II. SECTION 14. What am I?
Lesson 357 Truth answers every call we make to God, responding first with miracles, and then returning unto us to be itself.
- Forgiveness, truth’s reflection, tells me how to offer miracles, and thus escape the prison house in which I think I live. Your holy Son is pointed out to me, first in my brother, then in me. Your Voice instructs me patiently to hear Your Word and give as I receive. And as I look upon Your Son today, I hear Your Voice instructing me to find the way to You, as You appointed that the way shall be:
“Behold his sinlessness, and be you healed.”
As we continue to seek the truth about what we are, Jesus assures us that truth answers every call we make to God. We do not have to worry about being led astray. We do not have to worry about following the wrong gospel or joining a perversion cult. We do not have to worry about the crazy ideas that we may come up with in response to our own bewilderment and curiosity over the things of God. When we sincerely seek the truth and go directly to God, He answers our call with truth.
Before we learn to forgive, we offer that which is not miracles. Before we learn the truth about who and what we are, we bind ourselves with iniquity by judging, bearing ill will, defending and attacking, cherishing specialness, and hiding our shame. Instead of offering miracles, we offer blame, we offer pointing fingers, we offer darkness cloaked as light. Instead of drawing closer to God and one another, we drive the wedge between us deeper, wider, making it seem impossible to bridge. We become lonelier. We grow sadder. We are full of anguish, sorrow, and despair. We lash out at this one and that one – it is all their fault – they do not appreciate me, they do not love me, they do not respect me, they are holding something that belongs to me inside of them and selfishly refuse to share. They are unworthy of my love. They are a hopeless case. They do not deserve the good life. The mixed messages, the conflicting thoughts, the bewildering madness seems a prison house in which we think we live!
In today’s prayer lesson, we learn that forgiveness reflects the truth, because forgiveness leads us to offer miracles instead of condemnation, vengeance, or grudges. Forgiveness reflects the truth of finding Christ in my brothers to find Christ in myself. Forgiveness reflects the truth of giving to receive and receiving to give. Forgiveness reflects the truth of God’s Kingdom where one is for all and all for one.
In our devotional practice today, think of the ones in your lives who have hurt you, betrayed your trust, mocked your efforts, blabbed your secrets, told your stories in order to hide their own. Think of the ones who are your enemy, mortal enemies from birth, perhaps passed down from previous generations! Think of those countries full of people who embrace a different belief system than you do, a different political ideology, who look, smell, and eat differently than you do. God’s holy Son is there, in them first, and then in you. It is not until we recognize this truth that we can know ourselves as God’s Son. It is not until we first recognize our brother as sinless that we are healed, that we can give and receive miracles.
What does this look like in our daily application? A little over twenty years ago our daughter died from injuries suffered in a car accident. The boy who was driving the car had fallen asleep at the wheel. While he survived the crash with hardly a scratch on his body, our daughter who had evidently been too sleepy to put her seat belt on, was thrown through the windshield. Often I have been asked how I could ever forgive him.
For me, it was not hard to forgive Jason. He had not done it on purpose. He may have been thoughtless. He may have not taken the time to make sure Manda was buckled in. Perhaps he had been going too fast before he nodded off – but one thing was certain, Jason had not purposefully killed my daughter. He had made a mistake, and he suffered terribly for it. They had loved each other as high school sweethearts do. Holding a grudge against him over this would not have brought my daughter back to life. Bearing him ill will would not correct the mistake or keep it from happening again. In fact I have come to believe that when we do hold grievances and unforgiveness in our hearts we live in a prison house that keeps us in ongoing bondage, pitting us against each other for no other reason than we get attached to the feeling of specialness that our supposed victimhood seems to provide.
Conversely, when a gang of young men kidnapped, raped, tortured, and killed another woman’s daughter, she took matters into her own hands. Because the police had not properly investigated the matter, somehow, she rounded the gang up at gunpoint. She called in the law, but the law, not finding any evidence or perhaps being too afraid or corrupt to press any charges, allowed the would-be gangsters to go free. Shortly after, the young men butchered the mother, leaving her husband and the rest of her children and grandchildren even more bereft.
Without Christ and understanding truth, we tend to side with the mother. Her sense of injustice had been outraged; it had compelled her to go after the perpetrators. However, no matter how many years the boys would have sat in prison cells, no matter if they had been likewise raped, tortured, and killed – it would not have brought her daughter back to the family. It would have not made her daughter’s pain, suffering, and death hold any other meaning than another wrenching crime against humanity. In other words, there would be no miracle. There was no healing. The morale of this story is that God is dead, and we are on our own in a frightening universe governed by the lawless, the heartless, and the depraved.
Last night in our ACIM study group, our members seemed to stumble over racism and white privilege as if these particular issues were too grievous to apply God’s truth. But today’s lesson clearly states that truth answers every call we make to God. Racism is not limited to people of one color and not another. As long as we behold another as different from us because of the color of their skin, we are not reflecting God’s truth. The concept of race privilege is a cleverly designed ploy of the ego that is treacherous to those on all sides of this issue. Its purpose is brokenness rather than wholeness. When we believe in that which does not reflect God’s truth, we seek for bargains, compromise, and compensation as a substitute for God’s love. We stoutly claim our rights that our brothers are keeping from us. We band together against the other, rather than for the other. When we hold these ideas dear to us, when we experience race pride or race shame, when we take it upon ourselves to identify with the color of our skin rather than our identity as God’s Son, we cling to the idea that murder is justified and that love between the races is a threat to our specialness. These ideas symbolize the gates of hell, where madness rules and keeps us apart from God, away from truth, and denies the healing necessary to save the world.
What are you? What am I? We are God’s Son. We escape the mad kingdom by forgiving it, not by falling prey to its ploys and believing its lies. When we offer forgiveness, we offer miracles. Instead of hurling insults, we call forth miracles, we show love, we embrace and draw close. Instead of nursing grievances, we forgive them and free others from the prison house of blame. Instead of carrying forth traditions of specialness, we teach identifying only with that which awakens us to life eternal, to our true and holy Selves, you and me, as God created us.
 A Course in Miracles, Workbook for Students, Lesson 357. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992) p. 483.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24.II.12, 13. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). p. 505.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com