Do I Still Value Guilt?

This essay is about how we try to make guilt real.

It is not will for life but wish for death that is the motivation for this world. Its only purpose is to prove guilt real. No worldly thought or act or feeling has a motivation other than this one. (A Course in Miracles: Complete and Annotated Edition)

If my purpose is to prove that guilt is real, then I have become part of this world’s system. How do I prove guilt is real? I suffer. And if I suffer, then there must be someone who is guilty for causing me to suffer. If it’s not me, then it must be my “brother.” If I am sick, then I can accuse someone or something outside of me of being guilty and worthy of condemnation. If I am whole and healthy, on the other hand, then no one can be blamed or found guilty by me.

When I consciously or subconsciously believe that I am guilty, I seek to remove my guilt and buy my innocence by seeing someone else as guiltier than me. So I become sick and accuse my brother of attacking me. If I heal, however, then I am proof that my brother is innocent. What do I want to prove? Do I want to prove that guilt is real or that my brother is innocent? Do I want to suffer or be healed? These are the same questions in different forms.

If sin were real, it could not be undone, nor its effects be remedied. On the other hand, if sin is not real—if it is only a mistake that can be corrected—then my decision to heal is my decision to see no sin or guilt in anyone. The question is this: Do I still value guilt? If I do, then I will seek a situation in which I can prove that it is real. But if I value innocence, and the peace of mind that it brings, then I will let myself be healed so that I am not a witness to my brother’s sin and guilt. Forgiveness is the realization that sins are merely mistakes, and that I can overlook mistakes and see the innocence that has always existed within my brother.

If I choose to forgive and heal, then I may still be in the world, but no longer of the world. For I will no longer value guilt in my brother as a way to decrease my own feelings of guilt. After all, does my guilty brother really prove that I am innocent? Can his guilt buy my innocence? In the end, after forgiveness is complete, we will no longer value guilt and we will see that our game of sin was an illusion that kept us from seeing our eternal innocence, an innocence without which we could never find true peace.

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