Taking Jesus' Hand: Exchanging Our Gifts for His, Part III

By Kenneth Wapnick

Excerpted from pp. 237-238 of Volume One (All Are Called) of the two-volume work entitled 
The Message of A Course in Miracles, by Kenneth Wapnick, 
copyright 1997 by the Foundation for A Course in Miracles. 
Reproduced here with permission.

In a section from the text called "The Rewards of God," Jesus sounds like a learning theorist -- "Learning through rewards is more effective than learning through pain..." (T-4.VI.3:4) -- as he describes his method of helping us to choose him as our teacher instead of the ego. We cite a central paragraph:
How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away? He must have thrown it away because he did not value it. You can only show him how miserable he is without it, and slowly bring it nearer so he can learn how his misery lessens as he approaches it. This teaches him to associate his misery with its absence, and the opposite of misery with its presence. It gradually becomes desirable as he changes his mind about its worth. I am teaching you to associate misery with the ego and joy with the spirit. You have taught yourself the opposite. You are still free to choose, but can you really want the rewards of the ego in the presence of the rewards of God? (T-4.VI.5)
As long as we cling to the ego's hand we cannot take Jesus'. Indeed, we cling to the ego just because we do not want to take his. Therefore, taking Jesus by the hand means that we have already decided to value his gift of joy and not the ego's gift of misery. He explains further in the text:
When you unite with me you are uniting without the ego, because I have renounced the ego in myself and therefore cannot unite with yours. Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you. The truth in both of us is beyond the ego....

Would you know the Will of God for you? Ask it of me who know it for you and you will find it. I will deny you nothing, as God denies me nothing. Ours is simply the journey back to God Who is our home. Whenever fear intrudes anywhere along the road to peace, it is because the ego has attempted to join the journey with us and cannot do so. Sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative. You are invulnerable to its retaliation because I am with you. On this journey you have chosen me as your companion instead of the ego. Do not attempt to hold on to both, or you will try to go in different directions and will lose the way. (T-8.V.4:1-3; 5; italics mine except, for "instead" in 5:8, which is here put in bold).

I want to mention again that in this passage, as in most of A Course in Miracles for that matter, Jesus is anthropomorphizing the ego, making it sound as if the ego were a person, responding as any of us would. In truth, however, beyond these symbolic words is the expression of the fear of losing our individuality that would lead us to turn away from Jesus and through our attack --on others or on ourselves -- we succeed in protecting our specialness from the threat of Jesus and his peace. As he states in the manual for teachers:
God's peace can never come where anger is, for anger must deny that peace exists. Who sees anger as justified in any way or any circumstance proclaims that peace is meaningless, and must believe that it cannot exist. In this condition, peace cannot be found (M-20.3:3-5).
<=Back to Jesus' Hand, Part I



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