Many popular books about A Course In Miracles are filled with cherry picked ‘feel-good” passages. Thus they miss a basic characteristic of it’s curriculum. Which is; sections begin with clear statements about the problems we project into our ego centric world. They conclude with ways to cope with them. Daily help is gained by reading sections completely. Thus the final comforting statements are more helpful to correct the behavior described at the beginning of the section.
Reading only “feel good” passages out of context distorts Course teaching.
One of the most difficult situations to cope with in our separated world of relationships is to loose trust of a friend or loved one. An oft repeated Course phrase is, “there is no order of difficulties…” there is only a difference in degree of form. The hurt and effects of betrayal in a relationship can be severe no matter what the degree of disloyalty. If friendship leads to physical intimacy in a new relationship it can devastate the primary relationship. Also there is doubt about what actually is, was, or could be going on. So the dance of sin, guilt and fear can become a dance of hate. [Because of their complexity, special love, special hate and holy relationships are discussed in full in the heart of the Text, Chapters 22-25.]
For our thinking here I’ve chosen Text Chapter 19, the Attainment of Peace, Section III, The Unreality of Sin, which offers ideas that will help us to cope with betrayals. The ideas can also be helpful when generalized and applied to other examples of what we believe is sinful betrayal.
As we examine Section III be mindful of the following definition of sin from Ken Wapnick’s Glossary Index on p.189. It differs fundamentally from traditional beliefs of Judeo Christian Religions. It has four parts. The first is very important for this discussion. The fourth one, “to the Holy Spirit,” is very helpful as it’s the Holy Spirit’s take on sin; an error which can be corrected. I’ve made the font bold in the first very important part and italicized the last statement.
Sin – the belief in the reality of our separation from God, seen by the ego as an act incapable of correction because it represents our attack on our creator, Who would never forgive us; leads to guilt, which demands punishment; equivalent to separation, and the central concept in the ego’s thought system, from which all others logically follow; to the Holy Spirit, an error in our thinking to be corrected and therefore forgiven and healed
In section III (below) Jesus teaches us to change our mind from believing in the trio of sin, guilt and fear to see betrayal as error or mistake to be rectified and resolved.
Carefully note how the words sin, guilt and fear are used in paragraph one. We feel these three emotions within ourselves when we are betrayed. We ask, what did I do wrong to have this happen, has it stopped, will it continue, what’s wrong with me?
The attraction of guilt is found in sin, not error. Sin will be repeated because of this attraction. Fear can become so acute that the sin is denied the acting out. But while the guilt remains attractive the mind will suffer, and not let go of the idea of sin. For guilt still calls to it, and the mind hears it and yearns for it, making itself a willing captive to its sick appeal. Sin is an idea of evil that cannot be corrected, and yet will be forever desirable. As an essential part of what the ego thinks you are, you will always want it. And only an avenger, with a mind unlike your own, could stamp it out through fear.
Following are the leading sentences of paragraphs nine, ten and eleven from Section III that contain helpful ideas.
9. And yet you look with Heaven’s smile upon your lips, and Heaven’s blessing on your sight. 10. In the holy instant, you will see the smile of Heaven shining on both you and your brother 11. Look upon your Redeemer, [Jesus/the Holy Spirit] and behold what He would show you in your brother, and let not sin arise again to blind your eyes.
To avoid being a “bliss ninny,” because I’ve purposely taken the above statements out of context, connect them with paragraph 1 and the whole section. Notice also the following two sentences from paragraph four. Put them into context.
Our goal is to find ways to accept all of paragraph 11 from The Unreality of Sin, especially the italicized final three sentences. [Be sure to use ACIM’s definition of sin here!!!]
Look upon your Redeemer, and behold what He would show you in your brother, and let not sin arise again to blind your eyes. For sin would keep you separate from him, but your Redeemer would have you look upon your brother as yourself. Your relationship is now a temple of healing; a place where all the weary ones can come and rest. Here is the rest that waits for all, after the journey. And it is brought nearer to all by your relationship.
We can overcome obstacles in our mind to changing broken relationships into “temple[s] of healing.” Let’s strive it do that and turn them into holy relationships.