Do you “teach only love”? Imagine how your life would be if you did; that is, if you demonstrated love in every aspect of your life. Luckily, we have the perfect example of someone who did exactly that–Jesus–and the most striking example of this was his crucifixion.
Traditional Christianity teaches that Jesus’ crucifixion was an act of God, who sacrificed His one Son to pay for our sins. However, according to A Course in Miracles, the only message of Jesus’ crucifixion is,
Teach only love, for that is what you are.
Jesus was totally consistent in demonstrating this message in his life, so it makes sense that he would also demonstrate it in his death.
Jesus knew that He was created by a loving God Who could only create what was loving, and that, love being eternal and invulnerable, so was he. He knew that it was his nature to be loving and that his only function here was to teach love. He demonstrated love to everyone, and taught them not only about love, but also that they were love. He taught this to his family, to his friends, and to “strangers.” He taught it to his so-called enemies–those responsible for his death. When they beat, mocked, and ultimately killed him, he didn’t give in to anger, attack, and fear, and he didn’t see them as guilty sinners. Although he inhabited a body, he knew he was not a body, but Spirit, and–as the early ’80s peace song says–“you can’t kill the Spirit.”
The whole point of his crucifixion was to provide us with a powerful example of love and radical forgiveness in the face of attack. So the question arises, what relevance does this have for us and for our lives? A Course in Miracles says that we are teaching all the time, every hour, every minute. With every decision we make, with every encounter we have, we are teaching others what we believe we are and what we believe others to be. Moreover, as we teach it, it teaches us.
When people “attack” you, if you react in kind with unlovingness, meanness, fearful, and anger, you teach that you are a body, vulnerable to attack, pain, and suffering. You also teach those who hurt you that they are guilty. Respond with love and forgiveness, and you teach that your true nature is love and therefore you are invulnerable. You also teach that, despite people’s actions– for which they are responsible–they are not guilty. Meeting attack with love, you teach only love, for that is what you know you are.
This does not mean that we stand by and let ourselves be hurt or abused. It does mean that we face the mini-crucifixions in our lives with the same love and forgiveness with which Jesus faced the crucifixion of his body. We can’t control or change the behaviour of the people in our lives, but we can choose to see them differently and respond to them with love and forgiveness as Jesus did, because that is our true nature. Only this will bring us peace and put us in touch with our loving nature; anything short of this will continue to bring us pain and suffering. A Course in Miracles teaches that we have the power within us to end all our suffering forever. This is the life-giving message that Jesus left for us.
In not hating his “enemies,” Jesus taught only love. In not fighting against his death, he taught that he was not a body. This is his true resurrection, a shift in perception from identifying himself as a body to seeing himself only as spirit, eternal and infinite. Jesus calls us to share resurrection with him, to reawaken to the truth of what we are, and to teach only love.
The Easter story is a lesson about the journey to release, reawakening, and rebirth, not only for Jesus so long ago, but also for every one of us, right now. It is a story that calls us to roll away the stones that block our awareness of love’s presence in us, as well as our expression of that love. It is a joyful message of freedom that Jesus calls us to teach with him, first by embracing it for ourselves, then by living it, and finally by teaching it to others through our thoughts, perceptions, choices, and actions. Since we are teaching all the time, why would we teach fear, pain, anger, suffering, guilt, and death, when we can choose to teach love, joy, peace, freedom, innocence, and eternal life, and experience them in the process? Teaching us how to do this is the goal of A Course in Miracles.
Originally published in Tone Magazine, April 2009