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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 19 The Attainment of Peace

VI. A: The First Obstacle:  The Desire To Get Rid Of It

i. The Attraction of Guilt

10. The attraction of guilt produces fear of love, for love would never look on guilt at all.  It is the nature of love to look upon only the truth, for there it sees itself, with which it would unite in holy union and completion.  As love must look past fear, so must fear see love not.  For love contains the end of guilt, as surely as fear depends on it. Love is attracted only to love.  Overlooking guilt completely, it sees no fear.  Being wholly without attack, it could not be afraid.  Fear is attracted to what love sees not, and each believe that what the other looks upon does not exist.  Fear looks on guilt with just the same devotion that love looks on itself.  And each has messengers which it sends forth, and which return to it with messages written in the language in which their going forth was asked.

11. Love’s messengers are gently sent and return with messages of love and gentleness.  The messages of fear are harshly ordered to seek out guilt and cherish every scrap of evil and of sin that they can find, losing none of them on pain of death, and laying them respectfully before their lord and master.  Perception cannot obey two masters, each asking for messages of different things in different languages.  What fear would feed upon; love overlooks.  What fear demands; love cannot even see.  The fierce attraction that guilt holds for fear is wholly absent from love’s gentle perception.  What love would look upon is meaningless to fear, and quite invisible. 

12. Relationships in this world are the result of how the world is seen.  And this depends on which emotion was called on to send its messengers to look upon it and return with word of what they saw.  Fear’s messengers are trained through terror, and they tremble when their master calls on them to serve him.  For fear is merciless even to its friends.  Its messengers steal guiltily away in hungry search for guilt, for they are kept cold and starving and made very vicious by their master, who allows them to feast only upon what they return to him.  No little shred of guilt escapes their hungry eyes.  And in their savage search for sin they pounce on any living thing they see, and carry it screaming to their master, to be devoured.

13. Send not these savage messengers into the world, to feast upon it and to prey upon reality.  For they will bring you word of bones and skin and flesh.  They have been taught to seek for the corruptible, and to return with gorges filled with things decayed and rotted.  To them such things are beautiful because they seem to allay their savage pangs of hunger.  For they are frantic with the pain of fear and would avert the punishment of him who sends them forth by offering him what they hold dear.

14. The Holy Spirit has given you love’s messengers to send instead to those you trained in fear.  They are as eager to return to you what they hold dear as are the others.  If you send them forth, they will see only the blameless and the beautiful, the gentle and the kind.  They will be as careful to let no little act of charity, no tiny expression of forgiveness, no little breath of love escapes their notice.  And they will return with all the happy things they found, to share them lovingly with you.  Be not afraid of them.  They offer you salvation.  Theirs are the messages of safety, for they see the world as kind.

15. If you send forth only the messengers the Holy Spirit gives you, wanting no messages but theirs, you will see fear no more.  The world will be transformed before your sight, cleansed of all guilt and softly brushed with beauty.  The world contains no fear that you laid not upon it.  And none you cannot ask love’s messengers to remove from it and see it still.  The Holy Spirit has given you His messengers to send to your brother and return to you with what loves sees.  They have been given to replace the hungry dogs of fear you sent instead.  And they go forth to signify the end of fear.

16. Love, too, would set a feast before you, on a table covered with a spotless cloth, set in a quiet garden where no sound but singing and a softly joyous whispering is ever heard.  This is a feast that honors your holy relationship, and at which everyone is welcomed as an honored guest.  And in a holy instant grace is said by everyone together, as they join in gentleness before the table of communion.  And I will join you there, as long ago I promised and promise still.  For in your new relationship am I made welcome.  And where I am made welcome, there I am.

17.  I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me.  For I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you.  To the ego sin means death, and so atonement is achieved through murder.  Salvation is looked upon as a way by which the Son of God was killed instead of you.  Yet would I offer my body, you whom I love, knowing its littleness?  Or would I teach that bodies cannot keep up apart?  Mine was of no greater value than yours; no better means for communication of salvation, but not its Source.  No one can die for anyone, and death does not atone for sin.  But you can live to show it is not real.  The body does appear to be the symbol of sin while you believe that it can get you what you want.  While you believe that it can give you pleasure, you will also believe that it can bring you pain.  To think you could be satisfied and happy with so little is to hurt yourself, and to limit the happiness that you would have calls upon pain to fill your meager store and make your life complete.  This is completion as the ego sees it.  For guilt creeps in where happiness has been removed and substitutes for it.  Communion is another kind of completion, which goes beyond guilt, because it goes beyond the body. [1]

In our devotional text yesterday we learned that our ego bodies do not want peace.  They are designed to survive in a world of fear, of limited resources, of power, prestige, and hierarchies that welcome some but not all.  In such a world, thoughts of love put us at a great disadvantage.  For love is seen as weakness in such a world.  When you forget you identity as a soccer player and give a hand to a fallen member from the other team, your own team screams at you in a fit of rage.  You risk your livelihood every time your students fail to meet a benchmark because you spent the necessary time with your students and taught them they way kids learn rather than cramming their young brains for mandated tests.  In a world based upon fear, to show love to the stranger is to show scorn to those who protect us against strangers.

To have peace, we must have rest, calm and no worries.  And we do everything we can to get rid of peace because we are attracted to guilt. Take an afternoon off and stretch out on your hammock and you will encounter the voice in your head shaming you for ignoring all the chores that are calling your name.  It will seem like all the voices of the neighborhood watch are chiming in to shame you – how dare you lie there reading and snoozing while Richard is mowing his lawn, Juli is washing her windows, and Spike is plowing his fields?  Don’t you have anything better to do than lay about during the day and appear useless?!

We are attracted to guilt because we think guilt motivates us to get our chores done, to be good people, to avoid saying and doing all the things we really want to say and do. We are so afraid that if we go within all we are going to find is a big, lazy oaf that would swing about on the hammock every single hour of the day and do nothing of use to anyone.  Guilt keeps us from being who and what we really are.

However, Jesus tells us that guilt does keep us from knowing who and what we really are but in a most positive way possible.  For as the symbol of Sonship, Christ lifts us from the sense of isolation and separation brought about by our flesh incarnations and into the spiritual truth of our oneness.  Guilt serves absolutely no purpose for there is no guilt in oneness or in love.  There is no guilt in Sonship.  There is no guilt at all in Spirit and in truth.  To live in guilt is to live for the flesh. 

Jesus makes it very clear to us in this section that to believe that He came to the world for any other purpose than to save us from guilt and despair is to believe that His flesh was special.  That the body of Christ – his skin, his organs, his blood and so on – had special substances that would appease God for the sins of the world.  We must go beyond such littleness and accept salvation for what it really is – to be saved from the trappings of our own miscreation, our own illusions of separateness, bodies, corruption and death.  There was no better way to devise a plan of salvation then to send Christ to the world in human flesh to teach us that flesh cannot keep us apart from God or from each other, that the death of the flesh is not the end of us, that the ego’s religions that call for sin and sacrifice are not designed to save us, but to keep us spinning tales of ongoing suffering and dismay. 

Christ is not the human sacrifice for the sins of the world as many of us have been taught.  Sacrifice of any kind is simply not the way to God.  God holds nothing against us – He created us in love and for love and as we come to know this, we come to know God as Love – with no fear, no guilt, no sin, no shame, no sorrow.   

When we consciously choose to believe in God’s Love, we consciously choose to send forth thoughts, words, and deeds that are based upon God’s Love.  Holy Spirit generates the messengers of God through the high mind of Christ which is in each one of us.  It is not a matter of getting saved or getting the Holy Ghost for we are – as Christ – the Sonship of God, we are as Christ, a holy Spirit, a Being of God.  Our salvation is simply a matter of accepting this truth.  For as long as we resist our divinity, we are trapped in flesh.  We will identify with our private parts, we will identify with our skin color, we will identify with our country of origin, or our religions, or our culture.  We will find some flesh version of ourselves and do everything we can to make it special, to make it stand out, to laden it with guilt.  Christ’s message is one of accepting our true Identity, of going beyond the flesh and into the beautiful fellowship and oneness of the Kingdom where each one of us is the honored guest, the Son of God, the eternal Being of God.   

Let us no longer live without the state of grace.  When we refuse to forgive and show mercy to any part of Creation, we are holding Christ as the Sonship accountable, we are keeping ourselves outside the beautiful state of grace.  We are cherishing thoughts of guilt.  We are serving the low minded lord of fear and not the majestic and tranquil Lord of Love. 

The fallen nature within each one of us can find many seemingly good reasons to mock, scorn, and exclude one another.  The world is rife with crimes against humanity and yet a social snub can cut as deeply and as bloodily as a knife.  The perceptions of this world are based upon fear, survival, and dog-eat-dog.  They are loud, cross, and brash.  They surround us; they upset us; they keep us in a state of uproar.  To choose love’s messengers we must go higher, we must reach beyond the perceptual world and into the reality that lies beyond it.  This is not magic.  This is a conscious choice.  This is bringing our humanity to the divine place within each one of us and putting it down and meeting one another truthfully, beyond flesh. 

This is a beautiful way to live.  It is peaceful, calm, and undemanding.  It is a nap on the hammock, enjoying my rest with no guilt, no fear, no mean snide voices denying my bliss.  It is taking your relationships to a higher level where there is no guilt, hardship, demands, obligations, and accusations, but simply love, acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness.  True communion – this state of grace – where Christ is welcome, we accept our Sonship, and guilt holds our attraction no more.


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 19 The attainment of peace. IV. Obstacles to peace. A. The first obstacle: the desire to get rid of it. i.The attraction of guilt. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 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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