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ACIM – CHAPTER 22 SALVATION AND THE HOLY RELATIONSHIP Introduction

ACIM – Chapter 22 Intro

1. Take pity on yourself, so long enslaved. Rejoice whom God hath joined have come together and need no longer look on sin apart. No two can look on sin together, for they could never see it in the same place and time. Sin is a strictly individual perception, seen in the other yet believed by each to be within himself. And each one seems to make a different error, and one the other cannot understand. Brother, it is the same, made by the same, and forgiven for its maker in the same way. The holiness of your relationship forgives you and your brother, undoing the effects of what you both believed and saw. And with their going is the need for sin gone with them.

2. Who has need for sin? Only the lonely and alone, who see their brothers different from themselves. It is this difference, seen but not real, that makes the need for sin, not real but seen, seem justified. And all this would be real if sin were so. For an unholy relationship is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not. They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other. They stay until they think that there is nothing left to steal, and then move on. And so they wander through a world of strangers, unlike themselves, living with their bodies perhaps under a common roof that shelters neither; in the same room and yet a world apart.

3. A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. He sees no difference between these selves, for differences are only of the body. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take. He denies not his own reality because it is the truth. Just under Heaven does he stand, but close enough not to return to earth. For this relationship has Heaven’s Holiness. How far from Heaven can a relationship so like to Heaven be?

4. Think what a holy relationship can teach! Here is belief in differences undone. Here is the faith in differences shifted to sameness. And here is sight of differences transformed to vision. Reason now can lead you and your brother to the logical conclusion of your union. It must extend, as you extended when you and he joined. It must reach out beyond itself, as you reached out beyond the body, to let you and your brother be joined. And now the sameness that you saw extends and finally removes all sense of differences, so that the sameness that lies beneath them all becomes apparent. Here is the golden circle where you recognize the Son of God. For what is born into a holy relationship can never end.[1]

Jesus instructs us today to take joy in our holy relationships for when we join together in love, we are no longer looking at each other through the eyes of sin and guilt and shame.  We are looking at the best in each other for we are looking at the Christ in each other, the Son of God in each other.  When we fail to take our relationships to holiness it is a different story.  We may think we are colluding together in our gossipy ways, pointing out the faults and shortcomings of others with each other, gleefully poking fun or building a mean case against this one or that one, but we are also secretly judging and condemning one another in our “private” minds.  I see your faults and you see mine and what you see I cannot see and what I see you cannot see.  Jesus says that sin is a strictly individual perception which we see in the “other” but unconsciously believe to be within ourselves. 

Humans are born with a sense of being shorted, of having been demeaned and lowered into a helpless body completely vulnerable and dependent upon others.  We learn from day one how to take from others what we need to thrive and survive.  Some learn to scream and sulk; others learn to coo and charm – but whatever we do in the end to survive, to try to figure out how to get what we need, nobody else will quite see it this way.  There will be hatred, jealousy, hard feelings – that is all there is to it. Others simply will not understand us for we are designed to be strangers even in our most intimate relationships. 

No matter what we do in our separate striving to figure things out for ourselves we are going to feel ashamed of it, we are going to have a sense of sin, and we are going to build grudges against those who have seemed to get a bigger and better advantage over us.  We will believe the stories we tell ourselves about how privileged that one over there is compared to us.  We will see others with more accommodating mothers and wonder what we did to get the mean one who slapped us around, pulled our hair, and dressed us weird! We will go about with chips on our shoulders, calling anybody we see as above us snobs while making fun, sneering, or offering false charity to the ones we see below us.  Its an unbecoming picture of humanity; one in which we seldom if ever address, but Jesus wants us to look at this and recognize what salvation means and what is keeping us from it.  For until we accept our holiness and bring every relationship to holiness this false snobbery, comparison, resentment toward each other, secret judgment and condemnation results in a greater sense of separation which we cannot take to the Kingdom of God. 

Relating to others in holiness, we see that this is what being human is all about.  You are not a particularly hard person to love or to forgive nor am I. Our “sins” as humans would be unforgiveable if we were responsible for them, but reason instructs us that flesh was purposefully designed for sin, sacrifice, shame, and punishment.  Reason instructs us that we have no hope for true union in the flesh.    

When I fail to recognize this, I will always see myself as different than you.  Without reason, I will secretly despise you for the ways in which you boast, for the false image you have about yourself, for how childish you are, or how you still think you are God’s Gift to the opposite sex even now when you are old, fat, and crippled by arthritis!  When I see myself as different from you, the hard feelings I develop toward you will seem justified.  In our unholy relationship, we come together not to truly love and enjoy one another – but rather we get together to prey upon each other, to keep each other in place, to see what we can get from each other, what facts we can gather, what gossip we can glean, what sexual jollies we can enjoy, and so forth.  Jesus calls this robbing and stealing.  I was a bit taken aback by this at first, but then I realized this is how Jesus characterizes it because it is so alien to the blissful flow of love and mutuality in holy relationships. 

When we come together and you are judging my housekeeping, the weight I gained, and how I mispronounce words you are using me to make yourself feel better about what you perceive to be your own faults and shortcomings.  You are robbing me of your appreciation, acceptance, respect, and reverence as a mutual Son of God every time you find reason to despise me, to look down upon me from your little perch of superiority.  You are robbing me of an eternal relationship because one day, when you have exhausted the things about me that make you feel better about you, you will move on.  I will see you go and shrug – not care very much at all -because just as you were there to rob me of an eternal holy friendship so was I robbing you -thriving on what I could take about you to make myself feel better about me.  And it is this unconscious premise we use to get married and build families, define our friendships and relationships of every kind – wandering through a world of strangers, unlike ourselves.  Even in our most intimate relationships, we feel a world apart.  We complain, keep notes, make drama, suffer trauma, disliking and even despising each other for our glaring differences and faults. 

A holy relationship is built upon a different premise.  You look within yourself and see nothing you need; I look within and see nothing I need.  Because I see no sin in myself; I see no sin in you.  You come to me whole; I come to you whole already.  We are not there to drain each other of resources or feed upon each others’ lack of privilege.  We come together in Spirit and know each other in peace.  The body is not our concern in holy relationship for we are not concerned about differences; our focus is on our mutuality and our Sonship.  There is nothing in the physical world that we use to hang our identities.  You make little of my sporty red car nor am I much concerned that your house is far more splendid than mine.  Our reality is not fixed upon the material because it is fixed upon what is real and everlasting about each other.  I don’t drop your name in conversations with others, tell your stories, or discuss your private life because that would be denying my reality and yours! 

When we enter into holy relationship we learn of Heaven because we learn to negate our former belief in the unfair, unjust differences between us.  We no longer put our faith in those perceptions because we accept our mutuality.  We exchanged our flesh perceptions for the Vision of Christ; we see through the eyes of Sonship, where we are one.  This union that we now enjoy we cannot keep for ourselves alone.  What we made together in our holiness must be extended, it must be shared, it cannot become just another little “holy” clique where we meet and clap our hands with glee over our apparent oneness.  This would serve no purpose.  This would not be salvation.  For what we learned together must be applied to all relationships so that our mutuality which lies beneath them all becomes apparent. 

Our holy relationship teaches us to bring all relationships to holiness.  As we study this chapter, Jesus will instruct us how to do this.  As impossible as it may seem, it is not difficult.  All we have do is be willing, apply ourselves, and keep our egos out of it!  This is quiet and humble work.  We do not get our names in lights, our pictures in the paper, our good deeds splashed across social media.  One by one we bring every relationship to the golden circle of Sonship where they are reborn into a Brotherhood that never ends.  The most worthy use of our time, in Workbook lesson 153, Jesus tells us that bringing our relationships to holiness can be thought of as a game that happy children play for it was designed by One Who loves us and would replace our fascination with sin and fear with loving devotion for joy and peace.[2]  


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 22 Salvation and the holy relationship. Introduction. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

[2] A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 153 In my defenselessness my safety lies. 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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