Some may come and some may go. He will surely pass.
When the one that left us here returns for us at last.
We are but a moment’s sunlight, fading in the grass.
Come on people now, smile on your brother.
Everybody get together, try to love one another right now.
-Chet Powers (1937-1994), From “Get Together” (1967)
Strictly following the Gospel teachings of Jesus raises our personal consciousness vibrations away from fear and toward more perfect love, with the goal of achieving the spiritual level of the kingdom of God while we are still on earth. Yet as simple as those teachings are, and never mind the fact that Jesus insists that following His teachings is essential, the religion that bears the Lord’s name has for almost two thousand years ignored what He said and considered Him to be nothing more than a human sacrifice. And this is true, even though He makes such an emphatic point of the fact that if we don’t do what He tells us to do, we have no right to call ourselves His followers. He says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (JN 14:15). “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him” (JN 14:21). And even, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My word. And the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me!” (JN 14:23-24).
So we have been trying here, insofar as we can, to understand the peculiar love that Jesus taught. As we said last week, in Chapter Fifteen of A Course in Miracles Jesus leads us to renounce all “special” relationships so we can discover the only genuine love at the center of the heart of God. This week, in Chapter 24 of the Course He teaches us to forgive universally because our brother is forever holy. No matter how flawed someone might seem when we look at him through the lens of our special hatreds, he is God’s stainless and eternally perfect Son. When you are seeing your brother truly, then your love for everyone will be pure and from the heart. Your forgiveness of everyone, no matter what they do, will be automatic and joyous. This chapter is easier to shorten than was the crucial chapter that we read last week; and the under-linings are my own.
ACIM Text Chapter 24: The Goal of Specialness
VI. Salvation from Fear
1. Before your brother’s holiness the world is still, and peace descends on it in gentleness and blessing so complete that no trace of conflict still remains to haunt you in the darkness of the night. ²He is your savior from the dreams of fear ….
3. Nothing is lost to you in all the universe. ²Nothing that God created has He failed to lay before you lovingly, as yours forever. ³And no Thought within His Mind is absent from your own. ⁴It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still. ⁵God changes not His Mind about His Son with passing circumstance which has no meaning in eternity where He abides, and you with Him. ⁶Your brother is as He created him. ⁷And it is this that saves you from a world that He created not.
4. Forget not that the healing of God’s Son is all the world is for. ²That is the only purpose the Holy Spirit sees in it, and thus the only one it has. ³Until you see the healing of the Son as all you wish to be accomplished by the world, by time and all appearances, you will not know the Father nor yourself. ⁴For you will use the world for what is not its purpose, and will not escape its laws of violence and death. ⁵Yet it is given you to be beyond its laws in all respects, in every way and every circumstance….
5. Look on your brother, and behold in him the whole reversal of the laws that seem to rule this world. ²See in his freedom yours, for such it is. ³Let not his specialness obscure the truth in him, for not one law of death you bind him to will you escape. ⁴And not one sin you see in him but keeps you both in hell. ⁵Yet will his perfect sinlessness release you both, for holiness is quite impartial, with one judgment made for all it looks upon. ⁶And that is made, not of itself, but through the Voice that speaks for God in everything that lives and shares His Being….
7. Choose, then, his body or his holiness as what you want to see, and which you choose is yours to look upon. ²Yet will you choose in countless situations, and through time that seems to have no end, until the truth be your decision. ³For eternity is not regained by still one more denial of Christ in him. ⁴And where is your salvation, if he is but a body? ⁵Where is your peace but in his holiness? ⁶….
8.Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you. ²His errors cannot withhold God’s blessing from himself, nor you who see him truly. ³His mistakes can cause delay, which it is given you to take from him, that both may end a journey that has never begun, and needs no end. ⁴What never was is not a part of you. ⁵Yet you will think it is, until you realize that it is not a part of him who stands beside you. ⁶He is the mirror of yourself, wherein you see the judgment you have laid on both of you. ⁷The Christ in you beholds his holiness. ⁸Your specialness looks on his body and beholds him not….
11. Specialness is the function that you gave yourself. ²It stands for you alone, as self-created, self-maintained, in need of nothing, and unjoined with anything beyond the body. ³In its eyes you are a separate universe, with all the power to hold itself complete within itself, with every entry shut against intrusion, and every window barred against the light. ⁴Always attacked and always furious, with anger always fully justified, you have pursued this goal with vigilance you never thought to yield, and effort that you never thought to cease. ⁵And all this grim determination was for this; you wanted specialness to be the truth….
13. You who believe it easier to see your brother’s body than his holiness, be sure you understand what made this judgment.²Here is the voice of specialness heard clearly, judging against the Christ and setting forth for you the purpose that you can attain, and what you cannot do. ³Forget not that this judgment must apply to what you do with it as your ally. ⁴For what you do through Christ it does not know. ⁵To Him this judgment makes no sense at all, for only what His Father wills is possible, and there is no alternative for Him to see. ⁶Out of His lack of conflict comes your peace. ⁷And from His purpose comes the means for effortless accomplishment and rest. (ACIM, T-24.VI.1:1–13:7)
My guide, Thomas, insisted in 2011 that I learn to use the Gospel teachings of Jesus to raise my personal consciousness vibration. Those teachings released me from lifelong fears and rages to such an amazing extent that at his insistence in 2016 we wrote The Fun of Growing Forever. The Lord’s teachings work fast and amazingly well! But I was troubled by the fact that we had based so much of that book on our experiment with one flawed individual. So then Thomas set out to conduct for me a more dramatic experiment of his own.
With his encouragement, six years ago I began a business venture with someone I came to love and trust as a very dear friend. I had considerable savings intended for the advancement of this work of enlightening the world, and as I was investing in a project with her that looked solid, I kept checking with Thomas. He always said, “It will be fine.” But then in early May my friend was indicted for having defrauded a great many people. My experience through this has been the interesting part. At the moment I learned of her arrest, Thomas swooped in and enveloped me in a cocoon of warm light. It was an astonishing feeling! Still, I ranted at him. How could he have let this happen? Immediately and fiercely he said:
He told me I would be telling this story often. In the heat of my first indignation toward him I said, “Never!” But immediately I realized I had already forgiven the greatest wrong ever done to me. And now I am already telling the story, barely two months after my friend’s arrest. This woman who stole from me an unimaginable sum of money is my holy brother, the beloved Son of God, and I will not see her as less because if I do that I am judging against the Christ. Now I understand what He meant when He said, “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two” (MT 5:39-41). And, “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36). Jesus wasn’t telling us to grit our teeth and submit to the bad behavior of others. No, he was telling us that as we grow spiritually, we will start to think and behave this way as a natural fruit of our vastly expanded spiritual horizon. This at last is the love that Jesus taught! Without His teaching, we would let the occasional bad behavior of others destroy our peace and create an ever wider chasm between us and God. If I hadn’t used His teachings to raise my personal consciousness vibration, I would have let this wound inflicted on me by someone I had loved and trusted trouble my peace forevermore! Instead, I knew from the moment it happened that in fact I had suffered no actual wound. And all I ever have felt since that day is the triumphant joy of my more perfect understanding.
I sought my soul,
But my soul I could not see.
I sought my God,
But my God eluded me.
I sought my brother,
And I found all three.
–William Blake (1757-1827)