The first 2 paragraphs of today’s lesson are entirely uncompromising. They are a complete confrontation with your self. It is the beauty of A Course In Miracles: you are always directed to your own mind, always asked to look at the action of your mind, the thoughts you think and that you give all power.
Here is the second step we take to free your mind from the belief in outside force pitted against your own. You make attempts at kindness and forgiveness. Yet you turn them to attack again, unless you find external gratitude and lavish thanks. Your gifts must be received with honor, lest they be withdrawn. And so you think God’s gifts are loans at best; at worst, deceptions which would cheat you of defenses, to ensure that when He strikes He will not fail to kill.
When you look at your mind honestly, you know that this is exactly what you do. You try to be kind, you fail at it in some way, and so you change your behavior. It is always directed outward, always focused on what you believe to be outside of you. Your acts of kindness have no true source, they come from a completely chaotic perception, from an entirely unstable thought system.
How easily are God and guilt confused by those who know not what their thoughts can do. Deny your strength, and weakness must become salvation to you. See yourself as bound, and bars become your home. Nor will you leave the prison house, or claim your strength, until guilt and salvation are not seen as one, and freedom and salvation are perceived as joined, with strength beside them, to be sought and claimed, and found and fully recognized.
This is all an action in your mind. What you experience and what you decide upon depends entirely on what you see, on where your focus lies. This is why the experience that to give and to receive are one is extremely important for you. Because once you recognize this, you will know that you only give to yourself. And in that experience you become more careful at what it is you give, what it is you extend. Because you know that when you condemn your brother you condemn yourself, that when you release your brother you release yourself.
The world must thank you when you offer it release from your illusions. Yet your thanks belong to you as well, for its release can only mirror yours. Your gratitude is all your gifts require, that they be a lasting offering of a thankful heart, released from hell forever. Is it this you would undo by taking back your gifts, because they were not honored? It is you who honor them and give them fitting thanks, for it is you who have received the gifts.
As you go inward, in your experience of your True Source that is God, and you extend from this holy altar in you, everything changes. This is because the world is a reflection of your mind. As you release your brother from the perception you have placed upon him, you experience the freedom of this release. But it is not until you actually experience this, that you will know it to be true. Until then, it is just words. A Course In Miracles does not offer a lofty experience, it is a very reasonable course. It is trying to bring you to a place where salvation is reasonable to you.
It does not matter if another thinks your gifts unworthy. In his mind there is a part that joins with yours in thanking you. It does not matter if your gifts seem lost and ineffectual. They are received where they are given. In your gratitude are they accepted universally, and thankfully acknowledged by the Heart of God Himself. And would you take them back, when He has gratefully accepted them?
This releases you entirely from looking for reflections of gratitude and lavish thanks. It may not look that way. But you don’t have to be concerned about it. Your gifts are always received. Don’t worry about appearances. Your gifts are received in you.
God blesses every gift you give to Him, and every gift is given Him, because it can be given only to yourself. And what belongs to God must be His Own. Yet you will never realize His gifts are sure, eternal, changeless, limitless, forever giving out, extending love and adding to your never-ending joy while you forgive but to attack again.
Withdraw the gifts you give, and you will think that what is given you has been withdrawn. But learn to let forgiveness take away the sins you think you see outside yourself, and you can never think the gifts of God are lent but for a little while, before He snatches them away again in death. For death will have no meaning for you then.
You never have to look any further than your own mind. Never, ever. In every encounter, in every situation, take responsibility for it. Let this be a total experience in your mind. You will be astonished at what happens in you. And you will immediately let it go, and make room for all that God is giving you each moment. This is the adventure. This is the excitement. It is not ego based at all, it is completely divine and always given.
Thanks be to you, the holy Son of God. For as you were created, you contain all things within your Self. And you are still as God created you. Nor can you dim the light of your perfection. In your heart the Heart of God is laid. He holds you dear, because you are Himself. All gratitude belongs to you, because of what you are.
You are as God created you. Period. End of story. This is the experience that is offered you every instant. Any grievance, any defense, any thought not of God blocks the experience. And this is where your awakening is entirely up to you. Let no idle thoughts come between you and your Father, no matter how beautiful and lofty they seem to be, let those go as well. God is reasonable. It is the part of your mind where things simply make sense, effortlessly. This is what you are offered today. And today you will receive it.
Give thanks as you receive it. Be you free of all ingratitude to anyone who makes your Self complete. And from this Self is no one left outside. Give thanks for all the countless channels which extend this Self. All that you do is given unto Him. All that you think can only be His Thoughts, sharing with Him the holy Thoughts of God. Earn now the gratitude you have denied yourself when you forgot the function God has given you. But never think that He has ever ceased to offer thanks to you.