Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 160 I Am at Home. Fear is the Stranger Here.
- Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to your Self. And thus you are unknown to you. What is your Self remains an alien to the part of you which thinks that it is real, but different from yourself? Who could be sane in such a circumstance? Who but a madman could believe he is what he is not and judge against himself?
- There is a stranger in our midst, who comes from an idea so foreign to the truth he speaks a different language, looks upon a world truth does not know, and understands what truth regards as senseless. Stranger yet, he does not recognize to whom he comes, and yet maintains his home belongs to him, while he is alien now who is at home. And yet, how easy it would be to say, “This is my home. Here I belong and will not leave because a madman says I must.”
- What reason is there for not saying this? What could the reason be except that you had asked this stranger in to take your place, and let you be a stranger to yourself? No one would let himself be the dispossessed so needlessly, unless he thought there were another home more suited to his tastes.
- Who is this stranger? Is it fear or you who are unsuited to the home which God provided for His Son? Is fear His Own, created in His likeness? Is it fear that love completes and is completed by? There is no home can shelter love and fear. They cannot coexist. If you are real, then fear must be illusion. And if fear is real, than you do not exist at all.
- How simply then, the question is resolved. Who fears has but denied himself and said, “I am the stranger here. And so I leave my home to one more like me than myself and give him all I thought belonged to me.” Now is he exiled of necessity, not knowing who he is, uncertain of all things but this; that he is not himself, and that his home has been denied to him.
- What does he search for now? What can he find? A stranger to himself can find no home wherever he may look, for he has made return impossible. His way is lost, except a miracle will search him out and show him that he is no stranger now. The miracle will come. For in his home his Self remains. It asked no stranger in, and took no alien thought to be Itself. And It will call Its own unto Itself in recognition of what is Its Own.
- Who is the stranger? Is he not the one your Self calls not? You are unable now to recognize this stranger in your midst, for you have given him your rightful place. Yet is your Self as certain of Its Own as God is of His Son. He cannot be confused about creation. He is sure of what belongs to Him. No stranger can be interposed between His knowledge and His Son’s reality. He does not know of strangers. He is certain of His Son.
- God’s certainty suffices. Who He knows to be His Son belongs where He has set His Son forever. He has answered you who ask, “Who is the stranger?” Hear His Voice assure you, quietly and sure, that you are not a stranger to your Father, nor is your Creator stranger made to you. Whom God has joined remain forever one, at home in Him, no stranger to Himself.
- Today we offer thanks that Christ has come to search the world for what belongs to Him. His vision sees no strangers but beholds His Own and joyously unites with them. They see Him as a stranger, for they do not recognize themselves. Yet as they give Him welcome, they remember. And He leads them gently home again, where they belong.
- Not one does Christ forget. Not one He fails to give you to remember, that your home may be complete and perfect as it was established. He has not forgotten you. But you will not remember Him until you look on all as He does. Who denies his brother is denying Him, and thus refusing to accept the gift of sight by which his Self is clearly recognized, his home remembered, and salvation come.
Notes and Personal Application: Yesterday while I was mulching and watering the peas and tomatoes in the garden, I began to be aware of the voice of the stranger in my mind, lying to me about my brothers, building cases against others, remembering unkind things that people have done and ways in which others have not played fair. I stopped for a moment and went to sit in the shade and sip some of my cold water from the jug. Just as Jesus says in today’s lesson, love seemed an alien to me, while this other thing, this stranger in my mind which was doing its best to poison my relationships and unity with my neighbors and friends posed as if it were me. How easy it would have been to listen to its lies and deceptions and believe that they were my own!
Last year we had guests from China who decided to come and stay with us for a few days. They had been to our house on several other occasions and we had enjoyed their visits very much. But this time was different. This time the guests had brought another guest with them and instead of speaking to us, they spoke largely to each other, in Chinese. Although James and I lived in China for a few years, much to our chagrin, we never learned more than the most elementary words and phrases. As hosts, we felt awkward and at a great disadvantage in the social arena. When we had a conversation, our guests, who all spoke fluent English, understood us, however they chose to have mostly private conversations between themselves. It became obvious to us that they were only using our house and our hospitality as a place to stay. Needless to say, we did not appreciate feeling the strangers in our own home!
Today Jesus instructs us not to fall for the stranger who would interpose itself upon us and take up residence in our minds, drowning out the Voice for God. God knows us as His creations – we are created by Love, with Love, and for Love. No matter how much the ego has darkened our minds with its shadowy fears, defenses, and discord, we are to hold fast to the Vision of Christ, which is our reality. We were made to walk in light. The stranger will fill our minds with negativity, grudges, false memories, and distortions of the truth. It will take any incident in our personal life or in the world at large to use as an excuse to hate each other, to go to war, to cast judgment, to take sides, to keep us from loving, uniting, and returning to God. This stranger will use any means it can to keep the quiet Voice for God, our reality, our true Self, out of our awareness. The stranger’s worst fear is that we will come to know the truth about ourselves, that we will recognize our Sonship, our holiness, our sinlessness, and purity, but most of all our great and abiding love for God and for one another.
Christ calls for us to see past the stranger in ourselves and in others. We are not here to lash out, to reel back, to play spiteful games, to take vengeance, or seek justice in a world that is not real in any sense of the word. We are here to wake up, to recognize the Sonship of God, to see the stranger for what it is – a lie, a deception, a nightmare encased in time, the prince of darkness, the would-be usurper of love. When we bring all those lies and deceptions to God, all those hurts and pains, those betrayals and disappointments, those abuses and abandonments – whether we think we did it to others or they did it to us – when we are willing to step out of unreality and into the light, we are bidding the stranger good riddance and taking up our true Self in Christ.
Do not be afraid. When the stranger tells its lies and spreads its poison and strategizes its games in your mind, take it to Christ. Do not let it deceive you by shaming you or making you feel dirty and unworthy. Christ will never abandon you or anybody else. Salvation is not for the elect, for the few, the proud, the chosen. Salvation is for those of us who have been deceived, who have forgotten who and what we are in Christ!
Jesus reminds us in the last paragraph of today’s lesson – Do not make the mistake of thinking of others as different from ourselves. We are to look on all as our brothers. Those whom the ego would have us hate and despise, are our holy brothers in Christ. Those whom the ego would have us idolize and possess, are only our holy brothers, nothing more and nothing less. We cannot see Christ until we fully accept this fact and devote ourselves to teach it to others. We must look on all with equality and love. This does not mean we must subject ourselves to the cruelty or injustice of others, be the butt of their pranks, or wear ourselves out with do-gooderism. It is simply accepting the Vision of Christ, holding no ill will, and refraining from condemnation and judgment. By recognizing our oneness, by opening our heart to love, by seeing with the eyes of Christ, we remember our home, we know our Selves, and we are saved from this pit of despair!
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 160. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).