Section II – The Atonement as Defense
- You can do anything I ask. I have asked you to perform miracles, and have made it clear that miracles are natural, corrective, healing, and universal. There is nothing they cannot do, but they cannot be performed in the spirit of doubt or fear. When you are afraid of anything, you are acknowledging its power to hurt you. Remember that where your heart is, there is your treasure also. You believe in what you value. If you are afraid, you are valuing wrongly. Your understanding will then inevitably value wrongly, and by endowing all thoughts with equal power will inevitably destroy peace. That is why the Bible speaks of “the peace of God which passeth understanding.” This peace is totally incapable of being shaken by errors of any kind. It denies the ability of anything not of God to affect you. This is the proper use of denial. It is not used to hide anything, but to correct error. It brings all error into the light, and since error and darkness are the same, it corrects error automatically.
- True denial is a powerful protective device. You can and should deny any belief that error can hurt you. This kind of denial is not a concealment but a correction. Your right mind depends on it. Denial of error is a strong defense of truth, but denial of truth results in miscreation, the projections of the ego. In the service of the right mind, the denial of error frees the mind and reestablishes the freedom of will. When the will is really free it cannot miscreate because it recognizes only truth.
- You can defend truth as well as error. The means are easier to understand after the value of the goal is firmly established. It is a question of what it is for. Everyone defends his treasure and will do so automatically. The real questions are, what do you treasure, and how much do you treasure it? Once you have learned to consider these questions and to bring them into all your actions, you will have little difficulty in clarifying the means. The means are available whenever you ask. You can, however, save time if you do not protract this step unduly. The correct focus will shorten it immeasurably.
- The Atonement is the only defense that cannot be used destructively because it is not a device you made. The Atonement principle was in effect long before the Atonement began. The principle was love and the Atonement was an act of love. Acts were not necessary until the separation, because belief in space and time did not exist. It was only after the separation that the Atonement and the conditions necessary for its fulfillment were planned. Then a defense so splendid was needed that it could not be misused, though it could be refused. Refusal could not, however, turn it into a weapon of attack, which is the inherent characteristic of other defenses. The Atonement thus becomes the only defense that is not a two-edged sword. It can only heal.
- The Atonement was built into the space-time belief to set a limit on the need for the belief itself, and ultimately to make learning complete. The Atonement is the final lesson. Learning itself, like the classrooms in which it occurs, is temporary. The ability to learn has no value when change is no longer necessary. The eternally creative have nothing to learn. You can learn to improve your perceptions and can become a better and better learner. This will bring you into closer and closer accord with the Sonship; but the Sonship itself is a perfect Creation and perfection is not a matter of degree. Only while there is a belief in differences is learning meaningful.
- Evolution is a process in which you seem to proceed from one degree to the next. You correct your previous missteps by stepping forward. This process is actually incomprehensible in temporal terms because you return as you go forward. The Atonement is the device by which you can free yourself from the past as you go ahead. It undoes your past errors, thus making it unnecessary for you to keep retracing your steps without advancing to your return. In this sense the Atonement saves time, but like the miracle it serves, does not abolish it. As long as there is need for Atonement, there is need for time. But the Atonement as a completed plan has a unique relationship to time. Until the Atonement is complete, its various phases will proceed in time, but the whole Atonement stands at time’s end. At that point, the bridge of return has been built.
- The Atonement is a total commitment. You may still think this is associated with loss, a mistake all the separated Sons of God make in one way or the other. It is hard to believe a defense that cannot attack is the best defense. This is what is meant by “the meek shall inherit the earth.” They will literally take it over because of their strength. A two-way defense is inherently weak precisely because it has two edges and can be turned against you very unexpectedly. This possibility cannot be controlled except by miracles. The miracle turns the defense of Atonement to your real protection, and as you become more and more secure you assume your natural talent of protecting others, knowing yourself as both a brother and a Son.
Today as we come to our devotional practice, Jesus tells us in our reading that we can do anything that He asks of us. And brothers, Jesus has asked us to perform miracles. Are we supposed to perform miracles to show off how special we are in the spiritual realm? Are we called to perform miracles to prove to the world that Christ exists and has come to save the world from eternal damnation? Do we perform miracles as spectacles so that our fellows are convinced that God is real? Of course not. Miracles are natural, not supernatural. They are simple acts of love that are performed quietly and in a spirit of peace, humility, and grace. When we bring communication, correction, and healing to any situation that arises no matter how big or small it may appear, we are performing miracles. We are applying the perfect remedy. We are not taking a side, trying to find something or someone to blame, we are moving in and taking care of a problem. We bring every situation to truth by honest communication, we see the remedy as loving one another as brothers and joining our hearts and minds to find solutions, we bring peace and not projection, we bring healing. Jesus tells us that there is absolutely nothing that this approach will not heal and correct. Instead of trying to find someone to blame, instead of blabbing to everyone else about a problem instead of addressing it with the very stakeholders, we do the right thing. We are not cowards who believe that darkness has more power than light; we stand with Christ. We do the right thing. We perform miracles.
Miracle working calls for us to step forward and take our rightful place in the Kingdom of God. We are no longer content to be a bystander. We are no longer content to sit and stuff our faces with popcorn while we entertain ourselves with crimes, car chases, and one calamity after another. When we hear the call of God in our lives, it is time to acknowledge our treasure and come to its defense. While truth never needs defense, and Jesus instructs us to stay away from the double-edged sword of defense and attack, we do defend our treasure which is the call of God in our lives. We pray lead us away from temptation in our Lord’s prayer because we do not want to be tempted to not take care of our treasure. We set aside time each day to listen to the call of God in our lives and learn all we can about Him. We do not let anything, or anybody come before our treasure for it is the very reason for our being! Our treasure and our function and our Savior are one – for our only means to Him is through our call. In our call we find our peace and in that peace we find certainty that God will never let anything hurt us, destroy us, or take away our everlasting joy, peace, and love.
While we cannot hide our past and the things that we have done in darkness, we are to deny their power to hurt us. We can gladly come forth bringing our dirty deeds, our stinky laundry, our fleshly drives and ungodly inclinations to the light of God’s love, because in our humanity this is all we have to offer. In the light of God’s love is where all mistakes are corrected. In the light of God’s love is where we find our true identity as His Son. As God’s Son we in turn offer forgiveness, communication, correction, and healing to others. This is performing miracles.
In our right minds we know that darkness cannot hide, and our mistakes cannot hurt us as long as we bring them to the light. We do not conceal our mistakes. We do not blame them on other people. We do not deny we ever did what we did and try to get other people to lie for us or gaslight others by vehement denial of our past deeds. That would be concealment not correction. When we deny the ability of error to hurt us, we can talk about our journey in darkness with truth and integrity and with no fear of exposure. Those things we did become powerful teaching tools. People are actually blessed by our testimonies and encouraged to bring their own shame and sorrow to the light of God’s love. When we deny our past actions and do not tell the truth about them, we miscreate, we project and protect ego, we walk in untruth and instead of our past mistakes being a teaching tool and put to the use of Holy Spirit, we live in fear and in hiding. We carry our past around with us and it seems to destroy our peace and stands between us and our holy function. In this state, we are under tyranny, and our mind cannot create because it is not devoted to truth.
Not until our goal is firmly established can we really devote ourselves to truth and defend our devotion to truth against our natural inclination to protect our egos, to be afraid of taking a stand for what is right, and learning to deny the power of darkness and sin in our lives. When seeking God and aligning our selves to His Will becomes our only treasure and we know that beyond a shadow of doubt and fear, then the means to God and reestablishing His Will in our minds and hearts comes naturally to us.
For years I sought God, but I also sought a lot of other things! For years I sought God but when seeking God got in the way of other more tangible things – seeking God was put on the shelf. For years I sought God, but when I realized that bringing all my dirty deeds to Him instead of sweeping them under the rug and pretending they never happened was involved, I felt too dirty and unholy and flesh-driven to ever be good enough for Him. I would just die in my flesh and be content with that, I told myself. I would ignore my heart’s cry. I would ignore His call to me and fill my life with all sorts of other things. In other words, I wasted a lot of time. I spent a lot of time, money, and effort barking up the wrong trees, establishing alliances that were based on nothing, chasing pursuits that did not satisfy. In paragraph three, Jesus urges us to choose our correct focus by determining what our treasure is and how much we treasure it. When we realize our true treasure in Him, our focus then is not divided. We are no longer ashamed of it, but we defend it by devoting our time to it, by sharing it, by living it, and encouraging others to do the same.
In paragraph four, Jesus says that the Atonement cannot be used destructively because it is not a manmade device. The Atonement is another word for love. The principle of Atonement is Love, the Atonement itself is an “act of love.” Before the separation, acts of love were simply not needed. We existed in a state of love. In a state of love, space and time do not exist. Love is all there is, one is for all and all for one. There is no competition, no greed, no jealousy, envy, or hatred. As hard as it is to imagine, such a state still exists in the core of our being, for we were made in Love and to be Love. But once the separation seemed to take place, Atonement was recon plan. It was the perfect solution because Love cannot be misused. Atonement is the best defense because unlike other defenses which when refuted or refused turn into attack, Love can only heal. Love Wills not to attack.
Atonement then is the end of our belief in time and space. Atonement is the end of separation. It is the final lesson of our sojourn in time and space. It is the final lesson of humanity. When Atonement has taught its final lesson there is no more to learn. We have been reinstated to our Sonship; we have become the eternally creative once again – our lessons in separateness, time, and space are done.
In the here and now Jesus encourages us to use our sense of time and our belief in space to our best advantage. Use our time to improve our vision, to become better at learning because this brings us in close accord with the Sonship. We are preparing our minds for perfection. Be perfect like me, Jesus says. He does not expect us to become perfect overnight. He does not cover us with His blood like some people claim and make us perfect. We become perfect. It is a process. All Jesus asks of us now while we are in the dream of humanity is to accept the concept of perfection over the concept of flesh and blood and the lowly realm in which we find ourselves. Remember who and what you really are and do not be afraid of it, He calls to us. The more we apply ourselves to this the closer in accord we become. Learning loses its meaning once we arrive and have no more to learn.
Human evolution seems to take us from one level to the next, we do not step forward without taking all the mistakes of the past right along with us – so it only seems as if we are going forward but we still have the reptilian brain so to speak. We still have the unloving impulses and drives and perversions of our most primitive forbears. We can pretty them up. We can hide them behind civility and good manners, but they are still there, and we bring all those same traits into the future. Jesus calls this returning as we go forward.
Atonement sets us free from human evolution, indeed humanity itself. We can advance without dragging our pasts with us. We bring the past to light and it is forgiven, corrected, and it no longer has any weight, it does not drag us down, it cannot hurt us or delay our progress. Atonement sets us free from our humanity and thus saves us time, but time marches on until its end and Atonement with it. And there it is at the end of time, the Bridge of Love, completed with all our acts of love, holding us as we cross into the eternal Kingdom.
Jesus stresses to us that Atonement is a total commitment. It takes our devotion. We put it first. We have determined it our treasure, our dearest and most precious gift. As long as we begrudge the time our devotion takes, the hours of study, the acts of love as a sacrifice, we have not yet come to appreciate its value. We still think that there is value in attack. We still think that there is value in fantasy. We still think that humanity has something more to offer us than the peace and calm and mildness of Spirit. We do not see Atonement, the principle of Love, as being our best defense. Our intellect and our reactive human instincts shriek at practicing the proactivity of the Golden Rule; we still believe that the two edged sword of defense and attack will protect us. We still believe that to be fair, Love should only be proffered to those we deem deserving and withheld from those we judge unworthy.
As we practice acts of love, as we follow the call of Christ, we gain enough experience and expertise to realize that Love is our only protection. We put away our weapons because we know who and what we really are – a brother and a Son. Healing and protecting instead of defaming and destroying is our natural, God-given, essential gift – our treasure – and our only real defense.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 2:II The atonement as defense. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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