“Innocence…is the truth about me” (1:4). I don’t really believe that. I want to believe it, and I may say I believe it, but if I really believed it I don’t think I’d still be here. At the least I would not be seeing the world the way I do, because the way I see the world derives completely from the way I see myself. “I can picture only the thoughts I hold about myself” (1:5). So if I really believed that innocence is the truth about me, all I would see, everywhere, is innocence. Holiness.
This is why accepting the Atonement for myself saves the world. If I can accept my own innocence, all I will see is innocence. We often allow confusion to come into our minds about who forgives whom first. Do I forgive others, and then see my own innocence? Or do I forgive myself, thus allowing me to see others as innocent? The answer to both questions is “Yes.”
How can both questions be answered “Yes?” Because “myself” and “others” are not really two; we are one. The sin I see in others is always my own, projected from my mind (see T-31.III.1:5). When I forgive “others” I really am forgiving my own sins. Any act of forgiveness, whether directed outward or inward, results in everyone being forgiven.
Thus, when I perceive my own holiness, I have blessed the entire world. The holiness I see in myself, when I see it, is something shared by everyone. As my own innocence arises in my mind, the holiness of the entire world shines forth simultaneously.
Innocence, or holiness, is a central theme of the Course. “Each one has a special part to play in the Atonement, but the message given to each to share is always the same: God’s Son is guiltless” (T-14.VII.1:1). “But the content of the [universal] course never changes [whatever its form]. Its central theme is always ‘God’s Son is guiltless, and in his innocence is his salvation'” (M-1.3:4-5). It is a message of radical innocence, total innocence, universal innocence, with no one and nothing left out. No one is condemned. No one is judged guilty. No one is damned.
“To recognize my holiness is to recognize my salvation. It is also to recognize the salvation of the world” (4:2-3). As a Son of God, I am holy, and thus I am blessed. But if I am a Son of God, so are you, so is everyone, because I am a Son of God not by any merit of my own, not by any achievement that distinguishes me from anyone else, but simply due to the fact that God created me holy. As I recognize this fact about myself I must include everyone God created, or I am excluded with everyone.
My claim on innocence, and on “all good and only good” (5:2), lies in the fact that I am the Son of God. God willed good things for me, and so I must have them—not because I earned them in any way, but because He wills to give them. “His care for me is infinite and is with me forever. I am eternally blessed as His Son” (5:7-8).
It does not matter what I think about myself or how badly I may believe I have screwed things up: I am still His Son. I am still innocent. I am still holy.
Remember this; whatever you think about yourself, whatever you may think about the world, your Father needs you and will call to you until you come to Him in peace at last. (S-3.IV.10:7)
Have faith in only this one thing and it will be sufficient: God wills you be in Heaven, and nothing can keep you from it, or it from you. Your wildest misperceptions, your weird imaginings, your blackest nightmares, all mean nothing. They will not prevail against the peace God wills for you. (T-13.XII.5:3-5)