ACIM MANUAL FOR TEACHERS 4. What are the Characteristics of God’s Teachers? IV. Gentleness V. Joy


IV. Gentleness

1. Harm is impossible for God’s teachers. They can neither harm nor be harmed. Harm is the outcome of judgment. It is the dishonest act that follows a dishonest thought. It is a verdict of guilt upon a brother, and therefore on oneself. It is the end of peace and the denial of learning. It demonstrates the absence of God’s curriculum, and its replacement by insanity. No teacher of God but must learn – and fairly early in his training – that harmfulness completely obliterates his function from his awareness. It will make him confused, fearful, angry, and suspicious. It will make the Holy Spirit’s lessons impossible to learn. Nor can God’s Teacher be heard at all, except by those who realize that harm can actually achieve nothing. No gain can come of it.

2. Therefore, God’s teachers are wholly gentle. They need the strength of gentleness, for it is in this that the function of salvation becomes easy. To those who would do harm, it is impossible. To those to whom harm has no meaning, it is merely natural. What choice but this has meaning to the sane? Who chooses hell when he perceives a way to Heaven? And who would choose the weakness that must come from harm in place of the unfailing, all-encompassing and limitless strength of gentleness? The might of God’s teachers lies in their gentleness, for they have understood their evil thoughts came neither from God’s Son nor his Creator. Thus did they join their thoughts with Him Who is their Source. And so their will, which always was His Own, is free to be itself.

V. Joy

1. Joy is the inevitable result of gentleness. Gentleness means that fear is now impossible, and what could come to interfere with joy? The open hands of gentleness are always filled. The gentle have no pain. They cannot suffer. Why would they not be joyous? They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him. How joyous it is to share the purpose of salvation![1]

As we meditate upon our devotional text today we begin to see how our lessons in trust and our development of trust lay the foundation for all the other attributes that will establish us as teachers of God.  For without trust, our gentleness is only in spots. We can only be gentle with animals, or with babies, or perhaps with people who look like us and speak like us and worship the same way we do.  Our gentleness in the flesh is reserved for special, tender moments for to survive in this world we learn that we need to develop other traits that are not at all gentle!

For we forget that gentleness is our strength and not a weakness. The world looks upon the gentle with a touch of scorn and derision at best, and downright viciousness at worst.  But gentleness is what all of us crave – none of us thrive on cross words and mean tones. We know that physical and emotional trauma have long-term effects on our mental state and our physical well-being throughout the course of our lives.  Kids who grow up in homes where there is cursing, screaming, and abuse carry those memories in the cells of their bodies and in the recesses of their memory long into their adult lives.  We may have learned that screaming, cursing, and striking out is the only way we can get the attention of our kids and mates, but our Teacher shows us another way when we care to go within to our inner altar and learn from Him. 

In my own life, I have incidents in which my anger and rage drive me to strike out at others, say mean things, make me want to pinch them, slap them, pull their hair, or stomp about slamming doors and saying harsh words.  I could blame this on the way I was raised, I could say that I cannot help myself, I could say that hot tempers run in my bloodline, but I know better.

The call to gentleness is a gift from God that was given to me at my creation. Just as gentleness is God’s attribute, it is my attribute. It is part of me and who I am and what I am made of.  To not be gentle makes me sick inside because to harm anybody or anything with my words, thoughts, or deeds is against my nature, just as it is against your nature.  We were created to love and nurture, to help and support one another – not to go into rages and live under the pretense that others are responsible for the ways in which we respond to them.

To join with God is to come home to one’s Self.  To embrace and practice gentleness and a policy of no-harm is to align ourselves against the clamor of the world which would mock our efforts to live in harmony and love and peace and joy. 

Because Jesus tells us that joy comes to us in our gentleness. When I respond to others who irritate me, frighten me, or hurt my feelings with gentleness I have replaced my fear, judgment, and condemnation of them with trust. I trust that no matter how much of a show-off, no matter how hateful their words, no matter how scary their appearance or tone of voice, whether they tell me to get the hell away from them or spread lies about me, they cannot harm me.  Nothing they do in this world can hurt me because nothing and nobody can take away the Christ within me. Just as Holy Spirit transforms all my mistakes and shortcomings into my greatest strengths to share with others, so can I use any perceived attack against me to indicate that I need more practice in forgiveness, mercy, and grace!  As I accept these gifts from God, I am joyful for I know that I am beloved, just as you are beloved.  We are safe because the Voice for God directs us and is our constant companion in all things and in all ways. 

It is in this way that the teachers of God bring joy to the world.  And Christ thanks us for joining with Him in bringing gentleness and joy to the world for the world then is saved from the warring, unhappy ways which bring us nothing but sadness and sorrow.   

[1] A Course in Miracles. Manual for Teachers. 4. What are the characteristics of God’s Teachers? IV Gentleness V Joy. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit courtesy of Linda R.

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Published by eckief

My love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at

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