Keeping in mind that the ego's main goal is to keep me thinking/feeling/acting guilty, follow me in this line of thinking: once I believe that I'm guilty, and I thus project my guilt onto you, and attack you for my own guilt, I then believe that I am deserving, and even in need of, punishment. I believe that my attack on you justifies your resulting attack on me. Even if you don't choose to attack me, I will believe that your attack is imminent, and I will move into "defense mode" ... I will be committed to proving that I'm not guilty, and so I will judge your counter-attack as unjustified.
(Do you see the insanity? I am pre-judging you for doing to me as I did to you, even as it started with me judging and attacking you by projecting my OWN STUFF onto you...! AND, the whole thing is designed to be my own liberation, for I cannot receive healing for anything I'm unaware of ... you are merely the mirror enabling me to SEE my own self-blinded stuff ... so in effect, I go and shoot the divine messenger...!)
Back to my supposed need for defense ... the greater my "need" to defend myself, the more I am actually reinforcing my (erroneous) belief that I am guilty. The motivation behind every defense is my desire to protect myself against facing my own fear. If not for my fear, I would have no need to have a defense ... but my desire to self-defend tells me that I should be afraid (vicious cycle).
So, as I am defending myself (from the counter-attack that I initiated!), I am cementing the notion that I *should* be afraid, and my fear is rooted in my belief that I am guilty. I imagine that my defense is protecting me from fear, but it's actually increasing my fear! My self-defense allows the ego to increase ... and I become more and more convinced that I *am* my ego ... that I am sinful, fearful and guilty.
The ego then is quite invested in perpetuating this cycle ... "you must defend yourself, you must control how others see you, you must correct them, you must hide your dark side, so that no one knows how truly wretched you really are!"
But here's the truth: "In my defenselessness my safety lies." Sounds counter-intuitive, no? But if I want to know that I am truly safe, and that my true protection is God ... the best way for me to *know* that is to not get in the way with my false self-defensiveness. Jesus showed us this example ... He knew that no matter what anyone "did" to Him, they could not harm Him ... for He knew He was not His body, and He knew He was not His reputation. He was utterly secure in His true identity (which is OUR identity). He knew that the thoughts and efforts of others "against" Him could not touch who He truly was. And so it can be, and is, for us: once we really KNOW Who we are, and know Who our Father is, there is no more need to protect ourselves ... for we will *know* that we need no defense. Therein lies peace...
It's only within the ego's fluff-and-nonsense system (which only *appears* to be real) that we need to defend ourselves. The guiltier we feel, the more we will attack. The more we attack, the guiltier we will feel. The more we attack the more we feel the need to defend ourselves from the expected counter-attack (or the punishment we secretly believe we deserve).
And it all comes down to believing that we are separate from God, and thus enemies of God, and thus that sin (which is an announcement/demonstration of separation) is even possible... and the resulting fear that when God "catches" us, we will be punished.
Upon this (mistaken/erroneous) premise, Christianity was founded. Christianity is nothing more than the insanity of the ego, Institutionalized and Ritualized. Which is why sermons declaring how all are sinful, wretched and separated from God, are continually preached - for separation/sin must be promoted or Christianity collapses - AND the ego and the Collective Ego will do everything possible to drown out the still, small Voice of the Spirit within (including sermonizing about how we cannot trust our own wicked hearts ... and how we need Them, the Professional Egoists, to interpret the Word of God - the Voice Within, for us). For, if we allowed ourselves to be led, by the Spirit, into all Truth, we would have no need for any egoic/human voice to influence us... and yet we would be utterly open to hearing the Spirit speaking through anyone and anything...! (Ironically enough, this is what the prophet said would happen -- in the new covenant, which, you may have noticed, we've been in a long, long while now..! Read the following passage from Isaiah 31 carefully, with fresh eyes ... don't let the ego's familiarity with it keep you from seeing what God was really saying!)
31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah. [notice when this new covenant came about -- so why do we act like we're "still waiting"...?)
32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.
33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more."
It is so very, incredibly crucial that we see this, the egoic world (both within us and around us), for what it is, so that we are no longer seduced by its lies. The ego keeps us believing we are guilty, by making us *think* we are getting rid of our guilt by projecting it onto others, and then attacking them, and banishing them. It inflames our anger, for anger seems to justify the projection of guilt onto others (we THINK it's about THEM, when it's about US). We go to inordinate lengths to justify our anger against another, when really we are enraged (the anger covering up our deeper FEAR) at ourselves ... but we feel too fragile to be able to face it honestly. We think we NEED an enemy -- a scapegoat -- someone on whom to cast our pain/fear/guilt/shame/sin. We divide up the entire world into good and bad ... separating them from each other .. we need at least one person, or one idea, or one group, to make "the bad one" ... and THIS is the source of all prejudice and discrimination ... this perceived need (largely unconscious, therefore insidious) to find someone to take away our sins, so that we can escape the burden of our own (imagined) guilt...!
We even did this with Jesus ... the ultimate scape-goat. And then we turned the ego-need into a religion, and required that people believe in this "means of salvation" as the ONLY way to get to God.
(OMG ... I never saw that connection before, until I just typed it out ...! Wow. This is huge.)
Spirit of God ... show us how we've been duped ... let our perspective be replaced with Yours. Let us let go of what we think we know, about You, about Jesus, about the Atonement, the crucifixion, salvation ... ALL of it, no matter how "holy" and "critical" we think any of it is ... let us hold it up to You, and allow You to show us what's of man, and what's of You ... let us see as You see, and know as You know. Show us out religious "facts" have replaced Truth.
Let us trust YOU more than we trust what we think we know ...