Acting Like Jesus

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

“… love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and a thankful mind. God enters easily, for these are the true conditions for your homecoming.” (M-23.4:6)

There is a lot of anger in our world right now. Whether it be attacks in the Middle East or in our own backyards, hate and grievances fill the air. Calls for retribution abound. You attack me so I must attack back even harder. You hold me accountable for my actions so I say you are a liar and attack not only you but your children and any family members I can find on social media. Is this really the world we want to live in?

Anyone can destroy, but building something up, something helpful, beautiful, and unifying, takes willingness and vigilance. It may not always be easy, but it is healing. If we want a homecoming to God as the above quote states, then love and understanding need to lead the way. This does not mean we are not accountable for our actions or that others need not be accountable. Mistakes need correction, but we are always asked to let love lead the way. That is the only way for our homecoming to God, no matter how much you or others may think you have been unfairly treated.

Remember the little bracelets that were so popular a few years ago — the ones with the initials WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). Their popularity was more in traditional fundamentalist churches, but they are not a fundamentalist thought. We should all be thinking WWJD; after all, he was and is a way-shower, an example to live by. He is here to help us.

Jesus lived through some very difficult times, but his message was always for love and healing. His harshest words were for the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of the time, who he did not see as being the ministers of compassion and support that they were meant to be for their people. In the book of Matthew, he called the leaders who stood in their temples praying loudly just so they could be seen and praised by others, hypocrites. He continued in the same gospel, saying, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

This is the same message Jesus gives us now in A Course in Miracles. It is not about showing off, but quiet contemplation and support for your brothers, who are yourself. Jesus also has a similar take on prayer in the Course. He tells us that God does not hear our words but the prayers of our hearts. So if our prayers or our religious “speak” is just for others, it might be why those with this intent are always so angry and have no peace. As the Course tells us, the Biblical quote, “Many are called but few are chosen,” really should be, “‘All are called but few choose to listen.’ The ‘chosen ones’ are merely those who choose right sooner. Right minds can do this now, and they will find rest unto their souls. God knows you only in peace, and this is your reality.” (T3.IV.7)

We are not listening if there is no desire for peace in our prayer but only a display. God knows us only in our reality of peace, so the way to get into the flow of truth would be to make the peace of God our one goal. As it says in the Course,

“The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide where I am not at home.” (W-205)

So what would Jesus do if he were here now? First off, He is here! As we are told in the Course,

“When I said ‘I am with you always,’ I meant it literally. I am not absent to anyone in any situation.” (T-7.III.1)

He and his messenger, the Holy Spirit, are busily helping and comforting us daily. He would not be blaming others or pointing fingers. He would not distance himself from the fray, but rather, he would be there in the midst of it all — walking in peace and offering his silent blessings. I think he would be grateful to be the spark of love that could help another, and he would feel joy when he saw someone show kindness. And, when the stress of situations causes someone to be unkind, I think he would show compassion, recognizing that their fear was only a call for love – and love was the answer.

I started to realize that it wasn’t so hard to think like Jesus, but the real challenge would be to act like him. A Course in Miracles says,

“It cannot be that it is hard to do the task that Christ appointed you to do, since it is He Who does it.” (T-25.I.1)

This statement means that we must want to walk the way of love, but not decide we know where the journey should lead us. We are asked to look at our thoughts of judgment, resentment, anger, and even slight irritation and ask the Holy Spirit for help — so we might see the situation as Christ would see it. Our job is to look and let a new way of responding come into our awareness.

A beautiful prayer in the Course says,

“I do not know what anything including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.” (T-14.XI.6:7)

This section then goes on to say,

“By this refusal to attempt to teach yourself what you do not know, the Guide Whom God has given you will speak to you. He will take His rightful place in your awareness the instant you abandon it, and offer it to Him. You cannot be your guide to miracles, for it is you who made them necessary.” (ibid)

This really is a process of releasing and remembering. We need to release our control over the situation and remember the One Who truly is in control. Let us accept God’s Answer and direction through the Guide He has given us, for it will be the one that brings us peace.

How do you know if you are listening to His Voice? How do you feel? The answer is so beautifully given in this passage in the Course:

“How can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way to hell? Quite easily. How do you feel? Is peace in your awareness? Are you certain which way you go? And are you sure the goal of Heaven can be reached? If not, you walk alone. Ask, then, your Friend to join with you, and give you certainty of where you go.” (T-23.II.22)

If we want to know God’s will for us, we will. If we want to feel His peace, we will. If we want to experience His love in our lives, we will. For it is here, right now with us. Let this moment now be one where we honestly look at where our thoughts are spending time — in judgment or forgiveness, in love or fear.

The choice where we will live is up to us: in the peace of God, accepting every life experience as an opportunity — a holy encounter — or in the pain of the ego expecting circumstances and people to change before we can be happy and at peace. If we begin to look at life from this perspective, is it really that hard to act like Jesus and experience our true homecoming?

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