II. SECTION 13. What is a Miracle?
Lesson 343 I am not asked to make a sacrifice to find the mercy and the peace of God.
- The end of suffering cannot be loss. The gift of everything can but be gain. You only give. You never take away. And You created me to be like You, so sacrifice becomes impossible for me as well as You. I too must give, and so all things are given unto me forever and forever. As I was created I remain. Your Son can make no sacrifice, for he must be complete. Having the function of completing You, I am complete because I am Your Son. I cannot lose, for I can only give, and everything is mine eternally.
- The mercy and the peace of God are free. Salvation has no cost. It is a gift that must be freely given and received. And it is this that we would learn today.
A miracle is a correction. A miracle corrects our thinking. We have been taught that God requires a sacrifice. There are long lists of everything we should “give up” to have God in our life. We should give up our favorite substances, the ones that make us feel better about our state in the world – whether it be food, drink, drugs, or other pleasures. We should give up meat on Fridays and candy during Lent. We should give up our tithes and offerings in the collection plates. We should give up our time and money to feed and clothe the poor. The world will give us a long list of desirable things in which we must give up to follow God. Our picture of God has been one in which God wants to take away our humanity and give us the opportunity to spend eternity worshipping and praising Him, ongoing underlings sacrificing their being in order to inflate His sense of worth and majesty.
To become a miracle worker, we must correct this perception of God in our minds. God wants nothing from us that costs us anything. God only wants us back from the state of mind that strips us of all that has worth. For the first few days of this week, I have been struggling with a sense of grief, loss, and low vitality. It seemed like I was fighting gravity each time I moved. So that yesterday, when I woke up refreshed, motivated, and on top of things, it was hardly a case of giving up something wonderful to feel back to my usual bouncy self. God did not take anything away from me. I was restored to health and well-being because I “gave up” the binge-watching, the sorrow, the guilt, the shame that brought lethargy, fatigue, and oppression. While it felt like a miracle to be restored, it was simply a matter of correcting the mistakes that I was committing in efforts to make myself feel better.
As long as we mistakenly believe that God requires a sacrifice, we do not know Him. We are serving a perverted concept of God. God only gives. God never takes away. Jesus makes that very clear in this lesson today. If I mistakenly believe that God took my daughter away from me because I was unworthy, I do not know God. God gave her to me, and God never takes His gifts away. Her body may no longer be here with me, but this has no bearing on her life. Just because I cannot see her with the flesh eyes, her eternal spirit is one with me in Christ. The loss of her body may seem a sacrifice, but her everlasting life in the spirit is truly all that matters.
The mercy and peace of God are free. Jesus teaches us in our Course that we do not have to “clean up our act” in order to come to God. That is not our job. Our only function is to accept salvation as our gift from Him and to give salvation as freely as we received. This means that as nice as it is to receive an apology for wrongdoing or hurtful things, it is never something we demand or require in order to forgive others. We do not waste our time trying to dig through the past and tag the separate incidents of unfaithfulness or betrayals or disrespect upon which to pin the blame for unforgiveness. Just as we are freely forgiven, we freely forgive all who have harmed us – as they come to mind. We withhold forgiveness from nobody. We cannot move forward on our path to God without extending the mercy and peace that God has given us to all of Creation.
Today in your personal devotional, ask God to reveal how forgiveness is not a sacrifice! Ask Holy Spirit to reveal any hidden unforgiveness, any specialness surrounding a grudge, resentment, or ill will that you cherish toward another. Ask God to fill your mind and heart and soul with forgiveness – no matter how your ego whispers how precious and worthy this particular bit of unforgiveness is to your worth as a human being. No matter how justified our grudges feel to us, they are a lie.
We find truth behind every lie because the aim of the lie is to obscure truth. Behind the lie of our hatred, our scorn, our seemingly righteous indignation, we find the truth about ourselves. We find the means to our salvation. Our enemies, our friends, our family members are our mirrors. Their words, their deeds, their behaviors inform us of what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. Wisely, we look into our mirrors and forgive and correct the mistakes we see there; unwisely we hold our mirrors accountable for the reflections that inform us of what we are hiding from ourselves, the things we do not want to “sacrifice” to God. These are the things that blind us to His mercy and His peace. When we value the valueless, miracles cannot be shared nor can they be kept.
To accept miracles for ourselves and to share them with others, we must learn this concept, practice this concept, and teach it in our words, thoughts, and deeds. Giving up darkness for light is no sacrifice. Giving up the temporal for that which is eternal is no sacrifice at all. Forgiving ourselves and others for our mutual blindness, ignorance, and self-centered arrogance is no sacrifice. The sacrifice to find the mercy and peace of God is actually no sacrifice at all.
A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 343. Circle of Atonement, Complete and Annotated Edition, (2017). p. 1557.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com