III. Atonement and Miracles
5. Error cannot really threaten truth, which can always withstand it. Only the error is actually vulnerable. You are free to establish your kingdom where you see fit, but the right choice is inevitable if you remember this:
Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore, you are in a state of grace forever.
- 6. You respond to what you perceive, and as you perceive so shall you behave. The Golden Rule asks you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This means that the perception of both must be accurate. The Golden Rule is the rule for appropriate behavior. You cannot behave appropriately unless you perceive correctly. Since you and your neighbor are equal members of one family, as you perceive both so you will do to both. You should look out from the perception of your own holiness to the holiness of others.
- 7. Miracles arise from a mind that is ready for them. By being united this mind goes out to everyone, even without the awareness of the miracle worker himself. The impersonal nature of miracles is because the Atonement itself is one, uniting all creations with their Creator. As an expression of what you truly are, the miracle places the mind in a state of grace. The mind then naturally welcomes the Host within and the stranger without. When you bring in the stranger, he becomes your brother.
- 8. That the miracle may have effects on our brothers that you may not recognize is not your concern. The miracle will always bless you. Miracles you are not asked to perform have not lost their value. They are still expressions of your own state of grace, but the action aspect of the miracle should be controlled by me because of my complete awareness of the whole plan. The impersonal nature of miracle-mindedness ensures your grace, but only I am in a position to know where they can be bestowed.
- 9. Miracles are selective only in the sense that they are directed towards those who can use them for themselves. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a strong chain of Atonement is wielded. However, this selectivity takes no account of the magnitude of the miracle itself because the concept of size exists on a plane that is itself unreal. Since the miracle aims at restoring the awareness of reality, it would not be useful if it were bound by laws that govern the error it aims to correct. 
Today we finish the second half of section three, The Atonement and Miracles. Yesterday we learned that Atonement is correction. We learned that as we stand with Christ we do the work of Christ. We offer Atonement through Christ, Who has called us to ready our minds and hearts, accept His truth and perform miracles in His Name.
In our reading today we learn that nothing can threaten the truth. Truth is truth – there are no lies, no dreams, no fantasies that can make truth anything other than what it is. There is not a thing vulnerable about the truth because it always stands. Only the lie is weak, spineless, and needs defense. Jesus tells us that we can set up our kingdom here in the world of illusion, the substitute for Creation that we made. We can believe the lie, we can fear God instead of love Him, we can make God out to be vengeful, jealous, and full of rage. We can believe ourselves spineless, sniveling little weaklings that are destined for disease, despair, and death. We are certainly welcome to make of this world our kingdom for as long as we want. We can identify with flesh and blood and refuse to believe in that which we cannot see with our physical eyes, but no matter what – our Spirit is forever in a state of grace. Our reality is in Spirit and not in flesh. There is nothing we can do or fail to do in the flesh that will change who and what we are in Christ. We are as we were created and evermore shall be! We will never be abandoned to our own devices and we will, each and every single one of us, eventually choose the right kingdom.
In paragraph six, Jesus tells us that as humans we respond to what we perceive and so what we perceive determines our behavior. If I see a sneer on your face, I am going to respond to that sneer and sneer right back atcha! When someone does me wrong, oh boy, my hackles rise, and I am determined to give them a good taste of their own medicine. I have been known to hold grudges for decades against those whom I have perceived as not appreciating me, cheating on me, or telling lies about me or to me!
The Golden Rule changes this dynamic. Jesus tells us that our holiness will help us to be proactive instead of being reactive. Proactivity is the miracle, and it undoes error instead of making more by offering understanding, equality, forgiveness, and correction. When someone offends me and I choose to see their offense as a simple mistake in good judgment, I am much more inclined to offer forgiveness, understanding, communication, and correction rather than umbrage, spite, and revenge. Years of needless estrangement, loneliness, and bad behavior can be averted when at least one person is willing to offer the miracle and say, “Oh, let us settle this by talking it out, let us not fight but come to some agreement. Let us not choose to make up stories about each other and project our own faults and weaknesses onto each other and pretend we are innocent so one of us can pretend to be the good guy at the expense of the other!” Choosing this realm’s way of relating to others leads to ongoing strife, conflict, and unrest which needlessly stretches out the need for time and causes unnecessary suffering. Choosing to treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated leads to honest communication, healed relationships, and resolution. It actually collapses the need for time, and nobody suffers.
Along the same vein, when someone wants us to take one side against another, our holiness simply explains that when sides are drawn both factions have decided against peace, both sides have decided against communication and correction, both parties have decided against the miracle. Jesus makes it very clear that it is only when we perceive ourselves and others correctly that we will be able to apply the Golden Rule to our behavior toward others. As long as I perceive my brother as different than me, I will not be able to do anything but respond in a way that does not reflect miracles. It is only when we get in touch with our own holiness, our true identity in the spiritual kingdom that we will be able to see the inherent holiness in others and respond to that instead of their outward behavior. While Jesus does not expect us to get to this overnight in our process, we are expected, as we stand with Him, to take heed and make the Golden Rule our standard for appropriate behavior.
Because miracles come from a mind that is prepared for them, we pray for miracle readiness. We pray that we are not tempted to react to the unpleasantness of others, but to be proactive and offer miracles because miracles correct instead of make matters worse. Our minds are ready for miracles when they are united with Christ and recognize Creation as one with God. Until then we will find ourselves drawn to gossip and rumors, backbiting and condemnation, pointing fingers and laying blame. When we recognize our oneness with God and with each other, our minds are no longer the least bit interested in all that tripe! Our minds enter a natural state of grace – of peace and calm, of beauty, purity, innocence, and holiness. The mind in a state of grace knows no shame or blame, guilt or fear. We can no longer despise our brothers; we are not jealous of their accomplishments or feel as if they are withholding something that belongs to us within them. Instead of barring the door to our hearts and minds, we welcome, we incorporate our outer world into our inner world. Jesus says that when we bring in him, whom we think of as different than us, he becomes like us, he becomes a brother.
In paragraph eight, Jesus assures us that whether we are aware of it or not, miracles take effect and will always bless us. Even those miracles that we go off and do without His express guidance will still have value, will still express our state of grace. As eager as we may be to offer miracles to this one and that one, only Jesus knows who is prepared to accept them, to appreciate them, to be ready for them. Miracles are impersonal in that we are not to offer them to those whom we think deserve them or those whom we love or whom are related to us. We are not to determine in our own minds if the miracle “worked” or not. We are to do what Jesus tells us to do and trust Him for the results instead of our very limited understanding.
The miracle is the shift in consciousness that restores us to our reality as God’s Son – it is in this realm that we naturally extend that awareness to others to whom Christ leads. We do not have to go out on the streets and try to badger people into coming to our church or spend long hours in our prayer closets demanding and pleading with God to save this one or that one. We do not try to manipulate God to save our loved ones by going without food or giving up other pleasantries. All God wants from us is to remember who and what we are in Him. We are His beloved Sons, His Creation. We are to share this good news with the ones who are prepared for it.
Every single one of us come to Christ when we have had our fill of what we made and want only what God has for us. We each have our own processes, lessons, and designated paths which lead to this realization. We should never force our views upon others before their time. We are not here to defend or fight for the cause for Christ! We are here to be obedient to the Lord’s leading and trust in Him. We will trust in our brothers to be ready for Atonement at the perfect time for them, not us! We are not limited by space, by time, by the cycles of birth and death here in this world. The miracle releases us from all constraints of this kingdom and delivers us to the everlasting realm of God. Choosing that Kingdom and inviting Jesus our Holy Brother to lead the way – we can cast all our worries and concerns aside and trust only in Him.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 1:III Atonement and Miracles. 5-9. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com