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4 For teaching purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. We have not dwelt on it before because of its fearful connotations. The only emphasis we laid upon it was that it was not a form of punishment. Nothing, however, can be really explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion which is wholly devoid of fear and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches if it is properly understood. The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be and has been misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully.
5 I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision and thus make it stronger. I also told you that the crucifixion was the last foolish journey that the Sonship need take and that it should mean release from fear to anyone who understands it. While we emphasized only the resurrection before, the purpose of the crucifixion and how it actually led to the resurrection was not clarified at that time. Nevertheless, it has a definite contribution to make to your own lives, and if you will consider it without fear, it will help you understand your own role as teachers.
6 You have reacted for years as if you were being crucified. This is a marked tendency of the separated ones, who always refuse to consider what they have done to themselves. Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, and assault promotes fear. The real meaning of the crucifixion lies in the apparent intensity of the assault of some of the Sons of God upon another. This, of course, is impossible and must be fully understood as an impossibility. In fact unless it is fully understood as only that, I cannot serve as a real model for learning.
7 Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, then anything that is destructible cannot be real. Therefore, its destruction does not justify anger. To the extent to which you believe that it does, you must be accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message which the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.
8 I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourselves as persecuted if you choose. You might remember, however, when you do choose to react that way, that I was persecuted as the world judges and did not share this evaluation for myself. And because I did not share it, I did not strengthen it. I therefore offered a different interpretation of attack and one which I do want to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help me to teach it.
9 We have said before, “As you teach, so shall you learn.” If you react as if you are persecuted, you are teaching persecution. This is not a lesson which the Sons of God should want to teach if they are to realize their own salvation. Rather, teach your own perfect immunity, which is the truth in you, and know that it cannot be assailed. Do not protect it yourselves, or you have believed that it is assailable. You are not asked to be crucified, which was part of my own teaching contribution. You are merely asked to follow my example in the face of much less extreme temptations to misperceive and not to accept them falsely as justifications for anger.
10 There can be no justification for the unjustifiable. Do not believe there is, and do not teach that there is. Remember always that what you believe you will teach. Believe with me, and we will become equal as teachers. Your resurrection is your reawakening. I am the model for rebirth, but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your minds of what is already in them. God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever. I believed in it and therefore made it forever true for me. Help me to teach it to our brothers in the name of the Kingdom of God, but first believe that it is true for you, or you will teach amiss.
11 My brothers slept during the so-called “agony in the garden,” but I could not be angry with them because I had learned I could not be abandoned. Peter swore he would never deny me, but he did so three times. He did offer to defend me with the sword, which I naturally refused, not being at all in need of bodily protection. I am sorry when my brothers do not share my decision to hear only one voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. Yet I know that they cannot really betray themselves or me and that it is still on them that I must build my church.
12 There is no choice in this because only you can be the foundation of God’s church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes it a church. Any church which does not inspire love has a hidden altar which is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. I must found His church on you because you who accept me as a model are literally my disciples. Disciples are followers, but if the model they follow has chosen to save them pain in all respects, they are probably unwise not to follow him.
13 I elected both for your sake and mine to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault as judged by the ego did not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was perfectly clear that this was only because of the projection of others, because I had not harmed anyone and had healed many. We are still equal as learners, even though we need not have equal experiences. The Holy Spirit is glad when you can learn enough from mine to be re-awakened by them. That was their only purpose, and that is the only way in which I can be perceived as the Way, the Truth, and the Light.
14 When you hear only one voice, you are never called on to sacrifice. On the contrary, by enabling yourselves to hear the Holy Spirit in others, you can learn from their experiences and gain from them without experiencing them yourselves. That is because the Holy Spirit is one, and anyone who listens is inevitably led to demonstrate His way for all. You are not persecuted, nor was I. You are not asked to repeat my experiences, because the Holy Spirit, Whom we share, makes this unnecessary. To use my experiences constructively, however, you must still follow my example in how to perceive them.
15 My brothers and yours are constantly engaged in justifying the unjustifiable. My one lesson, which I must teach as I learned, is that no perception which is out of accord with the judgment of the Holy Spirit can be justified. I undertook to show this was true in a very extreme case merely because it would serve as a good teaching aid to those whose temptations to give in to anger and assault would not be so extreme. I will with God that none of His Sons should suffer.
16 Remember that the Holy Spirit is the communication link between God the Father and His separated Sons. If you will listen to His Voice, you will know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves. When you perceive only this need in them and do not respond to any other, you will have learned of me and will be as eager to share your learning as I am. The crucifixion cannot be shared, because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing, because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know its wholeness. Only this is knowledge.
17 The message of the crucifixion is [very simple and] perfectly clear:
18 Teach only love, for that is what you are.
19 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 always for the same reason that makes anyone misunderstand anything. 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 own sense of guilt had made them angry.
20 There are two glaring examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, whose whole gospel is only the message of love. These are not like the several slips into impatience which I made. I had learned the Atonement prayer, which I also came to teach, too well to engage in upside-down thinking myself. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted me as saying, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” This is clearly the exact opposite of everything I taught.
21 Nor could they have described my reactions to Judas as they did if they had really understood me. They would have realized I could not have said, “Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” unless I believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that I did not. The “punishment” which I am said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar reversal. Judas was my brother and a Son of God, as much a part of the Sonship as myself. Was it likely that I would condemn him when I was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
22 I am very grateful to the Apostles for their teaching and fully aware of the extent of their devotion to me. Nevertheless, as you read their teachings, remember that I told them myself that there was much they would understand later because they were not wholly ready to follow me at the time. I emphasize this only because I do not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which I am guiding you. I do not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is “punished” for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners.
23 Any concept of “punishment” involves the projection of blame and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The behavior that results is a lesson in blame, just as all behavior teaches the beliefs which motivate it. The crucifixion was a complex of behaviors arising out of clearly opposed thought systems. As such, it [is] the perfect symbol of conflict between the ego and the Son of God. [It was as much intrapersonal as interpersonal then, just as it is now, and it is still just as real. But because it is just as real now, its lesson, too, has equal reality when it is learned.] I do not need gratitude any more than I needed protection, but you need to develop your weakened ability to be grateful, or you cannot appreciate God. He does not need your appreciation, but you do.
24 You cannot love what you do not appreciate, and fear makes appreciation impossible. Whenever you are afraid of what you are, you do not appreciate it and will therefore reject it. As a result, you will teach rejection. The power of the Sons of God is operating all the time because they were created as creators. Their influence on each other is without limit and must be used for their joint salvation. Each one must learn to teach that all forms of rejection are utterly meaningless. The separation is the notion of rejection. As long as you teach this, you still believe it. This is not as God thinks, and you must think as He thinks if you are to know Him again.
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