“The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God. (T84-85)”
Affirmation: “The ego believes. . .mitigate the punishment of God.”
1 – Masochism
This passage seems to explain masochism. We think that if we cause pain to ourselves first, then God’s punishment of us (in which we erroneously believe) will be lessened.
2 – Insane Thinking
This is insane thinking. The ego is insane. Let us not forget this concept of A Course in Miracles.
3 – Punished Less?
We think that we will be punished less if we level the punishment on ourselves. We are trying to manipulate God, who actually does not punish at all. But we ourselves make a grievous mistake when we seek to bring down hell fire on our heads. What a waste!
4 – Arrogance
“Yet even in this it is arrogant. It attributes to God a punishing intent, and then takes this intent as its own prerogative. (T85)”
The ego is always arrogant. That is why, when we give ourselves noble intentions, the ego often tells us that WE are arrogant. We are children of God, who when we are in our Self, are not arrogant at all. God has given us a very lofty purpose—forgiveness, salvation, happiness—that we are not meeting, and therefore we feel guilty. But our sense of guilt needs to be overcome. And it certainly does not merit punishment, which is masochism.
5 – Egotistic Thinking
We in our egoistic thinking do not have to punish ourselves at all. To do so actually is the reverse of what we want, for any number of reasons, including the fact that punishing ourselves strengthens the ego. We want to let the ego wither away. In no way does God punish us. This concept of A Course in Miracles is in line with the New Testament, but opposed to the Old Testament. May we accept Jesus’s teaching in both ACIM and the New Testament, and know God as a loving and accepting God who wants only the best for us. Anything else we have unconsciously chosen, and this can be changed with the right understanding, and the right reflection upon what we are actually doing to ourselves.
6 – What Do You Want?
“The ego cannot oppose the laws of God any more than you can, but it can interpret them according to what it wants, just as you can. That is why the question, ‘What do you want?’ must be answered. You are answering it every minute and every second, and each moment of decision is a judgment that is anything but ineffectual. (T85)”
We must ask ourselves, not the ego, but our real Self, what we want in every moment which we view as a moment of choice. We get guidance, sure, but we still have the right to refuse that guidance (though that is not wise). And when we set ourselves on the right course, we take the next right action without consciously asking for advice from the Holy Spirit.
7 – The Question
“What do we want?” is an especially potent question, filled with meaning and lofty with purpose. If we want God and God alone, we are on the right track. If we want the things of this world first, we have our priorities skewed. If we want God first of all, all of the things of the world will be added according to our need and often according to our want. This is New Testament thinking that is supported also by the later ACIM. Jesus does not change his mind in that regard.
May I know that there is no need for me to punish myself for anything that I have done. I may know guilt, and this is a form of punishment. God would never punish; it is always us that are doing this.
May my ego wither away. I have prayed for this often, and so I have not accepted the truth of this promise that it can wither away. May I accept this promise now and forevermore.
May this day go smoothly for myself and all who read this prayer. May we walk in Your way, sure of our purpose and certain of Your love. Thank You for the presence of Yourself that so often I feel.