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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

Section VIII. The Call for Faith

1. The substitutes for aspects of the situation are the witnesses to your lack of faith.  They demonstrate that you did not believe the situation and the problem were in the same place.  The problem was the lack of faith, and it is this you demonstrate when you remove it from its source and place it elsewhere.  As a result, you do not see the problem.  Had you not lacked faith that it could be solved, the problem would be gone.  And the situation would have been meaningful to you because the interference in the way of understanding would have been removed.  To remove the problem elsewhere is to keep it, for you remove yourself from it and make it unsolvable. 

2. There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve.  There is no shift in any aspect of the problem but will make solution impossible.  For if you shift part of the problem elsewhere the meaning of the problem must be lost, and the solution to the problem is inherent in its meaning.  Is it not possible that all your problems have been solved, but you have removed yourself from the solution?  Yet faith must be where something has been done, and where you see it done.

3. A situation is a relationship, being the joining of thoughts.  If problems are perceived, it is because the thoughts are judged to be in conflict.  But if the goal is truth, this is impossible.  Some idea of bodies must have entered, for minds cannot attack.  The thought of bodies is the sign of faithlessness, for bodies cannot solve anything.  It is their intrusion on the relationship, an error in your thoughts about the situation, which then become the justification for your lack of faith.  You will make this error but be not at all concerned with that.  The error does not matter.  Faithlessness brought to faith will never interfere with truth.  But faithlessness used against truth will always destroy faith.  If you lack faith, ask that it be restored where it was lost, and seek not to have it made up to you elsewhere, as if you had been unjustly deprived of it.

4. Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.  But remember this; the goal of holiness was set for your relationship, and not by you.  You did not set it because holiness cannot be seen except through faith, and your relationship was not holy because your faith in your brother was so limited and little.  Your faith must grow to meet the goal that has been set.  The goal’s reality will call this forth, for you will see that peace and faith will not come separately.  What situation can you be in without faith, and remain faithful to your brother?

5. Every situation in which you find yourself is but a means to meet the purpose set for your relationship.  See it as something else and you are faithless.  Use not your faithlessness.  Let it enter and look upon it calmly, but do not use it.  Faithlessness is the servant of illusion, and wholly faithful to its master.  Use it, and it will carry you straight to illusions.  Be tempted not by what it offers you.  It interferes, not with the goal, but with the value of the goal to you.  Accept not the illusion of peace it offers but look upon its offering and recognize it is illusion.

6. The goal of illusion is as closely tied to faithlessness as faith to truth.  If you lack faith in anyone to fulfill, and perfectly, his part in any situation dedicated in advance to truth, your dedication is divided.  And so you have been faithless to your brother and used your faithlessness against him.  No relationship is holy unless its holiness goes with it everywhere.  As holiness and faith go hand in hand, so must its faith go everywhere with it.  The goal’s reality will call forth and accomplish every miracle needed for its fulfillment.  Nothing too small or too enormous, too weak or too compelling, but will be gently turned to its use and purpose.  The universe will serve it gladly, as it serves the universe.  But do not interfere. 

7. The power set in you in whom the Holy Spirit’s goal has been established is so far beyond your little conception of the infinite that you have no idea how great the strength that goes with you.  And you can use this in perfect safety.  Yet for all its might, so great it reaches past the stars and to the universe that lies beyond them, your little faithlessness can make it useless, if you would use the faithlessness instead.

8. Yet think on this and learn the cause of faithlessness:  You think you hold against your brother what he has done to you.  But what you really blame him for is what you did to him.  It is not his past but yours you hold against him.  And you lack faith in him because of what you were.  Yet you are as innocent of what you were as he is.  What never was is causeless and is not there to interfere with truth.  There is no cause for faithlessness, but there is Cause for faith.  That Cause has entered any situation that shares Its purpose.  The light of truth shines from the center of the situation and touches everyone to whom the situation’s purpose calls.  It calls to everyone.  There is no situation that does not involve your whole relationship, in every aspect and complete in every part.  You can leave nothing of yourself outside it and keep the situation holy.  For it shares the purpose of your whole relationship and derives its meaning from it. 

9. Enter each situation with the faith you give your brother, or you are faithless to your own relationship.  Your faith will call the others to share your purpose, as the same purpose called forth the faith in you.  And you will see the means you once employed to lead you to illusions transformed to means for truth.  Truth calls for faith, and faith makes room for truth.  When the Holy Spirit changed the purpose of your relationship by exchanging yours for His, the goal He placed there was extended to every situation in which you enter or will ever enter.  And every situation was thus made free of the past, which would have made it purposeless.

10. You call for faith because of Him Who walks with you in every situation.  You are no longer wholly insane, nor no longer alone.  For loneliness in God must be a dream.  You whose relationship shares the Holy Spirit’s goal are set apart from loneliness because the truth has come.  Its call for faith is strong.  Use not your faithlessness against it, for it calls you to salvation and to peace.[1]

Jesus tells us that the things that happen in our relationships need to be resolved there.  We make our relationships which have the potential to be strong and good, a sacred holy haven that promotes growth and teaches perfect peace an arena for sickness, sorrow, and death.  No matter what the ego hurls into our holy relationship, it can be used for holiness when we recognize and deal with it at its source. 

The issues that arise between me and you, however, will teach us nothing if we run to others to build cases, to seek their opinions, to pour out our distress, sorrow, and irritation.  There is nobody in the world, no counselor, lawyer, older brother or older sister who can help what happens between you and me.  The only solution to our problem can be found in putting our faith in the goodness we find in each other, looking at our human quirks, failures, and bad manners with the gentle, forgiving, sympathetic eyes of Spirit and me reminding you of your holiness and you reminding me of mine. 

We remove ourselves from any hope of resolution, of healing, of holiness in our relationship when we react to one another’s mistakes with faithlessness.  If you come to my house and seem to take advantage of my hospitality, if you guzzle all my iced tea, hog the conversation, if you stretch out on my sofa, do not offer a helping hand, and expect to be waited on – I must address this with you.  Faithlessness would pretend that your behavior is not offensive.  Faithlessness would talk about you behind your back.  Faithlessness would pity you and make excuses for you.  Oh she came from a poor background; I could say to justify your terrible manners.  Oh, his mother spoiled him, never taught him anything, I could tell myself to substitute pity for the resentment and disappointment ruining what I had hoped to be a wonderful visit.  Being honest, forthright, and unafraid to expect holiness from you is me being faithful to you, for our relationship is not for gratification of our egos, but rather for the perfection of our souls and preparation for our return to the Kingdom. 

Jesus says that there is no problem in any situation that faithfulness will not solve.  It is only when we refuse to address things, when we let infractions happen and go uncorrected, when we think that we must sacrifice ourselves to others and ignore our own needs that solutions become impossible.  As long as we use ego tactics to resolves problems – such as silent treatments, cursing and swearing, blaming and shaming, talking about the situations where they did not occur – they will loom large and torment us.  When you come to my house with one of your problems and rant and rave about it to me, I have no solution because I was not involved.  To say it is not my problem is speaking truth.  The problem cannot be solved at my house.  It must be solved where it happened between the people it happened with.  The solution is there – already.    

For faithfulness is the solution and faithfulness means taking the time, making the commitment to all that is good and holy, teaching oneself and others the courage to look at things squarely and address them where and when they arise.  “Being nice” may mean to put up with bad manners, ill will, and coarseness to but being nice is not what we are called to do.  We are called to be faithful.  Being nice resolves nothing.  It leads to the destruction of our relationships rather than their healing. 

It is not just our special relationships that call for faith to bring to holiness. Every situation is a relationship for we have joined thoughts with others through our interactions – animate or inanimate.  When our new tractor stopped working properly, it seemed to be a problem and a potential source of conflict because it was new but not so new that it was no longer under warranty.  When we made our only goal for our tractor one of finding the problem and correcting it, we had no conflict with the small business that sold it to us.  We had no conflict with the manufacturers or the country of origin of our tractor.  We only wanted our tractor to work, and we trusted the kind people who sold it to us to have the same goal.  We used our faith in holiness to reach our goal.  When the issue with the tractor went on for weeks with no resolution, we specifically asked Holy Spirit to help us find the solution.  In just a matter of hours the solution came.   

In paragraph three, Jesus tells us that when the goal of any situation is truth, it is impossible to be in conflict.  Bring our egos into it and we would have been steamed!  We would have felt mighty stupid for being taken in by such crooks that would have sold us a faulty piece of machinery.  Bring egos into it and we would have demanded our money back.  In bitterness, we would have blasted the business on social media and warned others in capital letters never to buy anything from them!  We would have talked about it at breakfast, at lunch, and at dinner, thus stealing our peace. 

When we put our egos in charge of our relationships and interactions, we soon find out that egos cannot solve anything.  When I relate to you through my ego, I am relating to you in the physical.  Looking past your body and the limits your humanity puts upon you is prerequisite to faithfulness, and it is only through faith we reach holiness.    

We are going to have faithless tendencies as long as we are in the flesh.   Ego tells us that when we have a problem with someone or something, we go elsewhere to talk about it, agonize about it, plot and scheme in dishonest and unworthy ways in order not to resolve it.   Our human brain is designed for seeking but never finding.  In other words, our human brain is going to do this whether we try to stop it or not!  Our function is to bring these thoughts to holiness.  Being honest and forthright comes naturally to our Spirits, but not to our flesh.  We must work then against the flesh, we must practice being honest, we must practice addressing the issues that arise between us and correcting them, not making irresolvable problems from them.  When I pretend to have no issue with you and then talk about you behind your back, the faith, the beautiful trust, the opportunities we have for fun, for growth, for establishing a bit of heaven right here on earth is replaced by that which opposes all that.  Our relationship is ruined.  It needs major repair and healing because we put ego in charge instead of our faithfulness.   

We are to ask for faith in faith for the relationships which faithless, dishonest behavior has destroyed to be made holy.   Instead of replacing my relationship with you someone else, I am called to bring them to Holy Spirit and ask for healing.  I am not to blame you for the dissolution of what happened, and I am not to blame myself, but I am to take responsibility for this is the way I practice faithfulness.  No other will replace you in my life for I was called to love you and to be holy with you.  This concept is specific, and it is general – it applies to everyone and everything. 

We cannot make holiness happen, but we can work against it by refusing to trust in Spirit and bring the demands of the flesh into it.  When we bring the demands of the flesh into any interaction, we demean ourselves and each other.  Our faith must be practiced and because it is not magic, it must grow through time and through trial and error.  We will make mistakes and we will either give up in bitterness, shame, and fear, or we will allow holiness to transform our mistakes into practical, applicable learning experiences.  As peace comes to our relationship so our trust comes and in peace and trust we flourish.  Our relationship is no longer finite and doomed, but one which lasts forever. 

We are to deal with all things that come between us with faith that all things are working to teach us, to make us stronger, to make us more honest and truer.  When we have set our minds to holiness we can look at all things calmly.  We do not have to put our head in the sand and pretend all is well when it is not.  We are not to insist that God is going to save our marriage, bring our kids back from the dead, give our best buddy back, or restore any special relationship to what was so special about it.  We can look at what has happened and calmly and gently bring it to holiness.  Holiness takes the sting out of it.  Holiness exposes the unreality of what would come between us.  Holy Spirit lifts us above the deceit that embodies our flesh relationships so that we can see them in truth.     

When I free you of all my special feelings, assumptions, and obligations that specialness would assign to you and refuse to interfere with the work of Holy Spirit, everything you do will be seen as a means to teach you what you need to learn about illusions.  I will be called upon to practice honesty with you, but I will never be called upon to force holiness upon you, to make demands of you, to imagine a heaven in which you have no part.  I will continue to regard you in holiness.  I will not tell others of your “backslidden” condition and request special prayers for you.  I will not project my past upon you and enlist others to take sides against you.  I will simply practice honesty and trust in God for you.  My faith in the outcome of what you are has been already decided by our mutual Father.  In the flesh I may organize my life in such a way that no longer includes you, for in giving you to holiness, I give up all claim to you in the flesh.  In the stability and certainty of Spirit, I know that I can get along perfectly without you in the flesh but never in the Sonship.  And in this freedom and liberty of Spirit the universe gladly complies by using time for our mutual healing – as long as I do not interfere.   

As we align our wills with God’s Will our finite brains and our human conceptions can only begin to fathom the power and glory at our fingertips.  God’s power is not dangerous, it does not come with strings attached, it will not inflict harm upon others. The only thing that makes it useless to us, that would limit God’s power in our lives, in our relationships, in our every interaction is our faith in faithlessness.    

Paragraph eight so touched my heart and mind and I ask Holy Spirit to be able to share this insight with you in way that also touches yours.  Read over this paragraph carefully and meditate upon the fact that Christ is the Cause of faithfulness.  When we look at faithfulness we find all kinds of wonderful, beautiful ideals.  We find love, commitment, devotion, honesty, truth, joy, peace.  We find in faithfulness everything which quickens our hearts and brings the light of understanding to our mind.  Christ is the Cause of this; Sonship is the Cause of faithfulness. 

But faithlessness has no cause.  There is no Christ, there is no Sonship in faithlessness.  Faithlessness is the opposite of faithfulness, and so we find in faithlessness the most dreadful and sorrowful despair.  We find lack, we find emptiness, we find no devotion.  We find lies, unhappiness, and strife.  Where there was love, we find indifference.  Where there was devotion, we find carelessness and the cavalier.  We do not want this for ourselves and if we don’t want this for ourselves we certainly cannot give it to our brothers, for we know in Sonship that what we give to our brothers is what we offer to the Sonship, and because we cannot give faithlessness to our brothers, we remove ourselves from Christ, we remove ourselves from Sonship, we cast ourselves into a state of what we do not want.   

Called by Christ to only offer faithfulness to our brothers – in every circumstance we bring our commitment to honesty and truth, to happiness and welcome.  We are not at each other’s throats, as individuals or nations going to war upon each other, being snide, talking trash about each other – we are brothers, loving, supporting, faithful – preparing for our forever role as God’s Son. 

As we heed the call of faithfulness, our faithlessness is turned to holiness and truth becomes apparent to us.  As Holy Spirit changes the purpose of our relationships from the egotistical me and mine to the holy relationship of Sonship and Brotherhood, the meaning of our every encounter is changed to one that brings happiness.  As we look without fear at our faithless pasts, we let it teach us what illusions are and how to see through them to the freedom and liberty that lies beyond.  This practice not only frees us from the past but in turn frees every situation in which we enter or will ever enter. 

Christ walks with us; the Sonship talks with us in every avenue, on every path.  We are being healed of our madness; we are becoming reacquainted with our holiness; we recognize the Kingdom as the power and the glory of God within us and we are never alone.  At times it may feel a lonely path for the sensory body and the world for which it was made offers captivating evidence to its reality.  But the call of God is strong, and God’s Will cannot be forever denied or ignored.  Let us join together and answer the call of God in our lives today, refusing to use our lack of faith against His call.  For only in Him will we be delivered from the ongoing cycles of flesh and blood, death and despair.  Only in Him will we find truth and peace. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the holy relationship. VIII The call for faith. 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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