III. The Decision for Guiltlessness
1. The happy learner cannot feel guilty about learning. This is so essential to learning that it should never be forgotten. The guiltless learner learns easily because his thoughts are free. Yet this entails the recognition that guilt is interference, not Salvation, and serves no useful function at all.
2. Perhaps you are accustomed to using guiltlessness merely to offset the pain of guilt, and do not look upon it as having value in itself. You believe that guilt and guiltlessness are both of value, each representing an escape from what the other does not offer you. You do not want either alone, for without both you do not see yourself as whole and therefore happy. Yet you are whole only in your guiltlessness, and only in your guiltlessness can you be happy. There is no conflict here. To wish for guilt in any way, in any form, will lose appreciation of the value of your guiltlessness, and push it from your sight.
3. There is no compromise that you can make with guilt and escape the pain that only guiltlessness allays. Learning is living here, as creating is being in heaven. Whenever the pain of guilt seems to attract you, remember that if you yield to it, you are deciding against your happiness, and will not learn how to be happy. Say therefore, tell yourself, gently, but with the conviction born of the love of God and of His Son: “What I experience I will make manifest. If I am guiltless, I have nothing to fear. I choose to testify to my acceptance of the Atonement, not to its rejection. I would accept my guiltlessness by making it manifest and sharing it. Let me bring peace to God’s Son from his Father.”
4. Each day, each hour and minute, even each second, you are deciding between the crucifixion and the resurrection; between the ego and the Holy Spirit. The ego is the choice for guilt, the Holy Spirit the choice for guiltlessness. The power of decision is all that is yours. What you can decide between is fixed because there are no alternatives except truth and illusion. And there is no overlap between them because they are opposites which cannot be reconciled and cannot both be true. You are guilty or guiltless, bound or free, unhappy or happy.
5. The miracle teaches you that you have chosen guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is not a cause, but an effect. It is the natural result of choosing right, attesting to your happiness that comes from choosing to be free of guilt. Everyone you offer healing to returns it. Everyone you attack keeps it and cherishes it by holding it against you. Whether he does this or does it not will make no difference; you will think he does. It is impossible to offer what you do not want without this penalty. The cost of giving is receiving. Either it is a penalty from which you suffer, or the happy purchase of a treasure to hold dear.
6. No penalty is ever asked of God’s Son except by himself and of himself. Every chance given him to heal is another opportunity to replace darkness with light and fear with love. If he refuses it, he binds himself to darkness, because he did not choose to free his brother and enter light with him. By giving power to nothing, he throws away the joyous opportunity to learn that nothing has no power. And by not dispelling darkness, he became afraid of darkness and of light. The joy of learning that darkness has no power over the Son of God is the happy lesson the Holy Spirit teaches and would have you teach with Him. It is His joy to teach it, as it will be yours.
7. The way to teach this simple lesson is merely this: guiltlessness is invulnerability. Therefore, make your invulnerability manifest to everyone. Teach him that, whatever he may try to do to you, your perfect freedom from the belief that you can be harmed shows him that he is guiltless. He can do nothing that can hurt you, and by refusing to allow him to think he can, you teach him that the Atonement, which you have accepted for yourself, is also his. There is nothing to forgive. No one can hurt this son of God. His guilt is wholly without cause, and being without cause, cannot exist.
8. God is the only cause, and guilt is not of Him. Teach no one he has hurt you, for if you do, you teach yourself that what is not of God has power over you. The causeless cannot be. Do not attest to it, and do not foster belief in any mind. Remember always that mind is one, and cause is one. You will learn communication with this oneness only when you learn to deny the causeless and accept the Cause of God as yours. The power that God has given to His Son is his, and nothing else can His Son see or choose to look upon without imposing on himself the penalty of guilt, in place of all the happy teaching the Holy Spirit would gladly offer him.
9. Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you are thinking destructively, and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you because of the concept of decision that led to it. It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself or for yourself alone. No thought of God’s Son can be separate or isolated in its effects. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship, directed in and out, and influencing a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of.
10. Those who accept the Atonement are invulnerable. But those who believe they are guilty will respond to guilt, because they think it is Salvation, and will not refuse to see it and side with it. They believe that increasing guilt is self-protection. And they will fail to understand the simple fact that what they do not want must hurt them. All this arises because they do not believe that what they want is good. Yet will was given them because it is holy, and will bring them to all that they need, coming as naturally as peace that knows no limits. There is nothing their will fails to provide that offers them anything of value. Yet because they do not understand their will, the Holy Spirit quietly understands it for them, and gives them what they want without effort, strain, or the impossible burden of deciding what they want and need alone.
Jesus has instructed us that teaching and learning are one thing – we teach to learn; we learn to teach. This is not a selfish journey for we bring all with us and leave nobody behind! In section one of this part of our curriculum we learn that there are conditions we must meet to learn of truth. In section two we learn that we must be happy learners – we do not come to our devotional practice with a desire to be doing other things, with a sense of sacrifice or a sense of missing out on other more tempting offers! To have truth, our will is in accord with God’s Will – we want love, peace, and joy and all the other wonderful attributes of God in place of the tangible substitutes that the ego realm offers. We have begun to see past the wealth, privilege, and trinkets of the world to the real world which lies beyond. We now see that the physical drives that we once lived for and thought of as healthy and natural are actually bondage to a flesh body that can never be sustained for more than a brief amount of time on that which turns foul and wreaks of death. So we do not look back upon darkness and try to find light in it anymore. We are happy to be set free, we are joyful at our liberation from darkness and from lies and from the flesh realm.
Bring no sense of guilt to our learning. Never forget this, Jesus tells us. For our innocence frees our thoughts from all that would obstruct us from seeking and learning. Guilt has no part in our Salvation! Guilt interferes with our salvation, keeping us steeped in an unhelpful sense of shame and despair and unworthiness. There is absolutely no good purpose for it.
Guilt is very tricky. How many times do we come across people who believe they are extra-special guilty? They seem to cherish lewd testimonies of all they were saved from in darkness. Big bad gang members, perhaps, who now live for Jesus. Charging people money to come hear them speak about all the drugs they did, all the people they beat up, all the people they screwed over, oh how big and bad and stupid they were but now they love Jesus, and we should be so impressed and buy their books and marvel over the saving power of Christ. Do not be tempted to engage in this kind of thing for Jesus tells us not to use our guiltlessness to offset the pain of guilt! There is no value in guilt. You may have stabbed a rival in the back, you may have little tears tattooed upon your face to signify your vengeance upon your enemies – I am not to be amazed or fascinated by your seeming guilt for it has no value. It does not make your salvation any more interesting than anybody else’s. You need to lay it down for as long as you hang on to it and try to wring any value from it, you are not whole, and you cannot be happy. There is no compromise in this area. Jesus tells us very clearly that to wish for guilt in any way, to love to tell our story of darkness, to embellish how wicked and dirty and hateful we were, to think that we are winning people for Christ by repeating all the bad things we did – will devalue our guiltlessness, not enhance it. We are to let all thoughts of guilt melt away into the nothingness in which they came.
To think that you must be bad to be made good is a terrible hindrance in our understanding of salvation. We are here to learn – that is why we are living in a dream of separation, a dream of opposites and opposition to God. We are flesh bodies because holy Spirits cannot prey upon one another; we are in time because deviance and death are not part of the eternal Kingdom. We are here to learn to be whole again, to heal, to be restored.
The pain of guilt is a sorrowful, sticky, and sickly substitute for learning. It keeps us trapped in a sense of being on the outside looking in, of being extra-special bad, of being cursed, of not being happy and well-adjusted like other folks who have it so much better than us. You cannot learn your own happiness and wholeness and place in God’s Kingdom as long as you suck up to guilt or use it in any way as a means to make a living. It will make you sick and it teaches a sick gospel of unworthiness and impurity and groveling before God rather than accepting your Sonship.
Guiltlessness sets us free. We step out of all that pain and shame and sorrow. We let it go. We do not use it to impress others or to scare them or to make them feel sorry for us. Jesus tells us to reject guilt and He tells us how. In our own words we should say: “What I think about and talk about and choose to dwell upon is what I will manifest in my life. When I think of or speak of my guilt, I am keeping it alive, and I will live in fear. When I choose guiltlessness, I have nothing to fear. I am set free from the past and all the vengeance and spite related to it. I testify only to my guiltlessness for I have accepted the Atonement which leaves my past in the past and makes it no part of my present or my future. I am set free from all desire to dig about in the past and derive any sense of guilt-based pleasure, profit, or punishment. I will not think about it or talk about it or share it. For I manifest only goodness and purity. I do not bring uproar to God’s Son, I bring peace.”
Every single second of doing time we choose crucifixion or resurrection; we go with ego, or we go with Holy Spirit. Choose guilt for ourselves or others – we choose ego. We will feel it is right and natural to crucify, to punish others for their humanity, for getting it wrong. We will justify punishment over correction. We will think and share such expressions as: “I hope you rot in jail,” or “I hope you burn forever in hell.” We will cherish thoughts of and testify that we deserve this ourselves, but Jesus looked down upon our miserable-rotten-to-the-core selves and saved our unworthy asses. It does not matter how you think it or say it, you are getting it wrong because you are going with guilt, you are choosing to crucify.
Our power lies in our decision. There are no gray areas. There is no “some truth” and “some lies.” There is only truth and all else is an illusion, and the illusion cannot be reconciled with truth. There is not a little crucifixion left in the resurrection, there is not a little death in life eternal, there is no darkness in light, there is no time in eternity, there is no guilt in innocence and purity and guiltlessness.
We are accustomed to thinking of miracles as curing cancer or calming a storm or feeding multitudes with a handful of food. But Jesus tells us that a miracle is a teaching device. It is the effect of choosing guiltlessness, freedom, and joy. It is the effect of letting the grudges, spite, and fascination with the past go. The miracle is the realization of the present moment where there is no guilt, no bondage, no perceptual world where we see and do but the Kingdom of God where we have and enjoy our Beings in a state of creativity fueled by Love. When we accept the miracle for ourselves, we accept it for others. We offer the present moment to others; we hold them not accountable for their humanity for we recognize them in that moment for what they really are beyond the flesh.
Jesus tells us that the cost of giving is receiving. Therefore, we can give guilt and receive guilt in return, or we can give guiltlessness and receive the guiltlessness required for God’s Kingdom.
Recently I had an encounter with a person who had been very mean and spiteful to our aunt while she was dying. A long and complicated story, their lives together had been fraught with bitterness and regret on both sides – but still! While she was dying! It seemed unnecessarily cruel, and I have not felt the same toward him ever since. I felt perfectly justified in my feelings and attitude. I didn’t hate him. I just felt cool and indifferent toward him.
But we have been doing our devotional practices with the concept of guiltlessness. Why should I hold anybody guilty for any reason at all? I am not the judge! I do not have all the information. I can trust in God who knows our hearts and minds and offers only mercy to His Sons. It is not my job to judge but only to practice guiltlessness for when I offer it to the guy who was mean and spiteful to our dying aunt, I pay the cost of giving what I want and need for myself. It was a lovely feeling of release. I could feel it burst forth in my mind – this sense of what we are dealing with when we speak of guiltlessness.
Every day we have many opportunities to replace the dark spots on our lower minds with light and love and mercy. Why bind anybody to a decision and behaviors that they did in the past? Why refuse to give mercy and bind ourselves to the karmic cycle of the dark realm? When I free you, I am freed. When you free me, you are freed. When we do not give our power to that which means nothing, we learn that nothingness has no power. When we hold on to our judgment and condemnation, our grudges and resentments, we literally throw away an opportunity for joyous release from the cycle that goes nowhere and means nothing.
Join with me in deciding for guiltlessness for this is how we meet the conditions of being taught of Holy Spirit. For guiltlessness makes us happy and Holy Spirit requires a joyous and appreciative learner. Just as Holy Spirit loves to teach the lesson of guiltlessness, so will we.
In paragraph seven Jesus tells us how to teach this simple lesson. Accept that guiltlessness is invulnerability. We are to live beyond victimhood, persecution, hurt feelings, grudges, and resentments. This teaching really bothered me at first. We come from rough backgrounds; we have dealt with some gruff characters. We have felt the need to arm ourselves against those who would hurt us! And Jesus is telling us to go against our egotistical, flesh-loving natures and live in the world as Sons of God. When we let others know that they simply cannot hurt us, we teach them that our guiltlessness is their guiltlessness. What the Atonement has offered us is theirs. They don’t have to ask for it, they don’t have to humble themselves and get down on their hands and knees and beg God to forgive them for their sins and their great unworthiness, they don’t have to plead the blood of Jesus over themselves. They simply see that we have accepted Atonement not only for ourselves but for them as well and all thoughts of guilt and fear and wrongdoing dissipate.
While we do not use the Atonement for an excuse to live cruel and reckless lives hurting others and selfishly believing that the Atonement is a device that gets us off the hook while we plot murder and mayhem in our humanity. When we use the Atonement for an ungodly purpose, it is no longer the Atonement. In the hands of the wrongful minded who think that the Atonement is an ego plaything that justifies wrongdoing, it becomes a means to endure exactly what one has been so eager and willing to dish out upon others. No matter – Jesus tells us that we are to live in the world invulnerable to those bent upon our destruction for our guiltlessness makes us invulnerable as long as we accept it. If someone recklessly desires to ruin my life, and I offer him guiltlessness, I am protecting myself from all of his evil intentions toward me.
When I prayed and asked Holy Spirit to teach me invulnerability, Holy Spirit showed me that when I walk in guiltlessness, I draw good things to myself and that which would be out to hurt and destroy me is undone by the Atonement. Holy Spirit showed me that when weapons are formed against me and I walk in guiltlessness, the weapons disintegrate in the realm of love and peace and joy that surround those who walk in the Spirit. Do I have a big testimony to share with you about this teaching? I do not. For when we walk in guiltlessness and only offer guiltlessness, we have no idea what we are being protected from because that which is guilt and fear is turned into something innocent, pure, and holy.
When we walk with God we learn that God is the only cause. God is all there is. Guilt is not part of God, and we should never say such stupid things or believe such ridiculous concepts that teach God gets some satisfaction out of making us ashamed of ourselves or heaping guilt upon us and pretending to get His feelings hurt to make us feel sorry about who and what we are. God did not create us to be servile and humble anymore than He brought us forth to be boastful and egotistical. He brought us forth as Sons, as one with Christ’s Sonship. When we walk in fear and guilt we teach others that there is a power that comes other than God. We teach that there is an equally strong and frightening rival that can outwit and hurt God and His Son. We teach the crucifixion instead of the resurrection!
We are to free our mind of ignorance and a dimwitted approach to the things of God. Jesus stresses in this section that we are to remember always: Mind is one and Cause is one. What does this mean? We make our Mind one with the teachings of Holy Spirit who resides in our higher minds. We deny the lower mind and the ego that resides in it any place in our lives – just as we come to communicate with and know the One Cause is God, giving no place at all to the ego and the splintered causes of the ego which distract and obstruct the oneness of God and His Son.
When we deny the power that God has given us and look upon the many causes of the world, the things that the world holds up for us to lay guilt upon – our abusive parents, our neighbors, the snobs that shunned us, the friends who betrayed us, our coworkers and bosses, preachers and teachers, and ex-lovers and politicians – we impose the penalty of guilt upon ourselves in place of all the joyous teachings of the Holy Spirit. We keep ourselves bound in karmic cycles. We refuse to see beyond humanity to the real and everlasting kingdom beyond.
In paragraph nine, Jesus tells us that when we make decisions for ourselves, we think destructively. The decisions we make in this frame of mind will always be wrong. We have come to think that to make it in the world, we must be good decision makers. People have told me what wise decision makers they are without God. They think things through. They weigh out the costs and the consequences. They bring ethics into it. They do their best not to hurt people with their decisions. Thinking such thoughts will hurt us – not because we make sinful decisions, but because we did not realize that we cannot make decisions by ourselves or for ourselves alone. We cannot be separate from God or from each other. Every decision is made for the whole Sonship – it doesn’t matter if you pray and ask God to help you in your decision making or not – the decision you make influences a constellation larger than anything you ever dreamed of Jesus says. There is one mind and one Cause.
I take this to mean that when I choose to offer you guiltlessness, I am working with Holy Spirit instead of against Him. And the guiltlessness I offer you will reverberate throughout the whole Sonship and the end of time is that much closer. I will make myself invulnerable to all that is dark and gloomy. But those who think of guilt as their salvation will side with guilt. They will lay blame and shame because they believe that they protect themselves with guilt. But what they fail to get is that guilt hurts them as much as those they would inflict it upon. This extends our stint in time for we are one mind and one cause – directed in and directed out.
We will end with paragraph ten today and continue with the last nine paragraphs in the next blog post. In your personal devotional practice, take note that God’s Will is in each one of us and it is holy, and God’s Will never fails in what it wills. Each one of us will come to accept Atonement for what we do not understand, Holy Spirit understands for us. In our shattered, separated selves we have no idea who we are or what we are and what we are doing in the perceptual world. We simply cannot know what we need or want on our own. In our human state we have seemed to lose our natural ability to communicate with God in an ongoing, gracious, and fearless manner. We feel as if we have to put a ribbon on our humanity and shine ourselves up and speak in a certain tone and pretend to be much better or far worse than we really are. Perhaps we think we have to burn incense or smite ourselves or bow down and kiss the earth or turn in a certain direction. No contrived and unnatural manner is required to speak to our Nearest and Dearest, our Father, our Maker, our most loving Creator who resides in His Kingdom within us. Ask Him for guidance, work with Holy Spirit Who is One with God even as we are One with God in Christ. Let the holy Spirit within you lead the way for He lights our path with guiltlessness and gives us perfect safety as we learn to put our trust in Him.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 14 Teaching for truth. III The decision for guiltlessness 1-10. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com