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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

Photo credit: James Friar

VII. The Conditions of Peace

1. The holy instant is nothing more than a special case, or an extreme example, of what every situation is meant to be. The meaning that the Holy Spirit’s purpose has given it is also given to every situation. It calls forth just the same suspension of faithlessness, withheld and left unused, that faith might answer to the call of truth. The holy instant is the shining example, that clear and unequivocal demonstration of the meaning of every relationship and every situation, seen as a whole.  Faith has accepted every aspect of the situation, and faithlessness has not forced any exclusion on it. It is a situation of perfect peace, simply because you have let it be what it is.

2. This simple courtesy is all the Holy Spirit asks of you. Let truth be what it is. Do not intrude upon it, do not attack it, do not interrupt it’s coming. Let it encompass every situation and bring you peace. Not even faith is asked of you, for truth asks nothing. Let it enter, and it will call forth and secure for you the faith you need for peace. But rise you not against it, for against your opposition it cannot come.

3. Would you not want to make a holy instant of every situation?  For such is the gift of faith, freely given wherever faithlessness is laid side, unused. And then the power of the Holy Spirit’s purpose is free to use instead. This power instantly transforms all situations into one sure and continuous means for establishing His purpose and demonstrating its reality. What has been demonstrated has called for faith and has been given it. Now it becomes a fact, from which faith can no longer be withheld. The strain of refusing faith to truth is enormous and far greater than you realize. But to answer truth with faith entails no strain at all.

4. To you who have acknowledged the call of your Redeemer, the strain of not responding to His call seems to be greater than before. This is not so.  Before, the strain was there, but you attributed it to something else, believing that the “something else” produced it. This was never true. For what the “something else” produced was sorrow and depression, sickness and pain, darkness and dim imaginings of terror, cold fantasies of fear and fiery dreams of hell. And it was nothing but the intolerable strain of refusing to give faith to truth and see its evident reality.

5. Such was the crucifixion of the Son of God. His faithlessness did this to him. Think carefully before you let yourself use faithlessness against him. For he is risen, and you have accepted the cause of his awakening as yours. You have assumed your part in his redemption, and you are now fully responsible to him. Fail him not now, for it has been given you to realize what your lack of faith in him must mean to you. His Salvation is your only purpose. See only this in every situation, and it will be a means for bringing only this.

6. When you accepted truth as the goal for your relationship, you became a giver of peace as surely as your Father gave peace to you. For the goal of peace cannot be accepted apart from its conditions, and you had faith in it for no one accepts what he does not believe is real. Your purpose has not changed, and will not change, for you accepted what can never change. And nothing that it needs to be forever changeless can you now withhold from it. Your release is certain. Give as you have received. And demonstrate that you have risen far beyond any situation that could hold you back, and keep you separate from Him Whose call you answered.[1]

In our devotional practice as well as in our daily lives, the moments we give to holiness are meant to teach us that all moments, all situations, every circumstance belongs only to the call of truth.  As we practice the holy instant, as we bring our sorrows, our regrets, our sharp words, our every relationship woe to holiness in our minds, we are learning to reach out in faith and work in the invisible realm of Spirit.  I call you forth in the Spirit and smile upon you in love.  I forget all the junk that our faithlessness in truth would come to stand between us.  I lay aside all my suspicions about you.  I lay aside all my grudges and resentments as well as the mean things I said or did in retaliation for what I thought you had coming to you!  In the holy instant we stand together in love.  We represent the meaning of every relationship for we are alit with the light of happiness in our union.  No longer does faithlessness tear us apart, for we have responded in faith to the call of truth.  The holy instant in which I call you forth in Spirit to me and give you and me and what we share together to holiness is perfectly peaceful because I am letting it be what it really is – a blissful state in which I share my Being with you and you share your Being with me with love, which has no fear. 

Jesus reminds us of the courtesy that is asked of us when we come to the holy instant.  We let the trash behind!  I do not come to the holy instant with my bitterness toward you, I do not come to the holy instant with my complaints about you, I do not bring any mockery or ridicule, any superiority or inferiority.  I just come to holiness free of all that would interfere with what you really are – a Son of God.  The faithlessness that would define you by any of your human traits or your human misdeeds is put aside.  I can say that I have judged you wrongly.  While I cannot recognize you in our mutual humanity, I can in faith answer the call of truth and see you as what you really are – divine and everlasting, shining in the light of God’s Love. 

As we practice the holy instant it may seem awkward.   We may make mistakes with it.  We may not get it down perfectly.  We may be tempted to give up for it seems notional, it seems too simple and unsophisticated to be of truth.  Our humanity gets in the way for we are much more inclined to let things happen first and then try to derive meaning from it.  When we practice the holy instant we are not letting anything happen first.  We are taking a moment of time and making it holy.  We are healing what was broken and taking the true relationship into the future rather than the faithless, ongoing drama of the ego’s idea of relationships. 

When we recognize the worthiness of what the holy instant brings to us – the beautiful freedom and liberty from the garbage we collect and put upon each other, when we experience the peace that comes from putting all our anger, spite, hatred, and idolatry away and sinking into the bliss of happy brotherhood – yes, we want to make a holy instant of every situation!  And this is the aim of our practice.  There are no degrees or certification prerequisites of the holy instant, my brothers. This power is given to us in our response to truth.  While what we see in the world may be what we seem to get; what we call forth in the holy instant is the reunion of the Sonship of God, the reality of the Kingdom, the truth of who and what we really are.  And there in that instant we know it, we grasp it, we can no longer refute it without a terrible strain upon ourselves.    

There is no strain at all in our faith in truth.  We step into it.  We accept it.  We recognize it and we believe it.  We can relax into its certainty.  We do not have to defend it or argue about it or try to convince others of truth, for truth is made known to all.  It is a fact – our faith in it requires no big leap, no constant attention, no reiteration or denouncements.  It just is.  What causes the strain, what makes such work, what takes such toll upon us is our faithlessness, our refusal to believe, our cherishment of all that is trashy and tacky, and unworthy of God’s Son.     

Acknowledge your call to God or fail to acknowledge your call to God – the strain of ignoring your holiness, denying your divine purpose, pretending to faithlessness results in sadness, sickness and suffering, depression, darkness, and dim imaginings of terror, cold fantasies of fear, and hellish dreams.  When I read this today in my personal devotions I was reminded of most of the Netflix and Amazon Prime listings for movies to rent!  Few of the offerings give rise to loving, holy relationships, to the attractiveness of purity, goodness, and bliss. 

Jesus tells us in paragraph five that such was the crucifixion of God’s Son.  It was faithlessness that crucified Jesus just as it is faithlessness that crucifies the Sonship in us.  We are to think carefully before using faithlessness against Sonship.  There are times, public commitment to Christ and His Vision or not, that I deny the truth.  I judge others by their humanity.  I fail to see God’s Son in you; I fail to demonstrate God’s Son in me.  Instead of practicing the holy instant, I start to fret about my past, I let shame and sorrow bring me low, I build cases against those I am called to love.  And yet through every doubt, fear, and denial of what I know is true, there is the truth unchanged by my uncertainty.  There is Redemption, the only purpose in time, the only purpose of time.  

When I see and you see every situation as a means of bringing healing and restoring unity, we use these holy instants as a means to bring redemption to the Sonship.  When we can step out of our emotional responses, when we can get past our need to defend and attack, when we can move away from our need to be special, to make idols of our relationships, we can bring healing.  It is stressful to always be on guard against others; it causes a terrible strain upon us to be suspicious and unforgiving; we hurt ourselves by insisting upon hatred and calling forth hell.  I cannot know you and you cannot know me as long as faithlessness comes between us.  When we put down our weapons, when we concede that our perceptions of one another are wrong, when we use the holy instant to bring devotion and love to others, we step out of faithlessness, we are restored to truth.  We know each other truly only in the oneness and unity of Love.  When we stop crucifying one another, we start appreciating one another, and when that happens, we meet the conditions of forever.   

In your devotional practice, spend some time meditating upon paragraph six, asking Holy Spirit to enlighten your mind and give you personal application in your relationships.  As I read this paragraph I realized that when I asked Holy Spirit to heal my relationships, I was asking for truth.  Without truth we cannot have healed relationships for special relationships are untruthful.  They are centered around me and you at the exclusion of others.  I will put my demands upon you, and you will put your demands upon me and while we may do our best to fulfill each other’s demands, we will deny each other our true and holy Selves.  The special relationship then ends in bitterness, regrets, and demise. 

When we ask truth to be the goal of our relationship, we become a giver of peace for truth is the giver of peace. The warring, strifeful, spiteful nature of special relationships is replaced by a sense of wonder and appreciation for the other as they were created.  No idolatry, no illusions of grandeur, no expectations and demands of the flesh are inflicted upon it.  When we ask for truth, we ask for what can never change.  Everything about you in the flesh will change just as it will for me.  But our true Identity in God will never change, and the truth about us is what brings peace to us, in brings certainty, it brings knowing.  And once that happens between us, we keep on loving, we keep on Being, for we are happy and happiness, being God’s Will never dies, fades, or leaves us deprived.   This is our release from faithlessness, from the meager offerings of the world, from all that would make us fear God and be suspicious of each other.  Jesus asks us to demonstrate this, and He tells us how.  We practice the holy instant until every instance is holy. 

This is the purpose of time.


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship VII The Conditions of Peace. 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

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

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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