The biggest lesson I have taken from this course is that we are eternal, perfect human souls. As a young girl, attending catholic grade school, I always wondered how a religion which taught me to love and forgive could be hosted by a wrathful God who sought to punish me for my sins. How could a vengeful God be the same God as the one who loves me so much? This truly was my first spiritual question and has sent me down a life long path seeking answers. That question was my worm hole.
In this Chapter of ACIM, the author, who is apparently channeling a written message from Jesus Christ himself, I have confirmed for myself what my own research has revealed: God is not a vengeful God who seeks to punish us, rather we have misinterpreted the Bible. This single realization has re-opened my heart to Christianity. Since my first questions sought to reconcile this vengeful God with the God in my heart I knew was love, recognizing the Bible as more of a story to teach me has made its lessons more approachable to my agnostic views.
If we read the Bible in the way we read the fables and folk tales of our past, as a metaphors for life lessons, its lessons take on new life and allow us to re-approach these lessons from a new perspective and open mind.
In paragraph 16, we learn this again;
“As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later, because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time”
When we look back at our lesson of the crucifixion, we know it is symbolic of the ultimate betrayal of man. It is nothing more than an exaggeration of the ego vs perfect love (Jesus Christ). It is the eternal fight between black and white, light and dark, good and bad. We each have both of them within is. We each choose a path when we reach a cross-roads. Each of us has our own lessons to learn and will choose based on what we have learned… and what we haven’t.
Since each of us has somewhat of a pre-programmed set of lessons to learn, none of us can judge another, because we have a different set of experiences to draw upon than they. Perfect love is a matter of unconditional love, regardless of the circumstances. A parent may not condone the actions of a child, but they can still love them with perfect parental love without judgment. This is the perfect love God has for each of us. We are asked to follow this example with brothers and sisters, by loving them, forgiving them and leading by example.
“Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it.”
God does not require Gratitude for all that he has given creation because it was created out of love. However, in paragraph 17, we learn that we cannot love what we do not appreciate.
This paragraph reminds me of my children. When they work hard to buy something, they appreciate it more and thereby take better care of it. If I buy them something, they do not have to work for it and therefore do not appreciate the value of working hard for something, and tend to take less care of it, in absence of the appreciation.
So, here we learn, Jesus does not require our appreciation, but, asks that we learn to appreciate the extreme example he has given us, through his dramatic death. Despite the dramatic circumstances of his death, Jesus forgave his perpetrators. He gave us, through this story, the example of unconditional love and forgiveness. He asks that we recognize the value of this lesson because in doing so, we no longer have to be persecuted for our mistakes.
Now, as we start to piece together the puzzle pieces, We have learned that the Bible is a fable. In this, I mean it is a story with a moral lesson for us to learn. The lesson of the crucifixion is one of perfect love and forgiveness. The lesson of the resurrection was one of awakening to this reality and choosing a different path. The lesson of the perfect, limitless, unconditional love is repeated here.
When we can grasp this as fact, we can appreciate the value of the lessons in the Bible with a new light, now, we can see that we do not have to believe the words, if we believe the lesson, we can get more from it, then reading it as a fact of History. It now becomes more relatable. It is this appreciation the author seeks to describe, because once we can appreciate the value of something, it becomes more accessible. Just as this lesson re-opened my mind to the lessons of the Bible, we are asked here to do the same.
Once a teacher proves their knowledge to us, through an example, story or lesson, we are more likely to follow their advise, follow their lead and learn from their folk tales. We learn to listen intently to not believe the actual tale, but to look deeper to find its lessons.
This is my role, in my Reflections Series, to share with you how this course has made the lessons of the Bible more accessible to my agnostic view. In sharing with those who choose to read these posts, I hope to make the lessons of the Bible, ACIM, and other Religious texts more accessible and to show the world how I see they all teach the same thing.
“Teach only love, for that is what you are.”
We are all connected. You and I share the same oxygen. We are all made of energy and our thoughts, feelings and actions send energy out into the world. Each of us chooses which side of the magnet we are on, the positive polarity or the negative.
When one of our fellow human beings hurts us, this chapter requests that we remember the following things:
“if you will listen to his voice you will know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves”
They need our unconditional love and forgiveness in order to see the light. The more we react with love and forgiveness, the more we create miracles. The more miracles one sees the more likely he is to follow the lessons of the teacher.
“When you perceive only this need in them, and do not respond to any other, you will have learned of me and will be as eager to share your learning as I am”