Does love require me to sacrifice?
There is a great confusion that intertwines love and sacrifice. It is this belief that if you love someone or something, you must make sacrifices for them or for it. This belief causes many problems. It is a confusion because love is of Spirit and sacrifice is of the ego. The ego believes that the only way to get something that you want is to give up something that you also want. We can call that a “win-lose” situation.
I want to begin with a short history of this perplexity. Most of you are familiar with the Judeo-Christian story, expressed both in the Old and the New Testaments. Let’s start with the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament. It is filled with sacrifice. God, or Yahweh, is constantly demanding something from the “chosen people”. Many are animal offerings, but in one particular story we have Abraham, the father of Judaism, being asked to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac, who had come to him late in life as a reward for his devotion to the one god. Abraham was told to take Isaac up the mountain for this surrender. Reluctantly he agreed. Sacrifice for the love of god. God lets him off the hook at the last moment. The message, however, is that the proof of love is a willingness to make sacrifice. This is found carried forward into Christian belief. There the doctrine is that Jesus gave himself, that god sacrificed his only son, to free us from our sins. Love and sacrifice. I want to remind you that no such thing actually happened with Jesus. There was no sacrifice involved. This was a gift of love freely given from Jesus’s heart, following the loving voice of Spirit. If you want to hear the truest expression of Jesus’s teachings, I recommend A Course in Miracles. If you read the New Testament, I suggest that you limit yourself to the words attributed to Jesus, and still use your discernment (see last month’s message).
I want you to know that the god of the Old Testament, who for many is also the god of the New Testament, is really the ego. It is not God. God never asks for sacrifice. How could an all-powerful, all-creative, all-loving God ever have a need that could only be filled by human sacrifice? It makes no sense whatsoever. It is a crazy thought. Sacrifice is an attack, not an expression of love. When you sacrifice for another, what you are communicating is that that person is not divine. You are affirming their helplessness. Only by the sacrifice of your blood can they survive, be happy, and prosper. What a story! This is an attack. An attack on another is really an attack on yourself. How can someone else not be divine unless you also are not divine? Every sacrifice you make is attack upon yourself.
You don’t usually offer blood sacrifices any more, although patriotism may ask that you give your life for your country. While some believe in giving their life for their country, others believe that they must be willing to surrender all to help the oppressed of the world. This is not to suggest that to aid another is an attack. Only when the action is offered in the spirit of sacrifice is it an attack. When you do for another out of the love in your heart, out of divine inspiration, it is not an attack. This is something you truly desire to do. It doesn’t matter to you how it is received, whether there is gratitude. It is done out of your joy and freely given.
Look at your relationships, especially your committed relationships. In what ways do you feel that you have to deny yourself in order to maintain a relationship? Or even to have it to begin with? How many women deny their independence, career aspirations, or freedom in order to have a relationship? How many men feel tied down, denying themselves, not allowed to be “real men” anymore because of a relationship? When children come along the feeling of the necessity for sacrifice increases.
The place to begin is by recognizing that sacrifice is not an expression of love, but is an attack. It is a byproduct of guilt. Your ego will tell you that you will lose everything if you do this. This voice will tell you that others are dependent upon your self-denial. Have the intention to stop making sacrifices. Ask Spirit to support you in strengthening your will to give up sacrificing and to always come from love. When the fear comes up – and it will – use the five-step process to help you transform it into love. When you are in a state of unconditional love you can clearly hear Spirit’s guidance.
When your ego is telling you that there are others out there depending upon your support, I want to remind you that it is all you. Everything that you see is you. If you perceive neediness that seems to require your sacrifice, that is your neediness. If someone tells you that if you really loved them, you would give them what they demand from you, it is your own ego that is speaking. How long will you believe that you have to thrash your own back in order to become pure enough for God? Sacrifice is self-flagellation. It is an attack upon yourself. This is why some people are terrified by love. The fear is that loving another will call you to a deep painful sacrifice. The only way to be free, in that case, is not to love. What a tangled web the ego weaves. Avoiding love will not bring an awareness of your divinity. If you stop sacrificing, instead committing to love and to transmuting fear into love, you will be able to hear Spirit directing you. This guidance will always lead you into love and out of sacrifice.
This is a great challenge. It is a fearful thing to give up sacrifice. The mass consciousness says that sacrifice might buy you redemption, might bring you forgiveness from God. But, it doesn’t work that way. Sacrifice only keeps you separate from God, who requires nothing from you and offers you everything. God only asks you to be your true self. Set yourself free.
God Blesses You,