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ACIM – CHAPTER 24 THE GOAL OF SPECIALNESS IV. Specialness vs. Sinlessness

ACIM 24:IV Specialness vs. Sinlessness

1. Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy, feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. Whatever gentleness it offers is but deception, but its hate is real. In danger of destruction it must kill, and you are drawn to it to kill it first. And such is guilt’s attraction. Here is death enthroned as savior; crucifixion is now redemption, and salvation can only mean destruction of the world, except yourself.

2. What could the purpose of the body be but specialness? And it is this that makes it frail and helpless and its own defense. It was conceived to make you frail and helpless. The goal of separation is its curse. Yet bodies have no goal. Purpose is of the mind. And minds can change as they desire. What they are, and all their attributes, they cannot change. But what they hold as purpose can be changed, and body states must shift accordingly. Of itself the body can do nothing. See it as means to hurt, and it is hurt. See it as means to heal, and it is healed.

3. You can but hurt yourself. This has been oft repeated but is difficult to grasp as yet. To minds intent on specialness it is impossible. Yet to those who wish to heal and not attack, it is quite obvious. The purpose of attack is in the mind, and its effects are felt but where it is. Nor is the mind limited; so must it be that harmful purpose hurts the mind as one. Nothing could make less sense to specialness. Nothing could make more sense to miracles. For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing. This shift in purpose does “endanger” specialness, but only in the sense that all illusions are “threatened” by the truth. They will not stand before it. Yet what comfort has ever been in them, that you would keep the gift your Father asks from Him, and give it there instead? Given to Him, the universe is yours. Offered to them, no gifts can be returned. What you have given specialness has left you bankrupt and your treasure house barren and empty, with an open door inviting everything that would disturb your peace to enter and destroy.

4. Earlier I said consider not the means by which salvation is attained, nor how to reach it. But do consider, and consider well, whether it is your wish that you might see your brother sinless. To specialness the answer must be “no.” A sinless brother is its enemy, while sin, if it were possible, would be its friend. Your brother’s sin would justify itself and give it meaning that the truth denies. All that is real proclaims his sinlessness. All that is false proclaims his sins as real. If he is sinful, then is your reality not real, but just a dream of specialness that lasts an instant, crumbling into dust.

5. Do not defend this senseless dream, in which God is bereft of what He loves, and you remain beyond salvation. Only this is certain in this shifting world that has no meaning in reality. When peace is not with you entirely, and when you suffer pain of any kind, you have beheld some sin within your brother, and have rejoiced at what you thought was there. Your specialness seemed safe because of it, and thus you saved what you appointed to be your savior and crucified the one whom God has given you instead. So are you bound with him, for you are one. And so is specialness his “enemy,” and yours as well.[1]

In the world we often develop a cynical and untrustworthy attitude toward others.  People disappoint us, they do not live up to their promise, even our most beloved can fail to make us happy and get on our last nerve.  It is all too easy to fall into a state of self-interest and believe that it is possible to breathe, think, and perform only what seems to protect and benefit oneself.  In this state of mind, the government becomes our enemy; the people who have a different faith than ours becomes our enemy; the educational system, the highway men, the neighbors, and our own relatives have conspired against us. It is us against them!  When people are nice to us, we think that they are only cozying up to us to get something from us.  We will not fully realize and appreciate all the ways in which others have blessed us, shared with us, and helped us along the way.  Guilt is attractive to us for if we can make others guilty, then we get to be special in our own minds. For when we can downplay their contributions, refuse to understand their plight, and refuse to acknowledge our mutuality and brotherhood, we retain a false sense of specialness and entitlement.  As long as specialness is our salvation and our redemption is based upon another’s death, shame, sorrow, and humiliation, we remain bound to the body.

The body was designed to make us vulnerable, easily manipulated by food and water, drives for warmth and shelter, sex and pleasure.  The body evolved to symbolize separation from God and from each other.  Bodies in and of themselves have no goal or purpose for they are finite and do not exist without our minds and our will.  Minds on the other hand do exist and exist forever.  Minds cannot change their attributes and what they are for they were created by God and will never be changed for they were created perfect, whole, and complete – like God. 

To believe this we must consider God as a Father, not as an ego.  A Father would create only like Himself.  As Love, God would have no need to handicap His creations and make of them less than Himself.  An ego on the other hand would handicap its captives, and make them lesser than itself in order to manipulate them and take pleasure in the power that it holds over the vulnerable creation.  A Father’s goal would be for His Creations to be like Him and to extend His Likeness throughout the Universe, expanding and extending happiness: love, peace, and joy and all the goodness and goodwill forever and ever.  An ego’s goal is to embody its captives in flesh, to favor some and disfavor others, to compete for resources, to go to wars and fight battles, to live in instability and opposition.  Only that which lacks love would make a world of opposites and keep its beings in a state of vulnerability, dependence, and enslavement.    

Our minds cannot change for they are the breath of God, they are the God-within us, our holy and sinless Spirit, invulnerable forever.  But what we choose to do with our minds is up to us, the purpose we choose for our minds can either awaken us or keep us asleep in captivity to the body and the ego it serves.  Our body is nothing without our minds, it can do nothing on its own.  When we see the body as our identity, our body is then a means to cherish separation and to hurt others, therefore it is hurt.  When we see the body not as our identity, but as the means to help and to heal, it is healed. 

In paragraph three, we hear again that we can only hurt ourselves.  When we think of ourselves as bodies, we see ourselves as separate.  Hurting you may make me feel good at the time.  This  may seem well-deserved for what you did to me.  When we are intent on our personal specialness, it is impossible to understand the truth that we are not separate.  That what I wish upon you, I bring to myself.  Because our minds are inextricably linked; we are blessed and we are cursed as one. 

Miracles change the purpose of our minds from seeing danger and enemies and a shattered and scattered Creation intent upon harm to oneness and unity of Creation, to healing and restoration, to the wholeness and completeness of one in all and all in one. 

There can be no specialness in Creation.  There can be no separation.  To love one part is to love all parts and to harm one part is to harm all.  Until we accept this we dream of sin, suffering, and shame desiring to be special and separated from Creation.  We act out our lives as scenarios upon this belief, and while none of it is real in the eternal sense of the word, our suffering, torment, and anguish continue on insufferably in repetitive cycles.

We give the gift of God to one another when we choose to see one without specialness and therefore without sin.  As I give you the vision of Christ, you give me the Vision of Christ.  We behold each other in mercy, forgiveness, and mutuality.  We see beyond our humanity to the Mind of Christ within.  When I behold you, I behold Christ, and you behold me as a Son of God.  This is our gift from God, and to God when we extend it to all.

All that is real about you is your sinlessness; all that is false about you is your sin.  If your sins are real, then my reality as sinless is not real for we are one.  This business of separation and specialness cannot last for it survives on conflict, bloodshed, and death.  Nobody wants that for themselves and yet to wish it upon another is to bring it to yourself.   

Let there be no defense for this outrageous fantasy which keeps us from the Father, that keeps us from our Home.  The shifting world of opposites and opposition has no place in eternity; it is a state of hellishness, an illusion that makes what can never be seem real and ongoing, inducing dread and doom, making death acceptable and even welcome!  To behold and revel in someone else’s sin, to see ourselves as above them and not as one with them – destroys our peace and offers only suffering and pain.  Do not wonder why.  The mystery is over.  Our specialness will never be safe, for when we choose specialness, we crucify the very one whom God has given us to love, to show mercy, to accept as brother and savior.  

Our specialness can never be for it makes of us, not the Son of God, but something weird and off-center and a mere image of what could never withstand forever.

In your personal devotions today, ask Holy Spirit to illuminate the Creation of God to you.  Open your mind to the oneness and unity which brings us the whole picture of who and what we are in God.  As we identify with and welcome Holy Spirit to restore our minds to the High Mind of Sonship, we begin to grasp the illness and instability of the lower mind and the lower realm.  We must not be afraid to look at this dispassionately and with objectivity.  We are not in the world to be afraid, to cower, and to live in ignorance pleading to God for mercy and to spare us.  Nor are we in the world to gather arms and go to war with our brothers, cherishing thoughts of bloodshed and mistaking our yearning for murder and plunder as courage and goodwill.  We are here to heal the separation, to see our desire for specialness as what it is and where it leads, to identify with our holiness and to bring all the Sonship home where it belongs. 

Welcome the return of Christ in your heart and mind and in that state of return, extend it to all.  This is a very quiet and peaceful work.  We do not get into arguments.  We do not shame those who fail to understand.  We do not preach to those who cherish specialness, for those who cherish specialness have no way of recognizing the truth.  We simply bring our minds to holiness.  For when your mind is stayed on holiness and my mind is stayed on holiness, the light breaks through in all minds for we are one.    


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 24 The goal of specialness. IV Specialness vs. sinlessness. 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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