The title for chapter 16 is The Forgiveness of Illusions. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Empathy, The Power of Holiness, The Reward of Teaching, The Illusion of the Reality of Love, The Choice for Completion, The Bridge to the Real World, and The End of Illusions.
Throughout this book, there are two types of relationships that are contrasted against each other. The Holy Relationship and The Special Relationship. The basic difference as I have been able to understand it is that a holy relationship is a relationship with another person that is based in love rather than fear and is the type of relationship we are to pursue. The special relationship is what most of us have where we tend to use people to fill a perceived need in us and the relationship is based more on fear, but we live with the illusion that this is love. This chapter defines an illusion as a “belief in what is not there.”
ACIM teaches that on the earth, love is perceived as separation and exclusion. We are born with this ache in our heart to be reconnected with our creator God. However, most of us do not identify it as this and think if we can just find the right person to have a relationship with, they will be able to fill this ache and it will go away and we can feel happy and whole as a person. We are afraid to pursue an intimate relationship with God because we have been taught to fear God so we look to humans to fulfil this need in us. But what usually happens is we “sacrifice” or give away a part of who we are to gain love and acceptance by another. We separate from our true self. We deny our true power. We often give to get something from the other person. We live in fear that the other person will reject us in some way. We exclude relationships with other people believing that this one “special” relationship will satisfy us. We use this special relationship to re-enact the past. “Imagined slights, remembered pain, past disappointments, perceived injustices and deprivations all enter into the special relationship, which becomes a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem. What basis would you have for choosing a special partner without the past? Every such choice is made because of something “evil” in the past to which you cling, and for which must someone else atone.”
In the holy relationship love is “wholly without illusion, and therefore wholly without fear.” You become whole and complete as you connect to God. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Love increases within the relationship and extends out to bless others. You allow each other to become your true authentic selves and do not feel jealous or threatened by this. You understand that the past is gone, there is no reason to re-enact it with another person, your relationship is based in the present moment. Thus, one of the keys for having a holy relationship is the ability to completely forgive another person.
“Seek and find His message in the holy instant, where all illusions are forgiven. From there the miracle extends to bless everyone and to resolve all problems, be they perceived as great or small, possible or impossible. To join in close relationship with Him is to accept relationships as real, and through their reality to give over all illusions for the reality of your relationship with God. The truth lies there and nowhere else.” ACIM