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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 3: The Innocent Perception

VI.  Judgment and the Authority Problem 6-11

6.  God offers mercy.  Your words should reflect only mercy, because that is what you have received and that is what you should give.  Justice is a temporary expedient, or an attempt to teach you the meaning of mercy.  It is judgmental only because you are capable of injustice.

7.  I have spoken of different symptoms, and at that level there is almost endless variation.  There is, however, only one cause for all of them:  the authority problem.  This is “the root of all evil.”  Every symptom the ego makes involves a contradiction in terms, because the mind is split between the ego and the Holy Spirit, so that whatever the ego makes is incomplete and contradictory.  This untenable position is the result of the authority problem which because it accepts the one inconceivable thought as its premise, can produce only ideas that are inconceivable. 

8.  The issue of authority is really a question of authorship.  When you have an authority problem, it is always because you believe you are the author of yourself and project your delusion onto others.  You then perceive the situation as one in which others are literally fighting you for your authorship.  This is the fundamental error of all those who believe they have usurped the power of God.  This belief is very frightening to them, but hardly troubles God.  He is, however, eager to undo it, not to punish His children, but only because He knows that it makes them unhappy.  God’s creations are given their true Authorship, but you prefer to be anonymous when you choose to separate yourself from your Author.  Being uncertain of your true Authorship, you believe that your creation was anonymous.  This leaves you in a position where it sounds meaningful to believe that you created yourself.  The dispute over authorship has left such uncertainty in your mind that it may even doubt whether you really exist at all.

9.  Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible.  You have not usurped the power of God, but you have lost it.  Fortunately, to lose something does not mean that it has gone.  It merely means that you do not remember where it is.  Its existence does not depend on your ability to identify it, or even to place it.  It is possible to look on reality without judgment and merely know that it is there.

10.  Peace is a natural heritage of spirit.  Everyone is free to refuse to accept his inheritance, but he is not free to establish what his inheritance is.  The problem everyone must decide is the fundamental question of authorship.  All fear comes ultimately, and sometimes by way of very devious routes, from the denial of Authorship.  The offense is never to God, but only to those who deny Him.  To deny His Authorship is to deny yourself the reason for your peace, so that you see yourself only in segments.  This strange perception is the authority problem.

11.  There is no one who does not feel as if he is imprisoned in some way.  If this is the result of his own free will, he must regard his will as not free, or the circular reasoning in this position would be quite apparent.  Free will must lead to freedom.  Judgment always imprisons because it separates segments of reality by the unstable scales of desire.  Wishes are not facts. To wish is to imply that willing is not sufficient.  Yet no one in his right mind believes that what is wished for is as real as what is willed.  Instead of “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” say, “Will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” and you have said, “I know what I am, and I accept my own inheritance.”[1]

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We can apply the opening paragraph of today’s text like medicine to our words, allowing them to only reflect God’s mercy because this is what we receive; and under the law of love we receive to give!  Judgment is not part of God’s mercy no matter how much we cherish it.  Justice is only necessary in the separated kingdom for in God’s Kingdom, all is fair, all are equal, all are mutual in the Sonship of God.  In the world we made, justice exists only to teach mercy – it is has only turned judgmental in the world because only in a consciousness separate from God are we capable of the loveless response.

Our Course teaches that our perceptions are to be responded to with the miracle response – we respond to every perception with love – where there is a lack, we respond with love; where there is love, we give love.  We can understand judgment then as the malpractice of perception.  The symptoms of fear aroused by the malpractice of perception, is seemingly endless – the symptoms show up in stress-related illnesses.  Show me the person who practices judgment, and you will see a person who lacks health, happiness, and well-being, somebody who does not know peace or bring peace to every situation.  It does not matter what kind of judgment we make – we do not correct judgment by always pronouncing this one or that thing good or speak in glowing terms and think that this is correction.  Judgment is judgment.  When we think that we have the authority to pronounce good or bad, nice or mean, deserving or undeserving upon others, the subsequent result is fear and the symptoms of a multitude of maladies that affect us mentally, physically, but mostly of a spiritual nature for judgment is derived from the root of all evil – the idea that we have created ourselves and we are the author of reality.

Holy Spirit stands for truth, for reality, it is the Voice for God within each of us; the ego is the opposite. Holy Spirit speaks for Love, for Mercy, for Forgiveness.  Holy Spirit calls us to unite, to be one in the Sonship in God and the Brotherhood in Jesus.  Holy Spirit is the God in us, we can say.  Holy Spirit is the only real thing about us!  It is the part of us that is God’s Son forever loved, forever certain, forever secure.  Holy Spirit guides us to use our perceptions for miracles, for acts of love and charity and blessing.  The ego on the other hand is the usurper, the voice for fear, for doom and gloom and conversely glory and fame.  The ego is the sire of all lies, half-truths, and seduction.  The ego is our vanity, our specialness, our desire to be loved the most, to be favored, to be the big cheese.  The religious ego will tell you how important you are to God, how God has a special plan for your life, that you are called out from amongst all the others around you for special privileges, insights, and glory.  The ego on religion will try to make of you a cult leader or a cult follower.  It will lead you down a path that hurts people, causing division, chaos, and despair. When we bring our egos with us to our spiritual path, we will be tempted to collect followers, to puff ourselves up on the appreciation people give us for our spiritual understanding.  We will have visions that make of us the next Dalai Lama.  Religious or not, the ego whispers and flatters us with vanity and tells us we are special, we have a right to judge, to take the place of true authority, to step in for the missing author of reality and make an alternate to truth.

In short, Holy Spirit stands for wholeness, for healing, for correction; ego falls for all that is contradictory, incomplete, and fragmented.  The ego lifting itself up to be God insists upon the right to judge, the right to reward or punish, the right to love or hate, the right to claim ownership of that which is not of its own making. 

When there is an authority problem we will believe that we are the author of ourselves, and we will project this delusion upon others.  We will live in a state of consciousness where those on the outside of us seem to be battling us for authorship – they will seem to be labeling us, telling us who we are, what we want, and why we are here – and sometimes we will accept this propaganda, and other times we will reject it, but it will always contain an element of strife that is the result of selectivity, of judgment, of incompleteness.  When we join in this meaningless, disunifying, toxic activity we have wittingly or unwittingly put ourselves in God’s place as the author of our lives.  We will judge ourselves and our brothers only because we do not trust God to take responsibility for Creation.

In our hearts and in our minds, this ego-driven behavior wounds and wearies our tender, merciful, and kind Self.  God wills us to correct this because He knows that when we attempt to usurp His Authority instead of become one with it, we get sick, we are not happy, we make a lot of unnecessary trouble and waste a lot of time in a state of suffering instead of bliss.  The longer we engage in unholiness of this kind, the less we will respect the rights, the processes, the freedom and liberty of others and of ourselves.  We will replace knowing others and ourselves, with judging others as we judge ourselves.   I see it as putting ourselves in a tabloid state of mind.  Instead of accepting our perceptions as indicating whether to receive or give a miracle, we use our perceptions to judge, to reward or punish, to take upon ourselves the role of authority. Rather than informing, teaching, healing, and helping which comes from the miracle perception, the tabloid (or judgmental) state of mind becomes hooked on latching on to the next juicy morsel in which to proclaim its judgment. 

While this may seem to gratify our egos and provide a source of ongoing conversation that brings us attention and gives us a false sense of belonging and contribution, in paragraph nine, Jesus tells us when we give over all desire to reject the authority of God, we find that rejection is impossible.  When we look upon our brothers as we look upon ourselves, we rediscover the shared authority of God.  We never find it in judgment!  We never find it in separation, in divisiveness, in loving some and despising others.  When we judge, we do not usurp the power of God, we simply lose it.  Losing something does not mean that it is gone, it simply means we misplaced it.  When we judge, we forget God and we forget ourselves.   God never changed, His Authority and His Authorship never moved, we just forget our place when we practice judgment. 

Jesus tells us that it is possible to look upon reality without judgment and merely know that it is there.  Jesus tells us that it is possible to have a miracle perception, to see the world not through the eyes of the flesh which would arouse our mistaken passion for judgment, but through the eyes of His Love which interprets every person, every circumstance, every situation as either a call for love or an opportunity to receive it. 

Peace comes from accepting our perceptions and not judging them.  When someone is hungry, we feed him. We do not have to judge anything else about him – love does not require him to complete a form, divulge his personal information, or prove anything at all.  We do not have to stand about in groups and try to put together a case for him or a case against him.  We simply feed the guy who is hungry.  This is the way to peace. 

Peace is our inheritance, and we do not get to say what our inheritance is.  It may take us years to discover that peace is what we really want!  We mistakenly think that there is another inheritance, to be found outside the Authority and Authorship of God that will give us something better than peace.  We may enjoy standing about at work the center of the gossip arena, blathering on about every detail of another person’s life, judging their every move, acting as judge, juror, and prosecutor or switching sides and coming to a defense.  However, we can be assured that when we deny God as the Authority and Author of Reality, we will only find fear at the end of our striving, our conniving, our own judgment upon Creation.  To deny God Authority and Authorship takes nothing away from God but it does take something away from us.  For we are denied peace.  We find ourselves not whole and powerful, but fragmented, vulnerable, and fearful.  All that judgment that we dished out in heaping globs for others, sickens us and fills us with despair when it is served up to us in like measure.

Our egos have imprisoned us with a compulsion to judge.  Judgment whether positive or negative separates parts of reality by the uncertain scales of temporary likes and dislikes.  We have all experienced this – one day we will label our coworkers one way and the next day a new, entirely contradictory judgment we make.  But we can be free.  In our hearts and minds we know better.  There is no good reason to continue what is clearly malpractice for until we are free of judgment, we not only deny ourselves peace, but we deny ourselves knowing God.

Jesus tells us to align our wills with God’s Authority and God’s Authorship of Reality.  When we judge the perceptions of our flesh eyes, we are out of alignment with God’s Kingdom, we are judging against Christ and not for Him.  Jesus does not change the direction of our wills for us, but Jesus does tell us that we can stop seeking God’s Kingdom and start willing God’s Kingdom at any time!  This is how we are set free of judgment and enter into the knowledge and peace of God.  Let us will God’s Kingdom today, brothers. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 3 The innocent perception. VI Judgment and Authorship 6-11. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

For 2021 daily workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda Rebecca.

Filed under: ACIM

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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