What is Forgiveness?
The first theme we encounter in Part II of A Course in Miracles is forgiveness, a central principle in choosing love over fear. We have danced with forgiveness many times throughout our lessons, which has enabled us to retrain the mind in the concepts of sin, wrong doing, and the general need for forgiveness. It is our previous soul work that grants us the ability to read this part in A Course in Miracles in order to segue into the following lessons without hesitation or apprehension.
Since you first encountered the Course’s idea on forgiveness, have you not felt lighter and more peaceful? Perhaps you look around and see there is not as much to get revved up about or you have been more likely to let an aggression go, even one you have held onto for years. Reflect, when you read this passage on forgiveness, how it is vastly different from what you formerly thought of forgiveness and how this idea most likely resonates on such a deep level that you feel like this is something you knew all along at the core of your being. That is the miracle beyond the miracle of forgiveness, itself; the fact that you are recognizing an ancient truth that you are now coming to know and experience more and more. Celebrate how far you have traveled, even if it is just a step.
Forgiveness starts out as a weighty concept and practice. At first glance, it can be daunting. Remember? But as we have graduated through the lessons, we have come to see that forgiveness need not be efforted at all. It is merely opening our hands and handing any uncomfortable feelings or transgressions over to God. It is greeting each soul that has appeared to harm you, as a teacher. It is seeing the opportunity you have in each uncomfortable situation to claim your Divinity. We have come to learn that forgiveness is not forgiveness at all but a mere invitation to say, “I AM a Child of God.” It is not just about forgiving others but ourselves as well.
“Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven” (ACIM, Part II, 1. What is Forgiveness? 1:1-4).
Forgiveness, like love, is a peaceful process. It is seeing everyone and everything around you as a Child of God. How different would the world be if we greeted everyone as the Light he or she is? There would be no need for war, famine, or a class system. We would recognize that as Children of God, we were born at the same time and for the same purpose, to love.
“Forgiveness on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not” (ACIM Part II, 1. What is Forgiveness? 4:1-3).
I recently went on a pilgrimage where I relied on the kindness of others. I was struck at how often we look for the worst parts in our fellow man and woman, first. Out of our own defense and perception of safety we have created the habit of seeing our fellow brothers and sisters as a potential threat. We often expect another to do a “song and dance” to prove worthy of our love and trust. But what if we did away with the need to forgive, even of our first passing judgement, and just saw one another as we truly are, as Children of God? What if we started to claim that about ourselves? What a difference that would make in the world, and all it requires is seeing the Truth. It is that simple.
In experiencing your own forgiveness, you give that gift to the world. Although we may feel someone has wronged us, it really comes down to what we can learn from the experience. Often, we recognize that our transgressor has led us to look at our greatest fears: death, not being enough, the frailty of the body, etc. If we are infinite beings of love and light, what is there to harm? If we are eternal beings, how can death be a real option? If we are created like Love, how can we be anything other than?
As with our other teachings on forgiveness, I will add that this does not mean that you must stay in a harmful situation for the “lesson of it.” Not at all. Please do what you need to do to be safe and to take care of yourself. In taking care of yourself, you are claiming your divinity. You can thank your teacher and head on your way. The awakening process is not about continuing to give ourselves “forgiveness lessons,” but to move beyond forgiveness to a place where we abide in only love and surround ourselves with only love.
Our lessons to follow are not to be memorized or philosophized. They are to be experienced. As you show up to hear the Voice of God, you come in trust. Trust that you will be guided. Trust that you are the infinite, eternal being of love that you have always been told you were. That is why forgiveness and all the other concepts take no effort, because in your natural state, you are all that you have been waiting for, The Comforter, The Creator, The Divine Love of All.
“Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success” (ACIM, Part II, 1. What is Forgiveness? 5:1).
Like God, forgiveness needs not your effort but your complete release and trust. Let this be shown to you throughout the following lessons as you experience goes beyond knowing into BE-ing. Namaste.
Previous Lessons on Forgiveness: