Manual for Teachers: 13. What is the Real Meaning of Sacrifice?
1. Although in truth the term “sacrifice” is altogether meaningless, it does have meaning in the world. Like all things in the world, its meaning is temporary and will ultimately fade into the nothingness from which it came when it is clear that there is no more use for it. For now its real meaning is a lesson. Like all lessons it is an illusion, for in reality there is nothing to learn. Yet this illusion must be replaced by a “corrective device,” another illusion that replaces the first, so both can finally disappear. The first illusion, which must be displaced before another thought system can take hold, is that it is a sacrifice to give up the things of this world. What could this be but an illusion, since this world itself is nothing more than an illusion?
2. It takes great learning both to realize and to accept the fact that the world has nothing to give. What can the sacrifice of nothing mean? It cannot mean that you have less because of it. There is no sacrifice in the world’s terms that does not involve the body. Think a while about what the world calls sacrifice. Power, fame, money, physical pleasure; who is the “hero” to whom all these things belong? Could they mean anything except to a body? Yet a body cannot evaluate. By seeking after such things the mind associates itself with the body, thereby obscuring its identity and losing sight of what it really is.
3. Once this confusion has occurred, it becomes impossible for the mind to understand that all the “pleasures” of the world are nothing. But what a sacrifice all this entails. And it is a sacrifice indeed! Now the mind has condemned itself to seek without finding, to be forever dissatisfied and discontented, and does not even know what it really wants to find. Who can escape this self-condemnation? Only through God’s Word could this be possible. For self-condemnation is a decision about identity, and no one doubts what he believes he is. He can doubt all things, but never this.
4. God’s teachers can have no regret on giving up the pleasures of the world. Is it a sacrifice to give up pain? Does an adult resent the giving up of children’s toys? Does one whose vision has already glimpsed the face of Christ look back with longing on a “slaughter house”? No one who has escaped the world and all its ills looks back on it with condemnation. Yet he must rejoice that he is free of all the sacrifice its values would demand of him. To the world he sacrifices all his peace. To the world he sacrifices all his freedom. And to possess these “values of the world” he must sacrifice his hope of Heaven and the remembrance of his Father’s Love. Who in his sane mind chooses “nothing” as a substitute for “everything”?
5. What is the real meaning of sacrifice? It is the cost of believing in illusions. It is the price that must be paid for the denial of truth. There is no pleasure of the world that does not demand this, for otherwise the pleasure would be seen as pain, and no one asks for pain if he recognizes it. It is the idea of sacrifice that makes him blind. He does not see what he is asking for. And so he seeks it in a thousand ways and in a thousand places, each time believing it is there, and each time disappointed in the end. “Seek but do not find” is the ego’s motto and it remains this world’s stern decree, and no one who pursues the world’s goals can do otherwise.
6. You may believe this course requires sacrifice of all you really hold dear. In one sense this is true, for you hold dear the things that crucify God’s Son, and it is the course’s aim to set him free. But do not be mistaken about what sacrifice means. It always means the giving up of what you want. And what, O teacher of God, is it that you want? You have been called by God, and you have answered. Would you now sacrifice that Call? Few have heard it as yet, and they turn to you. There is no other hope in all the world that they can trust. There is no other voice in all the world that echoes God’s. If you sacrifice the truth, your brothers will stay in hell. And if they stay, you will remain with them.
7. My brothers, do not forget that sacrifice is total. There are no half sacrifices. You cannot give up Heaven partially. You cannot be a little bit in hell. The Word of God has no exceptions. It is this that makes it holy and beyond the world. It is its holiness that points to God. It is its holiness that makes you safe. It is denied if you attack any brother for anything, for what you choose for your brother you also choose for yourself. Here is where the split with God occurs. It is a split that is impossible and a split that cannot happen. Yet it is a split in which you surely will believe, because you have set up a situation that is impossible. And in this situation the impossible can seem to happen. And it seems to happen at the “sacrifice” of truth.
8. Teacher of God, do not forget the meaning of sacrifice, and remember what each decision you make must mean in terms of cost. Decide of God, and everything is given you at no cost at all. Decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything. What would you teach? Remember, you teach only what you would learn. For it is here that your focus must be. Atonement is for you. Your learning claims it and your learning gives it. The world does not contain it. Just learn this course and it is yours. God holds out His Word to you, for He has need of teachers. What other way is there to save His Son?
Look to the Spirit as you answer the questions below:
When you look truly at your experiences of the world, do you see mostly joy or mostly sorrow? Do you see perfect happiness, complete joy, and certain peace in all that you think, say and do?
When you look truly at the holy experiences shared with Spirit, do you see mostly joy or mostly sorrow? In these holy instances and encounters, do you experience a joy that is not of this world, one that is a forerunner to many more to come?
In either situation, with Spirit or in the world, have the joys been fulfilling and long lasting, or have they been lacking in some way, or have they been temporary?
Asking the Spirit to look with you when you answer the above questions, will elicit some clarity on whether you have been choosing the world or choosing God. In the first instance, you can be more alert to choose to turn from the world. In the second instance, you can choose God more often, until you are filled to the brim with nothing but Everlasting Spirit in the State of God’s Grace Forever.
The goal is SET.
MANUAL FOR TEACHERS
13. WHAT IS THE REAL MEANING OF SACRIFICE?
1. In truth, the term “sacrifice” is altogether meaningless, yet it does have a meaning in the world. Its meaning, however, is temporary like everything in the world, and it will gradually disappear into the nothingness from which it came when there is no longer any use perceived for it.
2. Since the term “sacrifice” is meaningless, it is also an illusion. Like all illusions, its real meaning is a lesson. Yet that makes it doubly an illusion, because in reality there is nothing to learn.
3. The first step, then, is to replace the illusory idea of sacrifice with another illusion, one which will pave the way for another thought system to take hold.
4. The first lesson to learn is that it is not a sacrifice to give up the things of this world, since this world itself is but an illusion, as well as all the things in it.
5. To learn this, it is necessary to know that there is no sacrifice in the world’s terms that does not involve the body. Note this: By seeking after the things of this world (power, fame, money, physical pleasure, toys and trinkets) the mind associates itself with the body. Thus, the mind is obscuring its true identity as spirit.
6. Once the mind is confused about its identity, it becomes impenetrable to the understanding that all the “pleasures” of the world are nothing. So the mind then spends hours, days, weeks, years and lifetimes – forever seeking for what will not satisfy it, and thus living each day in discontent, not knowing what it really wants to find, how to find it, nor where to look.
7. In essence, then, the mind lives in self-condemnation, because it is unsuccessful in its quest for happiness. And that is because it is looking for happiness in all the wrong places and for the wrong purpose. Happiness is not for the body, but for the mind. The only way through or out of this discontent, the only way to happiness, is through God’s Word about the mind’s true identity.
8. Once God’s Word has enlightened the mind of its true identity, the world is escaped, and all its ills along with it. There is no condemnation now, for self or otherwise, only rejoicing that he is free of all the “sacrifices” the world demanded of him – such as his peace, his freedom, the remembrance of God’s Love, and his home in Heaven with God.
9. So what is the real meaning of sacrifice? It is the cost of believing in illusions. It is the price that must be paid for denial of the truth that you are God’s Son, created in His Image and one with Him. It is the giving up of God’s Call. Few have heard it, and they will turn to you for the answer. You must be ready to give it to them, or they will continue to stay in hell with you alongside them.
10. God’s Word has no exceptions. That is what makes it holy. The holiness of the Word of God points to Him. It is its holiness that makes you safe. Holiness and safety are denied if you attack any brother for anything, for it is in attack that the split occurs – which is the perceived separation from God and His Truth. It is a split that cannot happen, yet you will believe it did, in the “sacrifice” of truth.
11. Decide for God and everything is given you at no cost at all. Decide against Him, and you choose nothing, at the expense of the awareness of everything. Teach only love for that is what you are. Teach only truth, for that is what you would learn. Learn this course and the remembrance of love and truth is yours. God has need of teachers of His Word. What other way is there to save His Son?