Since recorded time began, humankind has been attempting to learn about the nature of God. Among the many ways we have defined or described God, one of the most common is: God is Love. Not, “God loves,” or “God is loving;” but rather, God IS the very principle of Love itself.
Unity’s second principle extends this idea to include you and me. Insofar as we, each one of us, are “created in the image and likeness of God,” then, if God is Love, so are we. Yet, all too often, during the course of our lives, we either forget this truth, or willfully ignore it, while choosing to act in opposition to our foundational nature. However, through God’s grace, though we may temporarily act in opposition to our nature, fortunately we cannot change it. At the beginning and end of the day, we are born of love. We live and breathe because of love. And, no matter how hard we might try to fade it or change it, we will be love for eternity.
We Teach What We Believe
In every single thing we think, say, or do, every single one of us teaches what we believe (or do not believe) about God. If God is Love, then, it could also be said that we are teaching what we believe about Love in everything we think, say and do. There are countless ways and means to both teach and learn. The only real difference among them is their relative usefulness or effectiveness in facilitating our learning about who we are in reality.
All knowledge, all truth, everything real that has ever been created is so because of the law of love. This includes, you and me. We are alive because the law of love is active in the universe. Without the law, nothing comes into being. Once again, Unity’s second principle states that we are spiritual beings created in the image and likeness of God. So, if you believe this principle to be true, then, if the “image and likeness of God” is love, so too are we. If this is true, then the only relevant question we should be asking ourselves is: are we teaching what we believe in everything we think, say, or do? Or, perhaps a more practical query is, how consistently are we teaching what we believe?
Teaching The Lessons Of Love
It could be said that the main purpose of A Course In Miracles [ACIM] is to teach the lessons necessary for us to learn how to teach only love. ACIM does not aim to teach the “meaning of love,” which it maintains is “beyond what can be taught.” However, it does aim to teach us how to “remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence” in order that we may know the love we are. It achieves this aim through a combination of both theoretical and practical lessons. However, ACIM repeatedly emphasizes the value of application over theory.
Students of ACIM are not asked to believe or to judge the ideas, they are merely asked to “use them,” to put them into practice. It is the practical application and use of the ideas that reveal their meaning and demonstrate their truth. In this way, practical experience determines success, rather than theological expertise or religious fervor.
The Value Of Anything Is Usefulness
ACIM teaches that everything in the universe operates under one creative principle: the law of love. Every word of its text and every lesson in its workbook serves to correct any errors in perception that may block our awareness to the omnipresence and creative power of the love principle. ACIM‘s ultimate lesson is that we are to teach only love. Its usefulness as a learning device in teaching this lesson determines its value. Nothing else.
Ineffective teaching devices have no value to a teacher interested in his student’s learning. As a teacher, Jesus was certainly interested in the spiritual progress of his disciples. To Jesus, or indeed any master teacher, the only meaningful consideration when choosing among teaching devices is: does it facilitate or impede learning? If it facilitates learning, it has value. If it does not, it is worthless.
Only Love Is Real
So, is it helpful to learn that only love is real? If your goal is the release from fear and self-created illusion, then yes, it is very helpful. Is it useful to learn that love is an all-encompassing power to which there is, in reality, no opposite? Once again, as a means of release from fear and illusion, a resounding yes is the only meaningful answer.
In its introduction, ACIM distills its entire lesson down to: “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.” Is there practical value in learning that these two short statements of principle are the gateway to the peace of God? If your goal is to know or experience the peace of God, then certainly there is value. For the teacher, the only meaningful evaluation is whether this particular form of lesson is effective in facilitating learning.
The Message Of The Crucifixion
In Chapter 6 of the text, titled “The Lessons of Love,” ACIM states: “The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear: Teach only love, for that is what you are.” Jesus knew this lesson well. In truth, it is the only lesson he taught, over and over again in many different forms. ACIM maintains that even Judas’ seeming betrayal and Jesus’ subsequent crucifixion are ultimately positive learning devices, if understood correctly. Obviously, understanding this lesson represents a huge shift in perception. We may stumble at first in trying to see how apparent betrayal and extreme punishment can be used to teach only love; however, it need not be this way.
A major purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to teach humankind’s fundamental unity with God. Jesus knew this to be true so profoundly that he understood Judas could never betray him. The only way Judas could have betrayed Jesus was to somehow talk God into abandoning Jesus. Since this is fundamentally impossible, no betrayal ever took place. Since no betrayal occurred, there is no grievance that requires forgiveness. Therefore, Jesus’ only appropriate response was to continue loving Judas as one of his cherished apostles.
Teach Only Love, For That Is What You Are
Jesus knew beyond doubt that he and the Father are One, and that nothing, even apparent betrayal and crucifixion, could break that bond. Had Judas learned this lesson as well as Jesus did, he would have found no cause to feel guilt and shame, nor to take his own life. By using such an extreme form of lesson to teach only love, Jesus provides us with a positive demonstration of how we are to respond to people and circumstances where we may feel extremely aggrieved or betrayed. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.“
Like Jesus, we too are created in the image and likeness of God. God being love; therefore, we too are love. Love is the foundation upon which our true spiritual identity is born. It is what we are. Why would we ever want to teach something that we are not? It makes no sense. If we simply maintain fidelity with our true nature, which is love, then, like Jesus, we cannot fail to teach the most meaningful lesson possible. Teach only love, for that is what you are. This is the practical application of the principle. Our part is to make no exceptions in the application of the principle. In every circumstance with every person, even the ones who seem to most grievously offend our sensibilities, or injure our lives, the only practical response is to teach only love, for that is what you are.