What do we know about who is seemingly put on our path and why? We all have these encounters, but we don't always get the feedback, and we don't need to. We don't need to know what the outcome of these encounters will be. We are only to follow our prompts and go where we are nudged to be. The only "agenda" for these encounters is the healing of our own minds. As Jesus reminds us, "It is not the function of God's teachers to evaluate the outcome of their gifts. It is merely their function to give them." (M.6.3.1-2) In the Psychotherapy Pamphlet, we read, "Perhaps the answer does not seem to be a gift from Heaven. It may even seem to be a worsening and not a help. Yet let the outcome not be judged by us." (P.2.V.6.8-10)
 
None of this is a personal mission to reflect our own specialness. In fact, it is our specialness, our self-interest, and our belief we know anything that must be surrendered if we are to be His messenger. Everything in this world becomes a classroom for undoing our false perceptions. Every special relationship is part of this classroom and is there for the purpose of healing of our own minds. "A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else's. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure. A light has entered the darkness. It may be a single light, but that is enough. He has entered an agreement with God even if he does not yet believe in Him. He has become a bringer of salvation. He has become a teacher of God." (M.1.1-8)
 
There is an interesting story of Helen, the scribe for the Course, helping a young woman who was petrified of flying. In helping this woman, she heard the inner voice tell her, "This is really my church." In other words, the church is in our relationship with our brothers.
 
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Love and blessings, Sarah
 
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Allen joined Robert Perry in forming the Circle of Atonement in 1993 in Sedona, Arizona where Allen led retreats and workshops and authored many books based on “A Course in Miracles.” One of his most popular books is “ A Workbook Companion: Vol I and II .”
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