A Course in Miracles Text Made Simple

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Chapter 17: Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

Section V: The Healed Relationship

Read ACIM Chapter 17, Section V (pages 362-65)

How do we know when we have healed our relationships?

In the healed relationship, you see the Son of God where you once saw a body, separate from yourself. “You will behold the beauty the Holy Spirit loves to look upon, and which He thanks the Father for.” (T-17.II.1:7) When our mind is healed by the Holy Spirit we see the truth about our brother instead of illusions of separation. We see God’s extension of Himself instead of the ego’s substitute, which reinforces that the separation really happened. We remember that nothing could happen to change God’s Son from what he eternally is and always will be. This is what we see in the holy instant. That is why Jesus tells us in this section, “The holy relationship is the expression of the holy instant in living in this world.” (1:1)

When we have forgiven the world from all we thought it was, we see past the false world of separate bodies to the real world, where all is one in Love. We remember there is only one relationship, and that is our relationship with God. We remember that Love extends eternally to all of Itself and that is all that can truly be real.

Why does Jesus say that the holy relationshiip is learned?

Jesus reminds us here that the holy relationship is learned. “The holy relationship, a major step toward the perception of the real world, is learned. It is the old, unholy relationship, transformed and seen anew. (2:1-2) This means that the holy relationship is experienced through a change of mind, which comes to us from the part of our mind that remembers the truth. “For here, the goal of the relationship is abruptly shifted to the exact opposite of what it was. This is the first result of offering the relationship to the Holy Spirit, to use for His purposes.” (2:6-7)

What happens when we ask the Holy Spirit to enter our relationships?

When we ask the Holy Spirit to enter our relationships, the goal is changed from one of reinforcing the world of separate bodies to one of reinforcing the real world of our unity in the Mind of Love. Unless we stick with the Holy Spirit’s goal, the old goal can have a way of creeping back. “The temptation of the ego becomes extremely intense with this shift in goals. For the relationship has not as yet been changed sufficiently to make its former goal completely without attraction, and its structure is ‘threatened’ by the recognition of its inappropriateness for meeting its new purpose.” (4:1-2)

Jesus encourages us to stick with the new goal, and to have faith that the Holy Spirit will be there, right in our mind, to purify the thoughts that are not in alignment with our new goal of holiness (wholeness) instead of separation. “As this change develops and is finally accomplished, it grows increasingly beneficent and joyous. But at the beginning, the situation is experienced as very precarious.” (5:3-4)

To this discomfort, uncertainty and doubt, Jesus responds: “If you believed the Holy Spirit was there to accept the relationship, why would you now not still believe that He is there to purify what He as taken under His guidance? Have faith in your brother in what but seems to be a trying time. The goal is set. And your relationship has sanity as its purpose. For now you find yourself in an insane relationship, recognized as such in the light of its goal.” (6:5-9) Once we set the holy relationship as a clear goal, we cannot but help to recognize the old goal when it tries to creep back in. This can be disconcerting, but the good news is that as we build the habit of taking every concern, every apprehension, every care to the Holy Spirit for correction, we can be assured that the Holy Spirit will replace every false idea with the healing touch of Heaven, which brings with it the awareness of the presence of God’s Love.

With relationships, how does the ego respond differently from the Holy Spirit?

In paragraphs seven through eleven Jesus shows us the difference between the way the ego responds to its relationships and the way the Holy Spirit responds so that we will clearly recognize them both for what they are when they show up in our minds. This is very helpful when we are new to this as we can get disoriented or confused while we are still attempting to hold on to the two opposing goals.

Until we are done completely with the ego’s goal, we will be tempted to blame our brother for his mistakes instead of overlook them. Jesus understands this temptation, and so he counsels us: “Have you consistently appreciated the good efforts, and overlooked mistakes? Or has your appreciation flickered and grown dim in what seemed to be the light of the mistakes? Perhaps you are now entering upon a campaign to blame him for the discomfort of the situation in which you find yourself. And by this lack of thanks and gratitude you make yourself unable to express the holy instant, and thus lose sight of it.” (11:7-10)

Why does this new way of thinking take so much faith and consistent practice?

Jesus knows that this thought reversal will take a lot of faith and consistent practice. To encourage us to stick with the purification of our minds, he tell us: “The experience of an instant, however compelling it may be, is easily forgotten if you allow time to close over it. It must be kept shining and gracious in your awareness of time, but not concealed within it. The instant remains. But where are you? To give thanks to your brother is to appreciate the holy instant, and thus enable its results to be accepted and shared. To attack your brother is not to lose the instant, but to make it powerless in its effects.” (12:1-6) In our current state of awareness, it seems so easy to let time close over our awareness of the holy instant. Jesus knows that this will happen so he reminds us that the Holy Spirit is always there to remind us of the truth again when we forget.

The Holy Spirit knows that we will be successful, even though we may stumble and fall at times. He is like our inner Comforter, who picks us up again and again and encourages us to accept His gifts. “As you begin to recognize and accept the gifts you have so freely given to your brother, you will also accept the effects of the holy instant and use them to correct all your mistakes and free you from their results. And learning this, you will have also learned how to release all the Sonship, and offer it in gladness and thanksgiving to Him Who gave you your release, and Who would extend it through you.” (15:1-2)

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Reference Keys for
A Course in Miracles Quotes

How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles

Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:

T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.

W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.

M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.

C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6

The above numbering system of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992, The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

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