Manual for Teachers: Section 13 . . WHAT IS THE REAL MEANING OF SACRIFICE? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 33 paragraph 3

Section 13


page 33, paragraph 3

What is the real meaning of sacrifice? ACIM Manual for Teachers 13

What is the real meaning of sacrifice?


3 Once this confusion has occurred, it becomes impossible for the mind to understand that all the “pleasures” of the world are nothing. 2But what a sacrifice,-and it is sacrifice indeed!-all this entails. 3Now has the mind condemned itself to seek without finding; to be forever dissatisfied and discontented; to know not what it really wants to find. 4Who can escape this self-condemnation? 5Only through God’s Word could this be possible. 6For self-condemnation is a decision about identity, and no one doubts what he believes he is. 7He can doubt all things, but never this.

Special Relationships

An example of a “pleasure” that I have valued and allowed to define me is the special relationship. The only enduring special relationship I have ever had is with my children. Even though I had considered myself a failure in many ways as a mom, my children persist in loving me and thinking well of me; I think even liking me. And yet, I have never felt secure in these relationships and since I value them above all else, I have gone to great lengths to keep them in place.

As I look at these relationships with the Holy Spirit I see that I have used bribery, sacrifice, martyrdom, guilt, and fear to bind my children to me. I remember when my youngest child graduated from college and moved away, I felt bereft, adrift and anxious. When a very short time later he needed my financial assistance I remember the flood of relief that came over me. That was my first clue that something was seriously sick in this relationship. But it would be a long time before I was able to look at my thoughts without judgment and allow the Holy Spirit to help me see what was going on.

Fear of Letting the Specialness Go

I have grasped these relationships so tightly and for so long that it has taken me a very long time to let them go. I am still letting go, but now it is easier because I see that the specialness I thought was precious was actually painful. It defined me in ways that diminished me, and in my desperation to hold onto it, I tried to teach those I loved that they were needy too. Specialness defines me as separate from others and holds that belief in place. I believed in this definition of myself until I began to accept the Word of God through His Voice. Through the healing of my mind, I am letting go of my definition of my self and accepting His definition instead.

Healthier Relationships

Today I have a much healthier relationship with my children. I don’t know if they have even noticed a difference because the change had nothing to do with them, as it was all about me. I slowly, through vigilant mindfulness, watched my thoughts about these special relationships and accepted healing where I could. There is less pain now, less neediness, and more actual love. It is an ongoing project but I have no doubt of the outcome because I am not alone. The Holy Spirit works with me and guarantees my success. It is not the Will of God that I suffer.

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