"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles
TEXT

CHAPTER 22
Salvation and the Holy Relationship

I. Introduction

 1 Take pity on yourselves, so long enslaved. Rejoice whom God hath joined have come together and need no longer look on sin apart. No two can look on sin together, for they could never see it in the same place and time. Sin is a strictly individual perception, seen in the other yet believed by each to be within himself. And each one seems to make a different error, and one the other cannot understand. Brothers, it is the same, made by the same, and forgiven for its maker in the same way.

2 The holiness of your relationship forgives you both, undoing the effects of what you both believed and saw. And with their going is the need for sin gone with them. Who has need for sin? Only the lonely and alone who see their brothers different from themselves. It is this difference, seen but not real, that makes the need for sin, not real but seen, seem justified. And all this would be real if sin were so. For an unholy relationship is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not. They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other. They stay until they think there's nothing left to steal and then move on. And so they wander through a world of strangers unlike themselves, living with their bodies perhaps under a common roof that shelters neither—in the same room and yet a world apart.

3 A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take. He denies not his own reality, because it is the truth. Just under Heaven does he stand, but close enough not to return to earth. For this relationship has Heaven's holiness. How far from home can a relationship so like to Heaven be?

4 Think what a holy relationship can teach! Here is belief in differences undone. Here is the faith in differences shifted to sameness. [And here is sight of differences transformed to vision .] And reason now can lead you to the logical conclusion of your union. It must extend, as you extended when you joined. It must reach out beyond itself, as you reached out beyond the body to let yourselves be joined. And now the sameness which you saw extends and finally removes all sense of differences so that the sameness that lies beneath them all becomes apparent. Here is the golden circle where you recognize the Son of God. For what is born into a holy relationship can never end.

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A Course in Miracles
TEXT

CHAPTER 22
Salvation and the Holy Relationship

II. The Message of the Holy Relationship

 5 Let reason take another step. If you attack whom God would heal and hate the one He loves, then you and your Creator have a different will. Yet if you are his Will, what you must then believe is that you are not yourself . You can indeed believe this, and you do . And you have faith in this and see much evidence on its behalf. And where, you wonder, does your strange uneasiness, your sense of being disconnected, and your haunting fear of lack of meaning in yourself arise? It is as though you wandered in without a plan of any kind except to wander off, for only that seems certain.

6 Yet we have heard a very similar description earlier, but it was not of you . And yet this strange idea, which it does accurately describe, you think is you. Reason would tell you that the world you see through eyes which are not yours must make no sense to you. To whom would vision such as this send back its messages? Surely not you, whose sight is wholly independent of the eyes which look upon the world. If this is not your vision, what can it show to you? The brain cannot interpret what your vision sees. This you would understand. The brain interprets to the body, of which it is a part. But what it says, you cannot understand. Yet you have listened to it. And long and hard you tried to understand its messages. You did not realize it is impossible to understand what fails entirely to reach you.

7 You have received no messages at all you understand. For you have listened to what can never communicate at all. Think, then, what happened. Denying what you are and firm in faith that you are something else, this "something else" which you have made to be yourself became your sight. Yet it must be the "something else" which sees, and as not you, explains its sight to you. Your vision would, of course, render this quite unnecessary. Yet if your eyes are closed and you have called upon this thing to lead you, asking it to explain to you the world it sees, you have no reason not to listen nor to suspect that what it tells you is not true. Reason would tell you it cannot be true because you do not understand it. God has no secrets. He does not lead you through a world of misery, waiting to tell you at the journey's end why He did this to you.

8 What could be secret from God's Will? Yet you believe that you have secrets. What could your secrets be except another will that is your own, apart from His? Reason would tell you that this is no secret that need be hidden as a sin. But a mistake indeed! Let not your fear of sin protect it from correction, for the attraction of guilt is only fear. Here is the one emotion that you made, whatever it may seem to be. This is the emotion of secrecy, of private thoughts, and of the body. This is the one emotion that opposes love and always leads to sight of differences and loss of sameness. Here is the one emotion that keeps you blind, dependent on the self you think you made to lead you through the world it made for you.

9 Your sight was given you, along with everything that you can understand. You will perceive no difficulty in understanding what this vision tells you, for everyone sees only what he thinks he is . And what your sight would show you, you will understand because it is the truth. Only your vision can convey to you what you can see. It reaches you directly without a need to be interpreted to you. What needs interpretation must be alien. Nor will it ever be made understandable by an interpreter you cannot understand.

10 Of all the messages you have received and failed to understand, this course alone is open to your understanding and can be understood. This is your language. You do not understand it yet, only because your whole communication is like a baby's. The sounds a baby makes and what he hears are highly unreliable, meaning different things to him at different times. Neither the sounds he hears nor sights he sees are stable yet. But what he hears and does not understand will be his native tongue, through which he will communicate with those around him, and they with him. And the strange, shifting ones he sees about him will become to him his comforters, and he will recognize his home and see them there with him.

11 So in each holy relationship is the ability to communicate instead of separate reborn. Yet a holy relationship, so recently reborn itself from an unholy relationship and yet more ancient than the old illusion that it has replaced, is like a baby now in its rebirth. Yet in this infant is your vision returned to you, and he will speak the language both of you can understand. He is not nurtured by the "something else" you thought was you. He was not given there, nor was received by anything except yourself. For no two people can unite except through Christ, Whose vision sees them one.

12 Think what is given you, my holy brothers. This child will teach you what you do not understand and make it plain. For his will be no alien tongue. He will need no interpreter to you, for it was you who taught him what he knows because you knew it. He could not come to anyone but you, never to "something else." Where Christ has entered, no one is alone, for never could He find a home in separate ones. Yet must He be reborn into His ancient home, so seeming new and yet as old as He, a tiny newcomer, dependent on the holiness of your relationship to let Him live.

13 Be certain God did not entrust His Son to the unworthy. Nothing but what is part of Him is worthy of being joined. Nor is it possible that anything not part of Him can join. Communication must have been restored to those that join, for this they could not do through bodies. What, then, has joined them? Reason will tell you that they must have seen each other through a vision not of the body and communicated in a language the body does not speak. Nor could it be a fearful sight or sound that drew them gently into one. Rather, in each the other saw a perfect shelter where his Self could be reborn in safety and in peace. Such did his reason tell him; such he believed because it was the truth.

14 Here is the first direct perception that you have made. You made it through awareness older than perception and yet reborn in just an instant. For what is time to what was always so? Think what that instant brought—the recognition that the "something else" you thought was you is an illusion. And truth came instantly to show you where your Self must be. It is denial of illusions that calls on truth, for to deny illusions is to recognize that fear is meaningless. Into the holy home, where fear is powerless, love enters thankfully, grateful that it is one with you who joined to let it enter.

15 Christ comes to what is like Himself; the same, not different. For He is always drawn unto Himself. What is as like Him as a holy relationship? And what draws you together draws Him to you. Here are His sweetness and His gentle innocence protected from attack. And here can He return in confidence, for faith in one another is always faith in Him. You are indeed correct in looking on each other as His chosen home, for here you will with Him and with His Father. This is your Father's Will for you, and yours with His. And who is drawn to Christ is drawn to God as surely as both are drawn to every holy relationship, the home prepared for them as earth is turned to Heaven.

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Lesson 246
To love my Father is to love His Son.

1 Let me not think that I can find the way to God if I have hatred in my heart. Let me not try to hurt God's Son and think that I can know his Father or my Self. Let me not fail to recognize myself and still believe that my awareness can contain my Father, or my mind conceive of all the love my Father has for me and all the love which I return to Him.

2 I will accept the way You choose for me to come to You, my Father. For in that will I succeed because it is Your Will. And I would recognize that what You will is what I will as well and only that. And so I choose to love Your Son. Amen.

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Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 246
To Love my Father is to love His Son.

 Sarah's Commentary:
 
We may think that we can love God without loving our brothers, but it is clear that the only way to God is by extending love to our brothers. Extending love to our brothers means to forgive them for what they have not done to us. This will only make sense in the context that the world we seem to live in is illusory. It is only in the dream that what has been done seems to have effects because nothing here is real. "How weak is fear; how little and how meaningless. How insignificant before the quiet strength of those whom love has joined," (T.22.V.4.1-2) (ACIM OE T.22.VI.48) and love has joined us all. Now we must come to recognize our sameness.
 
To forgive is to release our judgments and interpretations so love can be extended through us to everyone we encounter or even think about. It is the only way our belief in guilt can be released. Forgiveness is the only way to recognize that what we think we have done has had no real effects, and thus we are forever innocent. We believe that we separated from God and left His Love and thus abandoned Him to make it on our own. We project this belief onto God, and now we see Him as having abandoned us! We do not want to take responsibility for what we have done so we blame God for not being there for us. We feel lost and alone in the world, thinking that we can never find our way back to our home in Him where we are safe and connected.
 
We can find our way back and reclaim our connection to God through forgiveness of our brothers; and we do so by taking back our projections onto others of everything that we had condemned in ourselves, but now see in our brothers. With vision, we see the innocence in our brothers, regardless of their behavior. In other words, we see who they really are. Jesus says that when we see one brother as innocent, we will generalize this to others. Then we come to realize that we are all the same. We all share the same one Self. Through forgiveness, we bring to awareness the love we are and thus remember God. We have not left our home in God, except in dreams, but we don’t know that, and now believe that this existence we seem to be living is real and solid and that the truth is what seems to be illusory.
 
Jesus reminds us, "Never forget that the Sonship is your salvation, for the Sonship is your Self." (T.11.IV.1.1) (ACIM OE T.10.V.31) Our current experience is one of separation and, with it, the feeling that we are entirely on our own. We can only break this isolation through joining. To join is to recognize that we are One Mind. When we join with our brother, we are joining with God. It is not something we do, but something we are. We are already joined, but we must heal the judgments standing in the way of our Oneness. Jesus goes on to say, "Yet if you hate part of your Self [meaning another brother] all your understanding is lost, because you are looking on what God created as yourself without love." (T.11.IV.1.6) (ACIM OE T.10.V.31) Thus, we are making ourselves homeless by denying our Father. We project that denial onto God and believe He is denying us. We come to the Father today by offering gratitude and forgiveness to our brothers, which is how we find our way back to Him. Anything else keeps us in pain and keeps the love, which is always in the mind, from our awareness.
 
The only way we will ever know the love that is already in us is by extending it. Each time we extend forgiveness to a brother, we recognize the love we are. So how we think about ourselves is not how others see us but, indeed, how we see others. When we see them with vision, past all form, we come to know the Christ Self we are. The behavior they have exhibited toward us may still be there, but now the interpretation that we have given it has changed. We no longer see their attack as having anything to do with us. We no longer take any offense. What we saw as an attack, we no longer take personally. Their attack on us can only create a reaction if we already believe or fear that they are right about what they are saying about us. When our own self-attack is healed, we now see any attack as a call for love.
 
We can assess the kind of relationship we have with God through our relationships with our brothers. Any grievance I have with a brother is a grievance I have with God. Any betrayal I experience is my belief that God has betrayed me. Any separation I experience with a brother reflects my separation from God. When we attack anyone, it is based on our belief that we have attacked God and have succeeded. The ego is all about attack. Jesus teaches that the range of the ego is from suspicious to vicious. "The ego is therefore capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst." (T.9.VII.3.7) (ACIM OE T.9.VI.40) It only knows of attack because it is actually a thought of the original attack on God when we chose the ego thought system. We made the decision to hide from God in the body and in the world. Now we do not know what love is because it seems we have separated ourselves from love. Now, through healing with our brothers, we heal our mistaken thoughts about ourselves and about God.
 
Love cannot be known in this world. The closest reflection we have of love in this world is forgiveness. When we are the ones trying to love our brothers, we have put the ego in charge of the process. This is special love, which is the ego's most boasted gift and based on using the other to meet our perceived needs. In our special relationships, we extend love to our brothers in order to extract love from them in return.
 
We can easily see that this is not real love but only a socially accepted pseudo-love, which is actually special hate. How can we tell? "The ego establishes relationships only to get something. And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt. It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends." (T.15.VII.2.1-3) (ACIM OE T.15.VIII.65) It cannot be otherwise, for our anger and resentment comes from belief in sacrifice. Look at the evidence in situations of divorce or separation. What once looked like love now becomes open hatred, distrust, and attack. Or look at how egos go on a rampage when the vestiges of civilized living break down as is the case of human tragedy on a wide scale. "Nice" people become survivors at any cost.
 
The seemingly "small" irritations, the angry thoughts, and the desire to retaliate are what we need to look at throughout the day. We need to look at the little scraps of hatred we direct at others and ourselves, which keep us from knowing the Christ Self we are. Salvation is in our minds, but we can only heal through our decision to watch the mind and stay vigilant against the thoughts that obscure the love we are. We need to be very honest with ourselves and willing to look behind our defenses at what we are hiding from ourselves. There are no small irritations. They cover over a deep level of self-attack.
 
The way we come to know the truth about ourselves is through healing our special relationships. Yes, there are other ways to God, but in this Lesson, Jesus tells us that this Course is the way chosen for us. "I will accept the way You choose for me to come to You, my Father." (W.246.2.1) It is His Will I come to Him, but notice that He does not impose His Will on us. He has given us the freedom to choose. Yet, when we come to see His Will is actually our will too and the source of our happiness, we will gladly surrender our investment in the separate self. When we commit to God, we accept His Will as ours and indeed choose to love the Son, who is our Self. As we release our brothers from the bondage of our grievances, we release ourselves. Healing through relationships is our chosen way home when we choose this Course as our path.
 
Today, let us set our intention for healing with any brother or sister who shows up in our thoughts, or those we encounter. Allow the light of holiness to shine on them through your forgiveness. Remember to start your day with the intention to ask for help to see each brother who crosses your mind, or your path, with the eyes of Christ. Notice any hatred you hold in your heart against them. Ask for God's help and affirm your decision to choose love today with every brother you meet or even think of. Connect with the silence within where the Holy Spirit dwells. Ask how you can be truly helpful to everyone you meet or think about. Remember your commitment each hour, and as often as you can in between, so that you can have a day of joy and peace. And when grievances show up, remind yourself that you are making a choice in that moment not to remember your love for God, which is not to remember your Self. Now we are called to choose again to surrender the blocks to love. To be afraid of love is not a sin but a mistake that can be corrected when we are ready.

Love and blessings, Sarah

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