God’s peace and joy are mine.
God’s peace and joy are yours. Today we will accept them, knowing they belong to us. And we will try to understand these gifts increase as we receive them. They are not like to the gifts the world can give, in which the giver loses as he gives the gift; the taker is the richer by his loss. Such are not gifts, but bargains made with guilt. The truly given gift entails no loss. It is impossible that one can gain because another loses. This implies a limit and an insufficiency.
No gift is given thus. Such “gifts” are but a bid for a more valuable return; a loan with interest to be paid in full; a temporary lending, meant to be a pledge of debt to be repaid with more than was received by him who took the gift. This strange distortion of what giving means pervades all levels of the world you see. It strips all meaning from the gifts you give, and leaves you nothing in the ones you take.
A major learning goal this course has set is to reverse your view of giving, so you can receive. For giving has become a source of fear, and so you would avoid the only means by which you can receive. Accept God’s peace and joy, and you will learn a different way of looking at a gift. God’s gifts will never lessen when they are given away. They but increase thereby.
As Heaven’s peace and joy intensify when you accept them as God’s gift to you, so does the joy of your Creator grow when you accept His joy and peace as yours. True giving is creation. It extends the limitless to the unlimited, eternity to timelessness, and love unto itself. It adds to all that is complete already, not in simple terms of adding more, for that implies that it was less before. It adds by letting what cannot contain itself fulfill its aim of giving everything it has away, securing it forever for itself.
Today accept God’s peace and joy as yours. Let Him complete Himself as He defines completion. You will understand that what completes Him must complete His Son as well. He cannot give through loss. No more can you. Receive His gift of joy and peace today, and He will thank you for your gift to Him.
Today our practice periods will start a little differently. Begin today by thinking of those brothers who have been denied by you the peace and joy that are their right under the equal laws of God. Here you denied them to yourself. And here you must return to claim them as your own.
Think of your “enemies” a little while, and tell each one, as he occurs to you:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
Thus you prepare yourself to recognize God’s gifts to you, and let your mind be free of all that would prevent success today. Now are you ready to accept the gift of peace and joy that God has given you. Now are you ready to experience the joy and peace you have denied yourself. Now you can say, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” for you have given what you would receive.
You must succeed today, if you prepare your mind as we suggest. For you have let all bars to peace and joy be lifted up, and what is yours can come to you at last. So tell yourself, “God’s peace and joy are mine,” and close your eyes a while, and let His Voice assure you that the words you speak are true.
Spend your five minutes thus with Him each time you can today, but do not think that less is worthless when you cannot give Him more. At least remember hourly to say the words which call to Him to give you what He wills to give, and wills you to receive. Determine not to interfere today with what He wills. And if a brother seems to tempt you to deny God’s gift to him, see it as but another chance to let yourself receive the gifts of God as yours. Then bless your brother thankfully, and say:
My brother, peace and joy I offer you,
That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.
While God’s peace and joy are mine, in order to experience them I must be willing that everyone also share in these gifts. I must be willing to give these gifts, not to just those people in my circle of loved ones, but to all with no exceptions.
This lesson helps me see how special love and hate relationships work, and why we have them. When I think that giving is a loss, and receiving is taking, I approach giving and receiving with fear. Jesus says that when I give as God gives, it will bring me only joy.
I apply this with no compromise. Everyone is deserving of God’s love and peace. The moment I exclude anyone for any reason, I have stopped giving as God gives. Giving will have lost its meaning for me. When I understand that we are one, I will understand the absurdity that I could withhold my gifts and not suffer for it.
I apply giving and receiving with only a desire to extend my Self. There can be no sense of loss unless I misuse this law and think that I can lose by giving. When I do this, I have stopped giving and begun to bargain. I will give only what I must to get what I want. When I do this, guilt enters into the equation and I have lost my joy. I wonder how much stress and conflict I create in my life by practicing giving as bargaining.
Oh, an example came to me. I wanted some help doing something over the weekend and my daughter was reluctant to help. My first thought was that I do much for her and this is such a little thing. I clamped down on that thought because it was so petty. Now I see it as a perfect example of giving to receive. I also see that I am blessed to be able to bring it back to mind so that I can be corrected rather than pushing it out of sight where it remains a block to love’s awareness.
My message from Holy Spirit
I was having a problem with the ego part of my mind that doesn’t want to see this issue differently, so I asked the Holy Spirit for help. He gave me a couple of things to look at today. One is to be aware of when I feel cheated, or taken advantage of in some way. This is a sure sign that I am giving to get.
The other was a question: Would I love you if you didn’t love me? If the answer is no, then what I am offering is not love, but a bargain which will be a poor substitute for love, and that will leave me feeling guilty and unworthy, or guilty and a thief if I come out on top. I will have stolen from you what is not rightfully mine.
He reminded me that I must be willing to relinquish my substitutes for God’s love to make room for the real thing. He also reminded me to let Him make the correction, because trying to change my behavior is not going to work. I only need to recognize when I am doing this and be willing to let Him work with me.
I guess we all probably know what it is to give with a sense of loss. If you ask me for money and I give it to you, I might feel like you gained and I lost, since you now have my money and I don’t. Eventually, I learn that money is just an effect of the mind and so if I lose money it is because I believe in loss, but until I know this, giving it away will feel like loss.
That’s where the idea of bargaining comes in. If I give you my money and I feel like it was a loss, I will expect something of value in return, if not the return of the money, then something else. Maybe I expect you to appreciate me. Maybe I expect admiration. Maybe I believe that I have banked a favor and I will call on that favor one day. If any of these things is true, then I have not given you anything. I have struck a bargain with you. I have exchanged one thing in expectation of a return.
Jesus is teaching us that true giving is the same as receiving. I’m going to stick with the idea of giving money. If I give you money as an expression of love, and if I know that money is just a thought made manifest and so cannot be limited, I can give truly. In fact, as I give without thought of loss and with a loving heart, I receive that lesson and it is strengthened in me. As I give I receive. This is the truth in every circumstance. If I give love I receive love, and love takes many forms. It might be my time or my understanding, or just my willingness to hear your story.
It works the other way, too. If I give through projecting my fear onto you, I receive that as well. Jesus says that giving is how we keep something. This is a hard lesson for us to learn because we setup this world just so that we could give away what we don’t want and convince ourselves that we no longer have it. Separation makes it easy to believe that I lose something when I give it away. But we must learn to undo what we did, and these lessons are helping us to do that. I may or may not believe that giving is gaining when I first do the lessons but Jesus told us we don’t have to believe, we only have to do them.
Having done so, I can testify that they work as he promised. I do understand that giving is how I keep something. I know this is true because I have allowed my mind to be healed to the point that I have been able to prove it to myself. I still forget this lesson and need to remind myself, but I always do so. Right now, today, I am going to remember all day long that I really want my brother to be happy. I want him to be peaceful and joyful and I want this to be my gift to him. All I need to do to make this happen is to not want anything else for him.
All weekend I teach A Course in Miracles. I am working with people who have a grasp on these principles and who truly want to learn this. It is very pleasant and uplifting. This morning I will go to work and the atmosphere is different. I have a choice. I can let the ego thinking that will be all around me pull me down. I can react to what goes on giving as I get and so teach myself loss, anger, fear, defensiveness. Or I can ask Holy Spirit to work through me to lift everyone else up. Whatever I teach I learn. What I give, I receive. How I feel at the end of the day will tell me which I chose to do.