In chapter 19 of A Course in Miracles, Jesus addresses his readers as follows: “Where I am made welcome, there I am. I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me.” (T-19.IV-A.16:6-17:1) This puzzles many students. Why would I have to forgive Jesus, and for what? Isn’t he the ultimate teacher whom I love above all else; the one whom I plead to be my guide so that I will eventually learn to accept the Atonement and finally choose to be right-minded all the time?
One might well ask the same question about why the biblical figure we call Jesus was murdered by crucifixion some two thousand years ago. After all, wasn’t he the savior back then as well? The trouble is that Jesus — and he realized this very well himself back then — awoke the slumbering, repressed guilt of those he addressed. In the deep unconscious part of the iceberg we call the mind, everyone feels guilty over having separated from God, from Oneness, from Love. We all repress this guilt out of our awareness because we find it too horrible to face, fueled by the imagined fear of God’s wrathful retaliation. Yet what is repressed is by definition projected out; and so we spend our days trying to see guilt in everyone and everything around us, just so we don’t have to face it in ourselves.
Imagine, then, how these people would react to the appearance of this gentle man called Jesus, who is not only introduced as the one and only Son of God, but also attests to this divine role by performing one miracle after another. The same projection dynamic then dictates that the mind will (unconsciously) reason as follows: “Hey, there‘s the innocence that we thought we threw away at the separation, but he obviously stole it from us! We didn’t commit the sin of stealing love; he stole from us what should be rightfully ours! He‘s the culprit!” As Jesus explains in chapter 19: “I became the symbol of your sin, and so I had to die instead of you. To the ego sin means death, and so atonement is achieved through murder.” (T-19.IV-A.17:3).
This dynamic is no different in our days; in form, perhaps, but not in content. When we study and practice A Course in Miracles, and slowly learn not to skip the passages we dislike, we read Jesus bluntly stating that “This world was made as an attack on God” (W-pII.3.2:1); “It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity” (T-27.VIII.6:5), and “You want your Father, not a little mound of clay [i.e., the body], to be your home” (T-19.IV-B.4:8). Jesus is in effect telling us that everything we think we are does not really exist. My body, my personality, my values, my grievances, my age, my sex, my possessions, everything I hold dear; it’s all make believe because I’m still convinced I can exist apart from my Creator, even though deep down I suspect I am an exile here (W-pI.182.1:1-2). Well, I may be a miserable sinner, but at least I exist. Or so I believe.
This is why nobody likes Jesus and his message; back then, and now. Or, as Ken Wapnick put it in his final workshop (2013): “We want to smack him!” We want to scream at him: “Take me seriously, dammit! Don’t you know I’m in pain? Take my hurt seriously! Take my anger seriously!” Jesus, however, just keeps on smiling gently, knowing that nothing at all has happened in reality to disturb the eternal peace of God. We just don’t want to hear him reminding us of the fact that we are “the dreamer of the dream” (T-27.VII.13:1) we call the physical universe, that “you are doing this [i.e., all our pain] to yourself” (T-27.VIII.10:1), and, above all, that “my salvation comes from me [i.e., myself]” (W-pI.70). Jesus is telling us, in effect, not only that our pointing fingers at others to see guilt solely outside of us is useless, but that our very belief that we exist as an individual is a joke. And nobody likes to be told he’s a joke.
So when Jesus asks us to forgive him, he is really asking us to forgive the projected image we unconsciously made of him in our mind. Remember, Jesus is not some divine external being who watches and judges our doings; he is, rather, a symbol of the eternal Love (capital L) that knows not of condemnation, exclusion, or separation. Or, as Jesus describes himself in the text: “I am the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and when you see me it will be because you have invited Him” (T-12.VII.6:1; M-6.1). Since the Holy Spirit is already always present in everyone’s mind, “inviting Him in” really means “accepting Him as our mind’s guide instead of the ego”. Therefore, if I fear Jesus’ message telling me that I, as separated individual, do not really exist, what I really fear is accepting my Identity as formless Love, which Jesus tells me I would re-experience once I would choose to “see the face of Christ in all my brothers and remember God” (M-6.2:1), ending my individuality.
A Course in Miracles is a lifelong curriculum in training the mind to “seek and find all of the barriers that you have built against love” (T-16.IV.6:1-2). The problem is not that I wouldn’t want to experience Jesus’ eternal love; the problem is that I demand I can experience that as an autonomous individual. I want God to notice me as an individual, which is impossible because the whole tiny mad idea of individuality is a joke. This is why we hate Jesus and his damned Course. When Jesus says in chapter 19 that “I am made welcome in the state of grace, which means you have at last forgiven me”, he means that I have at last forgiven myself for my silly belief in duality (time; space; bodies; individuality), and that I want, above all else, to experience something much, much better: bringing the mind’s focus to the real world, which heralds the end of attack, pain, and death; but also the end of my deeply cherished ‘little mound of clay’.
Forgiving Jesus means forgiving ourselves for stubbornly answering the question “Do you prefer that you be right or happy?” (T-29.VII.1:9) with the foolhardy answer: “I want to be right. I think I know better than God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit”. Once we really contemplate, as workbook lesson 91 would have us do, the question: “I am not a body. What am I?” (W-pI.91.5:2), we recall Jesus’ loving promise in chapter 1 of the text: “There is nothing about me that you cannot attain. I have nothing that does not come from God. The difference between us now is that I have nothing else. This leaves me in a state which is only potential in you.” (T-1.II.3:10-13). Indeed, “My salvation comes from me” (W-pI.70); once I forgive myself for wanting to be right at the expense of happiness; once I decide that above all else I want to see (W-pI.27), and that the Holy Spirit will guide me, at my own pace, to the state in which I attain all that Jesus was, is, and forever will be: my Self; Christ; the One Son of God. Happy practicing!
See also my “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at Amazon.com:
See also my Feb. 2019 Course workshop at www.youtube.com called “Farewell to your self, to find your true Self”. (English captions/subtitles available)
Dutch visitors may also be interested in this Dutch page: ikzoekvrede.nl.