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Lesson 170

There is no cruelty in God and none in me.

1. No one attacks without intent to hurt. ²This can have no exception. ³When you think that you attack in self-defense, you mean that to be cruel is protection; you are safe because of cruelty. ⁴You mean that you believe to hurt another brings you freedom. ⁵And 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.

2. How thoroughly insane is the idea that to defend from fear is to attack! ²For here is fear begot and fed with blood, to make it grow and swell and rage. ³And thus is fear protected, not escaped. ⁴Today we learn a lesson which can save you more delay and needless misery than you can possibly imagine. ⁵It is this:

⁶You make what you defend against, and by your own defense against it is it real and inescapable. ⁷Lay down your arms, and only then do you perceive it false.

3. It seems to be the enemy without that you attack. ²Yet 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. ³For love now has an “enemy,” an opposite; and fear, the alien, now needs your defense against the threat of what you really are.

4. 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. ²First, it is obvious ideas must leave their source, for it is you who make attack, and must have first conceived of it. ³Yet you attack outside yourself, and separate your mind from him who is to be attacked, with perfect faith the split you made is real.

5. Next, are the attributes of love bestowed upon its “enemy.” ²For 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. ³And as love is shorn of what belongs to it and it alone, love is endowed with attributes of fear. ⁴For love would ask you lay down all defense as merely foolish. ⁵And your arms indeed would crumble into dust. ⁶For such they are.

6. With love as enemy, must cruelty become a god. ²And gods demand that those who worship them obey their dictates, and refuse to question them. ³Harsh punishment is meted out relentlessly to those who ask if the demands are sensible or even sane. ⁴It is their enemies who are unreasonable and insane, while they are always merciful and just.

7. Today we look upon this cruel god dispassionately. ²And we note that though his lips are smeared with blood, and fire seems to flame from him, he is but made of stone. ³He can do nothing. ⁴We need not defy his power. ⁵He has none. ⁶And 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.

8. This moment can be terrible. ²But it can also be the time of your release from abject slavery. ³You make a choice, standing before this idol, seeing him exactly as he is. ⁴Will you restore to love what you have sought to wrest from it and lay before this mindless piece of stone? ⁵Or will you make another idol to replace it? ⁶For the god of cruelty takes many forms. ⁷Another can be found.

9. Yet do not think that fear is the escape from fear. ²Let us remember what the text has stressed about the obstacles to peace. ³The 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. ⁴Here is the basic premise which enthrones the thought of fear as god. ⁵For fear is loved by those who worship it, and love appears to be invested now with cruelty.

10. Where does the totally insane belief in gods of vengeance come from? ²Love has not confused its attributes with those of fear. ³Yet must the worshippers of fear perceive their own confusion in fear’s “enemy”; its cruelty as now a part of love. ⁴And what becomes more fearful than the Heart of Love Itself? ⁵The blood appears to be upon His Lips; the fire comes from Him. ⁶And He is terrible above all else, cruel beyond conception, striking down all who acknowledge Him to be their God.

11. The choice you make today is certain. ²For you look for the last time upon this bit of carven stone you made, and call it god no longer. ³You have reached this place before, but you have chosen that this cruel god remain with you in still another form. ⁴And so the fear of God returned with you. ⁵This time you leave it there. ⁶And 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.

12. Now do your eyes belong to Christ, and He looks through them. ²Now your voice belongs to God and echoes His. ³And now your heart remains at peace forever. ⁴You have chosen Him in place of idols, and your attributes, given by your Creator, are restored to you at last. ⁵The Call for God is heard and answered. ⁶Now has fear made way for love, as God Himself replaces cruelty.

13. Father, we are like You. ²No cruelty abides in us, for there is none in You. ³Your peace is ours. ⁴And we bless the world with what we have received from You alone. ⁵We choose again, and make our choice for all our brothers, knowing they are one with us. ⁶We bring them Your salvation as we have received it now. ⁷And we give thanks for them who render us complete. ⁸In them we see Your glory, and in them we find our peace. ⁹Holy are we because Your Holiness has set us free. ¹⁰And we give thanks. ¹¹Amen. (ACIM, W-170.1:1–13:11)

Posted in ACIM Lessons

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