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ACIM – CHAPTER 23 THE WAR AGAINST YOURSELF Introduction

1. Do you not see the opposite of frailty and weakness is sinlessness? Innocence is strength, and nothing else is strong. The sinless cannot fear, for sin of any kind is weakness. The show of strength attack would use to cover frailty conceals it not, for how can the unreal be hidden? No one is strong who has an enemy, and no one can attack unless he thinks he has. Belief in enemies is therefore the belief in weakness, and what is weak is not the Will of God. Being opposed to it, it is God’s “enemy.” And God is feared as an opposing will.

2. How strange indeed becomes this war against yourself! You will believe that everything you use for sin can hurt you and become your enemy. And you will fight against it and try to weaken it because of this; and you will think that you succeeded, and attack again. It is as certain you will fear what you attack as it is sure that you will love what you perceive as sinless. He walks in peace who travels sinlessly along the way love shows him. For love walks with him there, protecting him from fear. And he will see only the sinless, who cannot attack.

3. Walk you in glory, with your head held high, and fear no evil. The innocent are safe because they share their innocence. Nothing they see is harmful, for their awareness of the truth releases everything from the illusion of harmfulness. And what seemed harmful now stands shining in their innocence, released from sin and fear and happily returned to love. They share the strength of love because they looked on innocence. and every error disappeared because they saw it not. Who looks for glory finds it where it is. Where could it be but in the innocent?

4. Let not the little interferers pull you to littleness. There can be no attraction of guilt in innocence. Think what a happy world you walk, with truth beside you! Do not give up this world of freedom for a little sigh of seeming sin, nor for a tiny stirring of guilt’s attraction. Would you, for all these meaningless distractions, lay Heaven aside? Your destiny and purpose are far beyond them, in the clean place where littleness does not exist. Your purpose is at variance with littleness of any kind. And so, it is at variance with sin.

5. Let us not let littleness lead God’s Son into temptation. His glory is beyond it, measureless and timeless as eternity. Do not let time intrude upon your sight of him. Leave him not frightened and alone in his temptation but help him rise above it and perceive the light of which he is a part. Your innocence will light the way to his, and so is yours protected and kept in your awareness. For who can know his glory, and perceive the little and the weak about him? Who can walk trembling in a fearful world, and realize that Heaven’s glory shines on him?

6. Nothing around you but is part of you. Look on it lovingly and see the light of heaven in it. So will you come to understand all that is given you. In kind forgiveness will the world sparkle and shine, and everything you once thought sinful now will be reinterpreted as part of Heaven. How beautiful it is to walk, clean and redeemed and happy, through a world in bitter need of the redemption that your innocence bestows upon it! What can you value more than this? For here is your salvation and your freedom. And it must be complete if you would recognize it.[1]

Today in your devotional practice, contemplate the meaning of “innocence is strength and nothing else is strong.”  What do you consider sin and who do you consider sinful?  If in our weakness, we are afraid and rise to defend ourselves against those who are stronger and meaner and smarter than we are, is our defense a show of strength or a tell of weakness?  If I walk through the world with no fear does this prove my integrity and ultimate faith in God or reveal my ignorance?  If I have no enemies, would I have any cause for attack?  Is God’s Will for me and for you, for all of humanity to be weak so He can be the big strong one on which we depend or is God’s Will for us to be like Him?  When we are not like God, in other words, when we do not accept our Sonship and instead cling to our puny, vulnerable, volatile humanity, are we opposed to Him, making of God an enemy?  And why should we fear God if God is for us and not against us, if God’s Will is for us to be like Him, loving, joyful, peaceful – forever as His Son? 

These are the questions that I asked myself as I studied this text yesterday and this morning.  In paragraph two Jesus asks us to reflect upon the war we have against ourselves.  We attack that which we think of as sinful.  What do we attack?  Someone comes in our house to rob and steal from us – we want to attack them no less than we want to attack someone who makes fun of our family members, disrespects our country’s flag, or disrupts our sleep and quiet time.  Seldom are we compelled to attack those who have not sinned against us or someone we know or public safety in general.  We rant and rail about the same things over and over, proving our point, driving it home, making sure we have left no stone unturned!  And yet what we perceive as sinless – we love. 

There is no greater joy than to welcome someone into your home who is appreciative, trustworthy, and respectful.  How we love those whom we can trust not to gossip about us behind our backs, who are truly happy at our advance, who show up with something to share rather than an intent to take advantage!  We love those who tell us how great our kids are, who congratulate us on our choice of mate, who do not poke fun and sneer at our efforts to advance.  And how appreciative we are of those who allow us to rest, respect our need for privacy and quiet, and do not interrupt our creative flow.  We will perceive such people as saints, not sinners.  We will think of them as angels, even, perhaps.  When we speak of them, we will speak of them with appreciation and warmth. 

We walk in peace when we practice holiness.  Holiness is purity, it is the way of love, it is the call to address every sin against us, all that would cause us to rant and rail, to attack and condemn with honesty, understanding, with the goal to correct and heal.  This is the way love teaches us to be.  When we have fully committed ourselves to Sonship, love is with us always, protecting us from going into attack, protecting us from fearing one another, we will only look upon each other with mercy, with the deep and abiding understanding of our mutual need for help and healing.  You will teach me what I need to learn from you, and I will teach you and we will both learn together, in love and in support of one another.  Instead of attacking me for my ignorance, you will obliterate it by informing me of what I am ignorant of; instead of talking about you behind your back and complaining about your bad manners, I will address all the problems I have with you with the ultimate desire to see you shine with Christ.

When we have this mindset; when we adopt the universal acceptance of our common state of innocence and sinlessness, we do not see sinners, and we could never attack anyone for anything at all.  Instead of looking for and making enemies, we recognize our Brotherhood in Christ, our Sonship.  I no longer represent something you fear; for you know me now as I truly am – even as you know yourself. 

We are not to walk about with drooping shoulders and heads bowed low.  We are to fear no evil, for when we see ourselves as innocent of all that the ego would lay upon us, we share our innocence with all.  We lift the veil of sin.  We are no longer tempted to believe the illusion of harmfulness and danger at every turn.  Those who appeared so harmful now stand shining in their innocence, Jesus tells us in paragraph three – released from the insanity of sin and fear and happily returned to love!  This is what happens to us when we refuse to see an enemy. We do not go about looking for sin, glued to the media outlets and believing in the lies and violence toward one another.  We see past that to the cry for love, the yearning in which we all have for peace and safety, for equality and mutuality, in other words for Sonship.  We look for glory in each other and we report on that.  And where glory seems lacking, we help and heal even as we are helped and healed when we fail to recognize our own glory.  This is the way we learn of our mutuality, the loving Sonship of God, the sense of Brotherhood we share with Christ.  We see no sinners; we see only the innocent who have gone astray. 

In paragraph four, we are taught to avoid being small-minded and let the little irritations and distractions of the world bring us low.  We walk in a happy world with truth beside us.  We can laugh instead of sigh over the capricious nature of the illusion.  Our faith and trust is not in the world, we do not have to let it get us down, we do not have to make anybody guilty, we do not have to live ashamed of our past mistakes even if they just happened a moment ago!  Each passing moment in time releases us from the previous one.  Let not one thing stir us to attack ourselves or each other by practicing the holy instant, where we learn to live clean and high and above and beyond all that the world would make of us.  We are not here to engage in or be disturbed by the filth of humanity.  We see terrible things when we look upon the world through the eyes of flesh.  The suffering and shame of the low-, small-, and narrow-minded does not exist in the reality of God’s Kingdom, and our destiny and our purpose are far beyond the madhouse of this realm. In the High Mind of Christ, we live in cleanliness and purity encompassing the universe.  Our minds are free of the mad projection, free of the ongoing, repetitive cycles of birth, enslavement, suffering, and death.  We understand that no matter how full our tummies may be, no matter how safe our fortress, or how high up on the socio-economical scale we may be, we can never be happy in a realm where our brothers starve, where blood and sweat are necessitated, where screams of terror drown out the songs of joy.  Our purpose is at variance with all of it, with low-mindedness of any kind.  Our purpose then is at variance with any idea or thought of sin, for sin would keep us in shame and sorrow where there is no sacrifice sweet enough to make an illusion real. 

Do not be led about by the nose by any of it.  Do not get caught up in it.  Do not think that you can fix the world for it is a projection of what would be if there could be another reality outside of God’s Kingdom.  Our glory is not in this realm, nor will it ever be.  Do not let anything in time intrude upon our sight of Sonship, for we are not here to engage in the projection of sin, but to rise above it and bring our brothers with us.  This is what makes us shine and gives our lives in this realm meaning and purpose.  It does not matter how content you are in the world; it does not matter how you have found peace in your daily routine, your family and friends circle, your weekly bible study, your lap cat, and nightly Sudoku puzzle.  All of these things are sweet and comforting and give us a taste of our eternal peace and love and joy.  We should never scorn or disregard our blessedness, no matter what state we find ourselves in.  However, it is our love for one another that saves us; it is our sense of Brotherhood that defines us; it is our freedom from the tales from the dark side that offers Atonement and redemption and returns our Minds to truth which has no opposite or opposition. 

Everything around us is part of us and so we look on everything with love and see the light of Heaven in it.  We cannot see the light of Heaven with our flesh eyes. Flesh eyes were designed to see the filth and decay, the meanness and violence, the projection of the mad mind that fosters hordes of insane notions opposing That Which has no opposition. 

When we see the world through the eyes of oneness, appreciation, kindness and forgiveness, all will sparkle and shine.  No longer will we perceive sin and shame; no longer will we be slaves to the flesh; no longer will the history of wars, disasters, and political demonstrations tempt us to give up our peace.  For our joined minds see past the illusion of separateness to the unity of Heaven.  We are no longer at war with ourselves for to attack you is to attack myself and now I am clean, as you are clean; now I am redeemed as you are redeemed; and we are so happy in our innocence and purity toward one another and the world at large.

This is our salvation and our freedom in Christ, in Brotherhood, in Sonship.  And it must be for all for only in wholeness will we  recognize our Brotherhood, Sonship, and the Love of God, Father to us all.


[1]A Course in Miracles. Chapter 23 The war against yourself. Introduction. 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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