The title for chapter 22 is Salvation and the Holy Relationship. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: The Message of the Holy Relationship, Your Brothers Sinlessness, Reason and the Forms of Error, The Branching of the Road, Weakness and Defensiveness, and The Light of the Holy Relationship.
This chapter revisits relationships. “For an unholy relationship is based on differences, where each one thinks the other has what he has not. They come together, each to complete himself and rob the other.” So many people are raised to believe that there is something wrong with them, that they’re not worthy of love. They feel the emptiness inside and look to people rather than God to fill this. The relationship becomes about what I can take from the other to feel better about me or making bargains with each other, I will do this for you if you will do that for me. It is these kinds of unspoken obligations that can destroy relationships. “A holy relationship starts from a different premise. Each one has looked within and seen no lack. Accepting his completion, he would extend it by joining with another, whole as himself. Therefore, he looks on nothing he would take.” It is very difficult for us to understand that in God we are complete and we do not need other people to complete us. The illusion we live with is that there is something wrong with us and this is often confirmed by those around us in their words and behaviors toward us. However, from God’s eternal perspective, the truth is that we are perfect. He accepts us just as we are. Therefore, a relationship is not based on obligations but on the fact that you happen to enjoy being with one another, respect and appreciate each other.
The chapter talks about how we continue to go back and forth between living for ego/hell/illusions and living for Spirit/heaven/Truth and how we live in the illusion that it is possible to do this. Reason would state that either you are living for ego or you are living for spirit but you cannot live for both at the same time. This reminds me of the words of Jesus that we are to be hot or cold, not lukewarm. “Either you give each other life or death, either you are each other’s savior or judge, offering him sanctuary or condemnation. For it is wholly true or wholly false, and cannot be but partially believed. Reason will tell you that there is no middle ground where you even pause uncertainly, waiting to choose between the joy of Heaven and the misery of hell. Until you choose Heaven, you are in hell and misery. There is no part of Heaven you can take and weave into illusions. Nor is there one illusion you can enter Heaven with.” When we choose the holy relationship with God and others, we have made our decision to be led by Spirit, to allow ourselves to discern that the beliefs we have called truth are really illusions. The illusion is that we humans believe we can understand who God is by applying human characteristics to God. We make God into our own image. Meanwhile, God is trying to show us who he/she really is but because this does not line up with our preconceived beliefs, we deny this Truth. God tells us we are all one and connected to him and we see ourselves as separate from each other and from God. God tells us we are wonderful, perfect, magnificent creations and we tell ourselves we are sinners, unworthy, victims of life. God tells us we are love and we believe we are fearful. “How does one overcome illusions? Surely not by force or anger, nor by opposing them in any way. Merely by letting reason tell you that they contradict reality. They go against what must be true. For reason sees through errors, telling you what you thought was real is not. Only illusions need defense because of weakness. What merely is needs no defense, and offers none. Consider what the ego wants defenses for. Always to justify what goes against the truth, flies in the face of reason and makes no sense.” I found this interesting because in Christianity we have created apologetics which teaches us how to defend our faith against those who oppose it. If what God is saying is true, that Truth needs no defense, then either we do not have the truth since we feel such a strong need to defend it, or we do have the truth and need to quit trying to defend it.
“To all who share the Love of God the grace is given to be the givers of what they have received. Those who would let illusions be lifted from their mind are the worlds saviors, walking the world with their Redeemer, and carrying His message of hope and freedom and release from suffering to everyone who needs a miracle to save him.”