God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
1. Today we will continue with the theme of happiness. ²This is a key idea in understanding what salvation means. ³You still believe it asks for suffering as penance for your “sins.” ⁴This is not so. ⁵Yet you must think it so while you believe that sin is real, and that God’s Son can sin.
Jesus emphasizes happiness often throughout the Course and today we see very clearly why that is. We believe we have sinned in our desire to have this human experience and therefore we should expect penance for this sin. This belief is the root cause of many of our experiences in the world. Sickness is the playing out of the sad belief in just punishment for our sin, as is poverty and loneliness, rejection and abandonment.
2. If sin is real, then punishment is just and cannot be escaped. ²Salvation thus cannot be purchased but through suffering. ³If sin is real, then happiness must be illusion, for they cannot both be true. ⁴The sinful warrant only death and pain, and it is this they ask for. ⁵For they know it waits for them, and it will seek them out and find them somewhere, sometime, in some form that evens the account they owe to God. ⁶They would escape Him in their fear. ⁷And yet He will pursue, and they can not escape.
I remember that as a Catholic, I would go to confession to relieve myself of my guilt for the many sins I imagined and I would receive a penance to appease a punishing God and so avoid hell or purgatory, depending on the degree of the sin. I suppose that in theory this was supposed to make me feel better, but I always dreaded confession. I felt embarrassment and shame and the ritual reinforced the fear of a wrathful God who only loved me if I was perfect and I knew that I would never be perfect enough for God because I kept sinning.
3. If sin is real, salvation must be pain. ²Pain is the cost of sin, and suffering can never be escaped, if sin is real. ³Salvation must be feared, for it will kill, but slowly, taking everything away before it grants the welcome boon of death to victims who are little more than bones before salvation is appeased. ⁴Its wrath is boundless, merciless, but wholly just.
Since I did sin according to the rules the Church set out, I knew there was little hope for me. As a little child, I had a deep and happy love of God, but as the years went by, I became afraid of God and even afraid to admit this fear. Most religions offer us the chance to atone through suffering here in the hope that it will be enough to appease God.
Our reward for our suffering is that we will be accepted into Heaven rather than being thrown into the fiery pits of hell for all eternity. Salvation comes at a cost of course, and anyway, who in their right mind would really want to spend eternity that close to a cruel God who spends His time counting up our sins. At least, here in the world, one can put off the punishment that is sure to come because, after all, who has not sinned?
4. Who would seek out such savage punishment? ²Who would not flee salvation, and attempt in every way he can to drown the Voice which offers it to him? ³Why would he try to listen and accept Its offering? ⁴If sin is real, its offering is death, and meted out in cruel form to match the vicious wishes in which sin is born. ⁵If sin is real, salvation has become your bitter enemy, the curse of God upon you who have crucified His Son.
This is the real reason we resist our salvation. We are afraid of God and afraid of salvation which we associate with punishment. This is why Jesus must work so hard to convince us that we want salvation, why he must strive to convince us that happiness is not a sin in itself, and that God wants us to be happy. He reiterates over and over that God loves us and that we love God. And most importantly, he explains repeatedly that there is no sin and we remain the magnificent Self that God created unaffected by anything done in the illusion.
5. You need the practice periods today. ²The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. ³Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God’s Son. ⁴There is no sin. ⁵We practice with this thought as often as we can today, because it is the basis for today’s idea.
In our confusion, we have terrorized ourselves with stories of sin and retribution. Now we must affect a shift in our thinking and so we need these practices. We have taught ourselves sin and punishment all our lives and this is reinforced every day. It makes sense that we must practice a new way of thinking if we want to awaken from this dream. There is no sin and there never has been because there is no guilt. We are loved and cherished by our Creator and we are perfectly safe.
6. God’s Will for you is perfect happiness because there is no sin, and suffering is causeless. ²Joy is just, and pain is but the sign you have misunderstood yourself. ³Fear not the Will of God. ⁴But turn to it in confidence that it will set you free from all the consequences sin has wrought in feverish imagination. ⁵Say:
⁶God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
⁷There is no sin; it has no consequence.
⁸So should you start your practice periods, and then attempt again to find the joy these thoughts will introduce into your mind.
7. Give these five minutes gladly, to remove the heavy load you lay upon yourself with the insane belief that sin is real. ²Today escape from madness. ³You are set on freedom’s road, and now today’s idea brings wings to speed you on, and hope to go still faster to the waiting goal of peace. ⁴There is no sin. ⁵Remember this today, and tell yourself as often as you can:
⁶God’s Will for me is perfect happiness.
⁷This is the truth, because there is no sin.
Let us, today, take great strides toward our salvation and the salvation of the world. This is why we are here. This is why we found A Course in Miracles in this lifetime. It is our turn to awaken from the dream of pain and death. We are learning that rather than spending our life suffering for our sins, we are meant to spend it in perfect happiness.
Rather than using the world to hide from God, we are learning to use our time here to remember who we are. As we remember who we are, we will remember that our Creator is not a monster who hates and punishes His evil children, but is a loving Father wants only our happiness as does any loving parent.