Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lesson 170 There is no cruelty in God and none in me.


There is no cruelty in God and none in me.

No one attacks without intent to hurt. This can have no exception. When you think that you attack in self-defense, you mean that to be cruel is protection; you are safe because of cruelty. You mean that you believe to hurt another brings you freedom. And you mean that to attack is to exchange the state in which you are for something better, safer, more secure from dangerous invasion and from fear.

How thoroughly insane is the idea that to defend from fear is to attack! For here is fear begot and fed with blood, to make it grow and swell and rage. And thus is fear protected, not escaped. Today we learn a lesson which can save you more delay and needless misery than you can possibly imagine. It is this:

You make what you defend against, and by your own defense against it is it real and inescapable. Lay down your arms, and only then do you perceive it false.

It seems to be the enemy without that you attack. Yet your defense sets up an enemy within; an alien thought at war with you, depriving you of peace, splitting your mind into two camps which seem wholly irreconcilable. For love now has an "enemy," an opposite; and fear, the alien, now needs your defense against the threat of what you really are.

If you consider carefully the means by which your fancied self-defense proceeds on its imagined way, you will perceive the premises on which the idea stands. First, it is obvious ideas must leave their source, for it is you who make attack, and must have first conceived of it. Yet you attack outside yourself, and separate your mind from him who is to be attacked, with perfect faith the split you made is real.

Next, are the attributes of love bestowed upon its "enemy." For fear becomes your safety and protector of your peace, to which you turn for solace and escape from doubts about your strength, and hope of rest in dreamless quiet. And as love is shorn of what belongs to it and it alone, love is endowed with attributes of fear. For love would ask you lay down all defense as merely foolish. And your arms indeed would crumble into dust. For such they are.

With love as enemy, must cruelty become a god. And gods demand that those who worship them obey their dictates, and refuse to question them. Harsh punishment is meted out relentlessly to those who ask if the demands are sensible or even sane. It is their enemies who are unreasonable and insane, while they are always merciful and just.

Today we look upon this cruel god dispassionately. And we note that though his lips are smeared with blood, and fire seems to flame from him, he is but made of stone. He can do nothing. We need not defy his power. He has none. And those who see in him their safety have no guardian, no strength to call upon in danger, and no mighty warrior to fight for them.

This moment can be terrible. But it can also be the time of your release from abject slavery. You make a choice, standing before this idol, seeing him exactly as he is. Will you restore to love what you have sought to wrest from it and lay before this mindless piece of stone? Or will you make another idol to replace it? For the god of cruelty takes many forms. Another can be found.

Yet do not think that fear is the escape from fear. Let us remember what the text has stressed about the obstacles to peace. The final one, the hardest to believe is nothing, and a seeming obstacle with the appearance of a solid block, impenetrable, fearful and beyond surmounting, is the fear of God Himself. Here is the basic premise which enthrones the thought of fear as god. For fear is loved by those who worship it, and love appears to be invested now with cruelty.

Where does the totally insane belief in gods of vengeance come from? Love has not confused its attributes with those of fear. Yet must the worshippers of fear perceive their own confusion in fear's "enemy"; its cruelty as now a part of love. And what becomes more fearful than the Heart of Love Itself? The blood appears to be upon His Lips; the fire comes from Him. And He is terrible above all else, cruel beyond conception, striking down all who acknowledge Him to be their God.

The choice you make today is certain. For you look for the last time upon this bit of carven stone you made, and call it god no longer. You have reached this place before, but you have chosen that this cruel god remain with you in still another form. And so the fear of God returned with you. This time you leave it there. And you return to a new world, unburdened by its weight; beheld not in its sightless eyes, but in the vision that your choice restored to you.

Now do your eyes belong to Christ, and He looks through them. Now your voice belongs to God and echoes His. And now your heart remains at peace forever. You have chosen Him in place of idols, and your attributes, given by your Creator, are restored to you at last. The Call for God is heard and answered. Now has fear made way for love, as God Himself replaces cruelty.

Father, we are like You. 2 No cruelty abides in us, for there is none in You. 3 Your peace is ours. 4 And we bless the world with what we have received from You alone. 5 We choose again, and make our choice for all our brothers, knowing they are one with us. 6 We bring them Your salvation as we have received it now. 7 And we give thanks for them who render us complete. 8 In them we see Your glory, and in them we find our peace. 9 Holy are we because Your Holiness has set us free. 10 And we give thanks. 11 Amen.

The Following is Forwarded from


Lesson 170
"There is no cruelty in God and none in me."

Cruelty comes from fear and fear comes from belief in separation. One of the key ideas in this lesson is, "ideas leave not their source." To the split mind, separation is real and therefore fear is real and cruelty is real.

Jesus is inviting me to let go of the belief in separation. From our belief in separation from God comes an out picturing of a false world that is the opposite of God. From God comes knowing oneness, all Love being all. Jesus reminds me to make another choice today and leave my belief in the world of separation behind. He reminds me to lay down my defenses against this world because it is a false world that is coming from the false split mind, the insane mind. He invites me to follow Him to open to seeing the unity behind the false images of separation. He invites me to open to seeing the Love behind the call for Love. He invites me to open to seeing the truth behind the barriers to Love.

He reminds me that making the false world real only brings me the experience of pain, guilt, fear and death. It brings me the experience of lack and conflict and the need to defend against an outside enemy. He shows me how to lay this down. He shows me that my experience is coming from my choosing to join with the split mind, the mind that teaches that separation is real.

He tells that if I am willing to step back from the false mind, that I will find freedom. I will find true and everlasting peace. I will find the joy of oneness. I will find eternal happiness. He tells me that everything is confused and upside down in this insane world of separation and reminds me it is not true and I do not need to continue to believe in it. If I defend against this fearful world, I will make it real again. Laying it down, letting it go is the only answer. He reminds me that I have the Voice of Sanity in my mind and that by joining with the Voice of Sanity, I can open to and receive the real solution to every problem.

Ideas leave not their source. If I join with the ego split mind, I will see cruelty. I will see a reason to fear. If I instead join with the Holy Spirit, I will see the Holy Spirit in every mind, for the Holy Spirit knows all that is real is One. The Holy Spirit joins with Reality and sees Reality.

So now it is my choice how I will experience my day. Do I choose to join with the ego mind or the One Mind of the Holy Spirit? My day will go as I choose.

Belief in the cruelty of God is pervasive in this world. It is one of the key concepts the Course is helping us undo. Belief in the cruelty of God is the basis and justification for all our attacks on our brothers in any form. Today's lesson is showing us that this cruel god is of our own making. It is the inevitable projection of a mind that believes separation is real. Belief in this cruel god leaves us without a refuge to turn to for peace, comfort and healing. It fosters hopelessness because with no safe refuge, what hope could there be for release from the hell we believe we are in?

Only as I learn to accept that there is no cruelty in God and none in me does hope begin to see the possibility that there is a way out. Gradually hope changes to faith and confidence as we let go of the mistaken idea that God sees us the way we see ourselves. He sees us as Himself, Love and nothing else. Of that He is perfectly confident., for He knows we are one with Him, His only Son.

The pain and suffering we blame on Him comes only from our own mistaken mind that believes in what could never be, that ideas do leave their source. Throughout the Course we are told again and again that this could never be true. From many different angles He points us to the truth that we remain one with Him as He created us.

Reassuring us that there is no cruelty in God and none in us helps neutralize the fear with which we resist God's loving care. We only resist His Love because we believe that to accept His Love will bring pain. We believe we will have to sacrifice something that we treasure. Yet all that is being asked of us is that we give up the very idea that is the source of all our pain, fear, guilt and the perception of death. Remembering that there is no cruelty in God opens the door for me to see Him as Friend instead of enemy. He becomes my safe Haven, my comfort and my Home. Today I would remember there is no cruelty in God and none in me.

I am becoming more and more sensitive to the effects of living in a world of attack and fear. This is very uncomfortable, but necessary if I am ever to be motivated to change. I have read this lesson before but it wasn't until today that I have begun to truly understand the consequences of fear and attack.

As realization began creeping into my mind, I asked Holy Spirit for an example in my own life. Immediately, a person came to mind. For the first time I saw how terribly destructive to myself (and by extension to the rest of the Sonship) my enmity toward this person is. I saw in a whole new way that is essential I give up attack as defense. I saw how insane the whole concept is and how it contributes to my belief that I am separate.

And still, the idea of giving up all defense and attack is scary. I guess that I do not totally believe what my heart is telling me. I am reminded of Lesson 165. It says that God is fair and sureness is not required and tells me to ask with desire.

I feel like someone dangling by a slippery rope. I am afraid that my new understanding of attack and it's consequences is not sure enough to stay with me and I will slip and fall back into my life as it has always been. So today I will practice this lesson and make it the center of all my efforts so that I can get a firmer grip on that rope.

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