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ACIM – CHAPTER 24 THE GOAL OF SPECIALNESS I. Specialness as a Substitute for Love

1. Love is extension.  To withhold the smallest gift is not to know Love’s purpose. Love offers everything forever. Hold back but one belief, one offering, and love is gone, because you asked a substitute to take its place. And now must war, the substitute for peace, come with the one alternative that you can choose for love. Your choosing it has given it all the reality it seems to have.

2. Beliefs will never openly attack each other because conflicting outcomes are impossible. But an unrecognized belief is a decision to war in secret, where the results of conflict are kept unknown and never brought to reason, to be considered sensible or not. And many senseless outcomes have been reached, and meaningless decisions have been made and kept hidden, to become beliefs now given power to direct all subsequent decisions. Mistake you not the power of these hidden warriors to disrupt your peace. For it is at their mercy while you decide to leave it there. The secret enemies of peace, your least decision to choose attack instead of love, unrecognized and swift to challenge you to combat and to violence far more inclusive than you think, are there by your election. Do not deny their presence nor their terrible results. All that can be denied is their reality, but not their outcome.

3. All that is ever cherished as a hidden belief, to be defended though unrecognized, is faith in specialness. This takes many forms, but always clashes with the reality of God’s creation and with the grandeur that He gave His Son. What else could justify attack? For who could hate someone whose Self is his, and whom he knows? Only the special could have enemies, for they are different and not the same. And difference of any kind imposes orders of reality, and a need to judge that cannot be escaped.

4. What God created cannot be attacked, for there is nothing in the universe unlike itself. But what is different calls for judgment, and this must come from someone “better,” someone incapable of being like what he condemns, “above” it, sinless by comparison with it. And thus does specialness become a means and end at once. For specialness not only sets apart but serves as grounds from which attack on those who seem “beneath” the special one is “natural” and “just.” The special ones feel weak and frail because of differences, for what would make them special is their enemy. Yet they protect its enmity and call it “friend.” On its behalf they fight against the universe, for nothing in the world they value more.

5. Specialness is the great dictator of the wrong decisions. Here is the grand illusion of what you are and what your brother is. And here is what must make the body dear and worth preserving. Specialness must be defended.  Illusions can attack it, and they do. For what your brother must become to keep your specialness is an illusion. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat. For specialness is triumph, and its victory is his defeat and shame. How can he live, with all your sins upon him? And who must be his conqueror but you?

6. Would it be possible for you to hate your brother if you were like him? Could you attack him if you realized you journey with him, to a goal that is the same? Would you not help him reach it in every way you could, if his attainment of it were perceived as yours? You are his enemy in specialness, his friend in a shared purpose. Specialness can never share, for it depends on goals that you alone can reach. And he must never reach them, or your goal is jeopardized. Can love have meaning where the goal is triumph? And what decision can be made for this that will not hurt you?

7. Your brother is your friend because His Father created him like you. There is no difference. You have been given to your brother that love might be extended, not cut off from him. What you keep is lost to you. God gave you and your brother Himself, and to remember this is now the only purpose that you share. And so it is the only one you have. Could you attack your brother if you chose to see no specialness of any kind between you and him? Look fairly at whatever makes you give your brother only partial welcome or would let you think that you are better off apart. Is it not always your belief your specialness is limited by your relationship? Is not this the “enemy” that makes you and your brother illusions to each other?

8. The fear of God and of your brother comes from each unrecognized belief in specialness. For you demand your brother bow to it against his will. And God Himself must honor it or suffer vengeance. Every twinge of malice, or stab of hate or wish to separate arises here. For here the purpose that you and your brother share becomes obscured from both of you. You would oppose this course because it teaches you you and your brother are alike. You have no purpose that is not the same, and none your Father does not share with you.  For your relationship has been made clean of special goals. And would you now defeat the goal of holiness that Heaven gave it? What perspective can the special have that does not change with every seeming blow, each slight, or fancy judgment on themselves?

9. Those who are special must defend illusions against the truth. For what is specialness but an attack upon the Will of God? You love your brother not while it is this you would defend against him. This is what he attacks, and you protect. Here is the ground of battle which you wage against him. Here must be your enemy and not your friend. Never can there be peace among the different. He is your friend because you are the same.[1]

Holy relationships are relationships that have been consciously cleared of the goal of specialness.  I love you and you love me and we do not seek specialness of any kind.  Your gifts do not elevate you in the eyes of God nor do they give me cause to idolize you in any way.  You simply have been given gifts, even as I have been given gifts, and while our gifts may complement one another, they never make us separate or set us apart from others.  

Any hint of specialness is a defense against the truth of our oneness in Sonship.  Specialness is an attack against the Everything of God for it would take something apart from the Will of God and make of it an idol, something to draw attention to and say, but this particular bit of creation, this particular relationship, this particular person is better and has more value to me than all that is. 

When we make something special, something rare, something better than – it must be protected.  It must be held closely.  It must be jealously guarded against our worry that someone or something will come along and snatch it from us.  Therefore, there is no real love in special relationships for love is about being free and having liberty and including all things and not excluding. 

In your personal devotional practice today, ask Holy Spirit to show you the special relationships in your life and ask that they may be made holy.  Jesus is not asking us to leave our spouses, children, friends, and families.  He is not asking us to forsake our responsibilities and obligations to those we love.  He is simply asking us to take our egos out of our relationships, to stop substituting love with flattery, bargains, idolatry, popularity, numbers, ratings, and glorification of separateness and distinction over the everlasting value and beauty of Creation as a whole. 

When we expand our consciousness to take in all of Creation and see it as equally worthy, innocent, and pure we expand our minds past the little alliances, the boastful claims, and the false obligations and demands of special relationships.  We free ourselves of the need to defend for when our relationships are holy there is no need for defense – I am not here to get more stars in my crown than you are – I am here because you are here and my only way of return to God is through the love and purity and innocence we share in our hearts and minds toward each other.  My family and your family have equal worth and value for we all contribute equally to the Kingdom of God.  Just as we are not competing for the Father’s Love, nor do we compete for worldly acclaim or recognition.  All the ways in which the world would divide us through a sense of specialness are gone for we accept our mutuality as Sons of God.  And united in the Love that is God, the Kingdom is reestablished in our minds and hearts forever. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. I. Specialness as a substitute for love. 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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