ACIM Chapter 3 The Innocent Perception

The title for chapter 3 is The Innocent Perception. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Atonement without Sacrifice, Miracles as True Perception, Perception versus Knowledge, Error and the Ego, Beyond Perception, Judgment and the Authority Problem, and Creating versus the Self-Image.

There is a very interesting discussion at the beginning of this chapter about the belief we have been taught that Jesus died and sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins. Jesus states that God does not believe in retribution so it is impossible for God to hold our evil deeds against us or against Jesus. Any type of sacrifice cannot be associated with God because sacrifice implies fear which God has no part of. The Bible verses that refer to Jesus as being a sacrifice were written by people who did not understand this concept and were projecting onto God their limited cultural understanding of who God was and why Jesus died.

This book talks a lot about the ego and defines the ego as: “a wrong-minded attempt to perceive yourself as you wish to be, rather than as you are.” Your ego was made by you after the separation, it was not created by God. Through the ego you perceive that you are separated from Spirit, that you are separated from each other, that you are alone in the world. This is how men created fear, it was not created by God, God is love, there is no fear in love. Jesus states, “The mind can make the belief in separation very real and very fearful and this belief is the “devil.” It is powerful, active, destructive and clearly in opposition to God, because it literally denies His Fatherhood. Look at your life and see what the devil has made. But realize that this making will surely dissolve in the light of truth, because its foundation is a lie. Your creation by God is the only Foundation that cannot be shaken, because the light is in it.” When Jesus united his will with God’s, he could remember spirit and its real purpose. His ego was no longer in control as he had released it to Spirit.  Jesus cannot unite your will with Gods for you, but he can erase all the misperceptions from your mind if you will bring it under his guidance. This is how you release the hold your ego has on you. Due to free will, Jesus cannot choose for you but he can help you make your own right choice. The Bible verse, “Many are called but few are chosen” means all are called but few choose to listen, therefore they do not choose right.

The verse, “Judge not that ye be not judged” means that if you judge the reality of others you will be unable to avoid judging your own. Judgment is based on perception, not knowledge. How many times do you judge others based on how you perceive a situation and then later when you are given knowledge about the situation you realize how wrong your judgments were. Jesus teaches that it is judgment that causes the weariness you feel in your mind and that when you can see others and yourself without judgment you will feel peace.

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