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ACIM – CHAPTER 22 SALVATION AND THE HOLY RELATIONSHIP III Reason and the Forms of Error

1. The introduction of reason into the ego thought system is the beginning of its undoing, for reason and the ego are contradictory. Nor is it possible for them to coexist in your awareness. For reason’s goal is to make plain, and therefore obvious. You can see reason. This is not a play on words, for here is the beginning of a vision that has meaning. Vision is sense quite literally. If it is not the body’s sight, it must be understood. For it is plain, and what is obvious is not ambiguous. It can be understood. And here do reason and the ego separate, to go their separate ways.

2. The ego’s whole continuance depends on its belief you cannot learn this course. Share this belief, and reason will be unable to see your errors and make way for their correction. For reason sees through errors, telling you what you thought was real is not. Reason can see the difference between sin and mistakes, because it wants correction. Therefore, it tells you what you thought was uncorrectable can be corrected, and thus it must have been an error. The ego’s opposition to correction leads to its fixed belief in sin and disregard of errors. It looks on nothing that can be corrected. Thus does the ego damn, and reason save.

3. Reason is not salvation in itself, but it makes way for peace and brings you to a state of mind in which salvation can be given you. Sin is a block, set like a heavy gate, locked and without a key, across the road to peace. No one who looks on it without the help of reason would try to pass it. The body’s eyes behold it as solid granite, so thick it would be madness to attempt to pass it. Yet reason sees through it easily, because it is an error. The form it takes cannot conceal its emptiness from reason’s eyes.

4. Only the form of error attracts the ego. Meaning it does not recognize and does not see if it is there or not. Everything the body’s eyes can see is a mistake, an error in perception, a distorted fragment of the whole without the meaning that the whole would give. And yet mistakes, regardless of their form, can be corrected. Sin is but error in a special form the ego venerates. It would preserve all errors and make them sins. For here is its own stability, its heavy anchor in the shifting world it made; the rock on which its church is built, and where its worshippers are bound to bodies, believing the body’s freedom is their own.

5. Reason will tell you that the form of error is not what makes it a mistake. If what the form conceals is a mistake, the form cannot prevent correction. The body’s eyes see only form. They cannot see beyond what they were made to see. And they were made to look on error and not see past it. Theirs is indeed a strange perception, for they can see only illusions, unable to look beyond the granite block of sin, and stopping at the outside form of nothing. To this distorted form of vision the outside of everything, the wall that stands between you and the truth, is wholly true. Yet how can sight that stops at nothingness, as if it were a solid wall, see truly? It is held back by form, having been made to guarantee that nothing else but form will be perceived.

6. These eyes, made not to see, will never see. For the idea they represent left not its maker, and it is their maker that sees through them. What was its makers goal but not to see? For this the body’s eyes are perfect means, but not for seeing. See how the body’s eyes rest on externals and cannot go beyond. Watch how they stop at nothingness, unable to go beyond the form to meaning. Nothing so blinding as perception of form. For sight of form means understanding has been obscured.

7. Only mistakes have different forms, and so they can deceive. You can change form because it is not true. It could not be reality because it can be changed. Reason will tell you that if form is not reality, it must be an illusion, and is not there to see. And if you see it you must be mistaken, for you are seeing what cannot be real as if it were. What cannot see beyond what is not there must be distorted perception, and must perceive illusions as the truth. Could it, then, recognize the truth?

8. Let not the form of his mistakes keep you from him whose holiness is yours. Let not the vision of his holiness, the sight of which would show you your forgiveness, be kept from you by what the body’s eyes can see. Let your awareness of your brother not be blocked by your perception of his sins and of his body. What is there in him that you would attack except what you associate with his body, which you believe can sin? Beyond his errors is his holiness and your salvation. You gave him not his holiness but tried to see your sins in him to save yourself. And yet, his holiness is your forgiveness. Can you be saved by making sinful the one whose holiness is your salvation?

9. A holy relationship, however newly born, must value holiness above all else. Unholy values will produce confusion, and in awareness. In an unholy relationship, each one is valued because he seems to justify the other’s sin. Each sees within the other what impels him to sin against his will. And thus, he lays his sins upon the other, and is attracted to him to perpetuate his sins. And so it must become impossible for each to see himself as causing sin by his desire to have sin real. Yet reason sees a holy relationship as what it is; a common state of mind, where both give errors gladly to correction, that both may happily be healed as one.[1]

As we reach for the High Mind of Christ, reason compels us to bring all our special relationships to holiness.  In holy relationships the ego and the aims of the ego are undone.  We are no longer together to justify each other’s sin; we are no longer together to idolize one another or to vilify each other; we are no longer together to perpetuate and project the idea of sin and shame.  Instead, as our relationship becomes holy, we recognize Christ in one another, we accept our mutuality as Sons of God, we give up the idea of sin and punishment and bring all our mistakes to correction.  In our holy relationship, my healing is your healing and your healing is mine. 

No matter how hard I try to see you as Christ with my flesh eyes, it will never happen.  I will never get past your body.  I will never get past the things you do and the things you say.  I will never get past the way you fail me.  Your failures will loom large in my mind as long as I relate to you through my flesh senses.  If it were not for you, I could be without sin for it is the ways in which you excite me, irritate me, betray me, disrespect me, and hurt me that cause me to lose my religion. If it were not for you always taking me out to eat, I would not be so fat!  If it were not for you getting on my last nerve, I would stop smoking.  If it were not for you spending all our money, I would take better care of my appearance and not look and feel so drab. These are the ways in which ego idolizes relationships and uses them to give us opportunities for blame and shame.  For if I can find any form of mistake in you, I am off the hook.  I do not have to take responsibility for my own holiness; I will sacrifice my own holiness to you and for you and therefore sin against us both.

Flesh eyes were designed to see only the external.  That is why we get caught up in each other’s looks.  That is why we spend an inordinate amount of time on our physical appearance.  That is why we are often taken in by that which is beautiful on the outside even if it is a disaster in the making!  We can often miss the beautiful Son of God because his outward appearance fails to charm us. 

Reason is a real sense of seeing which is never beguiled, charmed, or turned off by the outward appearances of any living thing.  As we come to holiness, reason informs us of the meaninglessness of sin, attack, and threat in any form.  Devoted to holiness, we see each other as we are in Christ – and our union is one of mutuality – of healing and strength, goodness and joy.

Today in your personal devotions, contemplate the many forms of error and let reason give you the sight to see past the fear and terror, the pettiness and violence, the perpetual state of uncertainty and change that characterizes our relationships in the flesh.  Reach for the High Mind of Christ where reason will teach us of the untruth of all we perceive with our flesh eyes and help us to see the truth about our brothers.  As you read over today’s text ask Holy Spirit to illuminate each word and phrase so that its meaning will continue to instruct you throughout the coming hours of the day.  In your holy relationships, do not be coy about the need for correction.  Do not allow deceit, mockery, or disrespect for others go unaddressed for in holiness we do not use our relationships as excuses for sin, to gossip and band together against those who are “less” holy, but as a means to bring healing and restoration to all.      


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 22 Salvation and the holy relationship. III Reason and the forms of error. 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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