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 there is no more use for it. 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 that?
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
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, obscuring its
identity and losing sight of what it really is.
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—and it is sacrifice indeed—all this entails!
Now has the mind condemned
to seek without
to be forever dissatisfied
to know not 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.
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
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 which its value
would demand of him. To them he sacrifices all his freedom. To them
he sacrifices all his peace. And to possess them must he sacrifice
his hope of Heaven and remembrance of his Father's Love.
Who in his sane mind
chooses nothing as a substitute for everything?
What is the real meaning
It is the cost of believing
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," remains this world's
stern decree, and no one who pursues the world's goals can do otherwise.
You may believe this
course requires sacrifice of all you really hold dear. In one sense
that 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
And what, oh 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 can but 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 would sacrifice
the truth, they stay in hell. And if they stay, you will remain
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
it is here the split with God occurs. A split that is impossible.
A split that cannot happen. Yet 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. It seems
to happen at the "sacrifice" of truth.
Teacher of God, do
not forget the meaning of sacrifice, and remember what each decision
you make must mean in terms of cost.
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.
What would you teach?
Remember only what you would learn. For it is here that your concern
should be. Atonement is for you. Your learning claims it, and your
learning gives it. The world contains it not, but 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?