The title for chapter 24 is The Goal of Specialness. Within this chapter are the following sub-titles: Specialness as a Substitute for Love, The Treachery of Specialness, The Forgiveness of Specialness, Specialness versus Sinlessness, The Christ in You, Salvation from Fear, and The Meeting Place.
This chapter defines specialness as thinking you are better than someone else. We see this in sports, music, academics, business, where we compete against each other to stand out above everyone else. We see this in religion where we view our religion as being superior to others and then make the leap that this means we must be superior to those people who believe something else. We do this through socioeconomic status, because we live in a certain neighborhood, make more money or drive a newer car, we are better than others. We build ourselves up by putting others down. Our self- esteem is based on being special or better than others. “Specialness always makes comparisons. It is established by a lack seen in another and maintained by searching for, and keeping clear in sight, all lacks it can perceive. Against the littleness you see in him you stand as tall and stately, clean and honest, pure and unsullied, by comparison with what you see. Nor do you understand it is yourself that you diminish thus. Specialness is a lack of trust in anyone except yourself. Faith is invested in yourself alone. Everything else becomes your enemy, feared and attacked, deadly and dangerous, hated and worthy only of destruction. He who is “worse” than you must be attacked, so that your specialness can live on his defeat.”
In ACIM it teaches that while we are all unique and different from each other, we are all equal, none more special than anyone else. God’s love is for all his children equally and so we should love everyone equally without judgment or discrimination. “Your brother is your friend because his Father created him like you. There is no difference. You would oppose this course because it teaches you, you and your brother are alike.” This is a difficult teaching to live out. When people hurt us or disagree with us, we want to attack them, see them as “lower” than us because of what they did or said. The chapter states that it is only through Jesus that we have the capability to understand that we do not have to be “special” to be loved. We are loved just for who we are, children of God. “The death of specialness is not your death, but your awakening into life eternal. You but emerge from an illusion of what you are to the acceptance of yourself as God created you. His Love for God replaces all the fear you thought you saw within yourself. Christs hand holds all His brothers in Himself. He gives them vision for their sightless eyes, and sings to them of Heaven, that their ears may hear no more the sound of battle and of death. The sight of Christ is all there is to see. The song of Christ is all there is to hear. The hand of Christ is all there is to hold. There is no journey but to walk with Him. It is His Will you share His Love for you, and look upon yourself as lovingly as He conceived of you before the world began, and as He knows you still.”