I. The Message of the Crucifixion, P 14
If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the “wrath of God” as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.
This is a very helpful interpretation of how we got the meaning of the crucifixion so wrong. It seems clear to me now that Jesus was teaching us that nothing is beyond forgiveness and that we are invulnerable to attack. He was teaching us that there is only one way to respond to anyone and that is with the love that we are. It was a call to peace.
But the Apostles saw it as an attack and they wanted to retaliate. They couldn’t do anything and so called on the wrath of God as their weapon. Anyone who does not understand and embrace the perfect love they are will have this same experience when they are afraid. They will also react with anger because they are afraid.
Yesterday when I was angry with a co-worker it was because of my own imperfect love, which, as Jesus explains, made me vulnerable to projection. Because I still fail to see love as all encompassing, I imagine that some things are outside of love and thus feel open to attack. I tried to defend myself through retaliation, thinking of stinging retorts, even wishing him to be fired so I wouldn’t have to deal with him anymore.
I no longer think in terms of the “wrath of God” but yesterday, at least until I accepted the Atonement, I absolutely felt that wrath should come from somewhere, maybe from my boss or if not him, then at least from my ill wishes. I knew that this was not of God and so I felt guilty for my thoughts, and guilt leads to anger. I wanted him to be guilty, not me, and that I felt guilty anyway just increased the anger.
This really isn’t different from the crucifixion as Jesus talks about it here. I crucified myself with my wrong-minded thoughts and I suffered for it. I wanted to crucify the co-worker in an attempt to avoid my own crucifixion (projection). I had the same motivations and experienced the same emotional reactions, as did the Apostles at Jesus’ crucifixion. Thanks to Jesus we have a way out of this kind of thinking and I am very grateful this is so.
I am also grateful that this little war took place in my mind only. It is through the grace of God that there has been enough healing in my mind that I can usually resolve these misunderstandings within myself before I allow them to take form. Not always, but usually. However, if I put it off and don’t ask for the Atonement right away, these thoughts will show themselves and then I have to deal with the aftermath.
I truly have no desire to bring myself or anyone else more deeply into the illusion. Jesus asks us not to set our brothers back on their path and if I attack a brother, even if the attack appears as a defense, then I am making it harder for both of us to move into forgiveness. When I defend myself against any apparent attack this makes the attack seem real with real effects. I am teaching something I am going to regret learning, and I am not, by any means, being truly helpful to either of us.
It is time to stop repeating the crucifixion over and over. This is not helping. I ask that my mind be healed of this insane reaction to someone’s call for love. Yesterday when I asked for the Atonement in this situation with my co-worker, I was shown his fear, which expressed itself as anger and defense. A call for love like this must be answered with love if we are ever to know ourselves as the love we are.
Thanks to the healing that took place in my mind yesterday, I will never again look at this brother as if he were outside the love of God. I will recognize his anger and frustration as the call for love that it is and will respond to that call rather than to his words. I’m not putting myself back on that cross again, nor am I putting him there. Thank you, God!