IV. This Need Not Be, P 5
5 When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what Atonement is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. While you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.
Earlier in the Text, Jesus said that I could entrust my ego to him, and now he is telling me to leave the “sins” of the ego to him. This is why he made the Atonement, to wipe out the sins of the ego. I’m reminded of when I was Catholic and every week I would go to confession. The idea of confession is that you tell the priest what you did wrong, he gives you a little punishment to Atone for your wrongdoing, and after it’s complete you leave knowing you are alright with God again.
The Atonement process is a little different though. I tell the Holy Spirit what it is that I think I did wrong and He tells me nothing happened and that I am still innocent. As I become open to forgiveness without blame, guilt or punishment, and as I begin to truly want to change my mind about this, it is done.
I’ll make a little confession now. I hated going to confession. Even though they were relatively minor in nature, I dreaded laying out all my sins to the priest. I hated being judged and I felt small and sinful every time. I felt so much relief at it being over that I gladly did my penance, and I did feel some relief to know that I was once again sinless. The priest always ended the session with the words, “Go and sin no more,” and I felt guilty because I knew I would sin again, and hopeless because I would never live up to that admonition. I felt like a fraud accepting my forgiveness.
That is where the Atonement is different. I am not going to the Holy Spirit with a behavior and telling Him I am sorry I did it and want to be forgiven for my sin. I am talking to Him about my behavior and asking Him to show me what it is I believe that caused me to act like that. Then I am asking Him to correct my thinking and heal my mind so that the incorrect thought will no longer inform my behavior.
The Holy Spirit offers me the healing I want. If I want the grievance more than I want to be at peace, more than I want to awaken, that desire creates a block that prevents the correction from taking place. If I don’t really want the healing yet, it waits for me until I change my mind. There is no sense of being judged and there is no penance because I was already innocent when I called on His help. The ego does sin, but I am not the ego and that is what I am ultimately learning through this healing process. That is why the Atonement doesn’t correct behavior but heals the mind that thinks it is that behavior.
The Holy Spirit is not wiping out my sins, He is wiping out the belief I could sin. I cannot accept this correction if I am attached to my grievance. As long as I still project onto the one I have a grievance against, the Holy Spirit cannot show me I am guiltless. My desire to make the other guilty holds the belief in guilt in place and keeps me from believing in the truth of innocence. As long as I feel guilty I know that I have not accepted the Atonement, but I also know that it is mine when I am ready for it.