What Is Forgiveness?
Now Is the Time!
There is nothing left to seek for in this world when it can be exchanged for another one. What a wonderful world there is to behold in forgiveness! No thought of gain or loss, winning or losing, success or failure, ever had any meaning. Fantasy is not real and dreaming is not being one. You are ready to awaken to oneness. And as you awaken the whole world awakens as well. For the world was never more than a misperception. As perception becomes whole, the single mind sees only wholeness. At last you are ready to see with inner vision, and you realize that physical sight was nothing but the illusion of being in the dark. The light has come and it is time to rejoice! It is time!
Teaching and learning true forgiveness is being aware that one is never upset by anything but erroneous thoughts, and that those erroneous thoughts can be released. True forgiveness is the release of all hurts and grievances and grudges that block the awareness of the divine love that is God-given and exists in everyone and everything. True forgiveness is releasing all anger, hatred, guilt and fear by seeing that they came from an error or mistaken belief that was only an attempt to forget the Love of God. Living and extending inner peace is the natural result of true forgiveness, for when error has been laid aside and a healing correction accepted in its place, peace prevails. To extend peace, one must be peaceful. To teach peace, one must have learned it. No one can offer a gift they do not already possess. Likewise, peace of mind cannot be found outside one’s own mind, for it depends not on the world. Peace comes from God and is a natural extension of God. Therefore prayer and meditation are advocated as means to inner peace and harmony. Religion is the experience of inner peace; and education, the unlearning of falsity, is but a means of coming to the experience of inner peace.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.
– Matthew, 5:8
Freely Christ has given His gospel to us to live and to give, and freely we have given and extended the gift. It is an honor and a joy to share the Love of God, and as Jesus once said the messenger “is worth his keep.” Everything we have ever thought we needed in serving God’s plan has been provided. Holy Spirit watches over all of us as we serve His plan, and we are always assured that this watchful care continues. He has been with us always as we carry on our simple mission. Whatever we have seemed to need, be it a car, a meal, a place to stay, or a calm, gentle reminder, all our needs have been met by Him. There is a calmness of heart in turning all perceived problems and needs over to Him and listening for His sure guidance.
We were brought together by God to serve His plan, to treat each other with dignity, respect, and kindness, and to awaken to our divine love. We approach our purpose for coming together with great reverence and devotion. It is the core of our life in God. Our relationship with Him is our relationship with everything and this is a time of prayer, devotion, and reflection on all that is of God. Our hearts know that love and kindness are the truth. We offer this to everyone, for we live and love as God lives and loves, unconditionally, all inclusively, and free of specialness. There is no jealousy or exclusion in love. We join with all in experiencing the all-inclusive nature of the family of God, where no brother or sister is seen as separate or apart from the whole of God. Our hearts are filled with love and gratitude for our relationship in God. We are glad that this joy is not dependent on where bodies seem to be or whether or not they seem to be together. We are created as a pure idea, and we are like our Source. We are Spirit as is God, and we are overflowing with thankfulness that this truth is dawning in the mind we share. Our walk together has been for the purpose of accepting our divine Source and laying aside all thought of the world as the source of anything.
We offer each other and God our willingness that we may remember to love and let go of any unloving thought that arises in mind. Our relationship in God is a fact. Let us remember to laugh together at false ideas, for they have no place in our holy mind. There are no private thoughts that are real, and in gentleness and meekness is the strength given us to overlook all illusions that would attempt to veil love. Let us join in love first and trust that all else will be subtracted. “By their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20) Joy, happiness, peace, and laughter are undeniable, for they come from our Source. Our focus always is releasing erroneous thinking and learning to think with God all the time. God’s Will for all is perfect happiness.
Fairness is the realization that giving and receiving are the same. In this awareness there is no loss, no gain, no greed, no lack, no accumulation, and no giving to get. Trust in God and fairness go hand in hand. There is no way to attempt to leave God out of awareness and experience fairness, for since God is all in all, fairness is as obvious as God is. The bottom line is trust in God, not money. The “price” of peace is not assets, for peace comes with humility, trust, surrender, and non-judgment. Security and stability do not come from owning, but from releasing all attack thoughts and grievances. A mind free of judgment is secure and stable in the knowledge of its Self. “I cannot be unfairly treated” is a statement of fairness in action, for true fairness is invulnerable. That which is of God needs no protection or defense.
All that I give is given to myself.
– A Course in Miracles
Integrity is of the mind. Integrity is based entirely on trust in God. When faith is placed in the laws of economics, the laws of nutrition, the laws of medicine or other false beliefs, the awareness and experience of integrity has been denied. Integrity rests on opening to our God-given function and not being ashamed or embarrassed to express our faith and trust in God in all aspects of living. If we have been in a closet of worldly beliefs and associations, integrity Calls us “out of the closet”, and beckons us to walk in light. Integrity is open and has nothing to hide, for it is an invitation to everyone to awaken to the Love of God. Honesty and integrity go hand in hand. Honesty is the relinquishment of judgment, attack, and blame, for innocence is what is true, and can never be found in blame and guilt. Happiness, joy, and peace are honest, for honesty is always based in truth. Honesty comes from the acceptance of God’s eternal law of love and the realization that God’s law of love is the only law there is. Integrity is non-compromising for it makes no bargains, seeks no middle ground or gray areas, and is not concerned with appearances or opinions. Integrity and listening to the Voice for God are synonymous, and therefore integrity seeks no “external” support or validation. The support of God is its sole requirement.
Holy relationship is content and not form of any kind. Holy relationship is based on trust in God and cannot be experienced apart from this trust. Holy relationship is inclusive, for everyone is welcome in its sight. Divine love is giving as God gives, freely and willingly and openly, without demands or limits or expectations. Holy relationship is a reflection of our divine union with God and as such is sacred. Holy relationship is a state of Mind, which gives of itself to everything and everyone, radiating to all creation forever and ever. Devoid of categorization, comparison, and the “personal,” Holy relationship aspires to the state of God’s grace in which there is only wholeness, completion, and perfection.
David Hoffmeister, The Tabula Rasa
The Justification for Forgiveness
From A Course in Miracles:
Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests and is but natural. You are not asked to offer pardon where attack is due and would be justified. For this would mean that you forgive a sin by overlooking what is really there. This is not pardon. For it would assume that, by responding in a way which is not justified, your pardon will become the answer to attack that has been made. And thus is pardon inappropriate, by being granted where it is not due.
Pardon is always justified. It has a sure foundation. You do not forgive the unforgivable nor overlook a real attack that calls for punishment. Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. Instead, it merely asks that you respond appropriately to what is not real by not perceiving what has not occurred. If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack. But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress which rests on error and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed.
This understanding is the only change that lets the real world rise to take the place of dreams of terror. Fear cannot arise unless attack is justified, and if it had a real foundation, pardon would have none. The real world is achieved when you perceive the basis of forgiveness is quite real and fully justified. While you regard it as a gift unwarranted, it must uphold the guilt you would “forgive.” Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons “sinners” sometimes but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives.
This is the false forgiveness, which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive. And recognizing God is just, it seems impossible His pardon could be real. Thus is the fear of God the sure result of seeing pardon as unmerited. No one who sees himself as guilty can avoid the fear of God. But he is saved from this dilemma if he can forgive. The mind must think of its Creator as it looks upon itself. If you can see your brother merits pardon, you have learned forgiveness is your right as much as his. Nor will you think that God intends for you a fearful judgment which your brother does not merit. For it is the truth that you can merit neither more nor less than he.
Forgiveness recognized as merited will heal. It gives the miracle its strength to overlook illusions. This is how you learn that you must be forgiven too. There can be no appearance that can not be overlooked. For if there were, it would be necessary first there be some sin which stands beyond forgiveness. There would be an error that is more than a mistake—a special form of error which remains unchangeable, eternal, and beyond correction or escape. There would be one mistake which had the power to undo creation and to make a world which could replace it and destroy the Will of God. Only if this were possible could there be some appearances which could withstand the miracle and not be healed by it.
There is no surer proof idolatry is what you wish than a belief there are some forms of sickness and of joylessness forgiveness cannot heal. This means that you prefer to keep some idols, and are not prepared as yet to let all idols go. And thus you think that some appearances are real and not appearances at all. Be not deceived about the meaning of a fixed belief that some appearances are harder to look past than others are. It always means you think forgiveness must be limited. And you have set a goal of partial pardon and a limited escape from guilt for you. What can this be except a false forgiveness of yourself and everyone who seems apart from you?
It must be true the miracle can heal all forms of sickness, or it cannot heal. Its purpose cannot be to judge which forms are real and which appearances are true. If one appearance must remain apart from healing, one illusion must be part of truth. And you could not escape all guilt, but only some of it. You must forgive God’s Son entirely. Or you will keep an image of yourself that is not whole and will remain afraid to look within and find escape from every idol there. Salvation rests on faith there cannot be some forms of guilt which you cannot forgive. And so there cannot be appearances which have replaced the truth about God’s Son.
Look on your brother with the willingness to see him as he is. And do not keep a part of him outside your willingness that he be healed. To heal is to make whole. And what is whole can have no missing parts that have been kept outside. Forgiveness rests on recognizing this and being glad there cannot be some forms of sickness which the miracle must lack the power to heal.
God’s Son is perfect, or he cannot be God’s Son. Nor will you know him if you think he does not merit the escape from guilt in all its forms and all its consequence. There is no way to think of him but this if you would know the truth about yourself.
I thank you, Father, for your perfect Son,
and in his glory will I see my own.
Here is the joyful statement that there are no forms of evil which can overcome the Will of God—the glad acknowledgment that guilt has not succeeded by your wish to make illusions real. And what is this except a simple statement of the truth?
Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is his Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance? T-30.VI