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II.  SECTION 8.  What is the Real World?

Lesson 297.  Forgiveness Is The Only Gift I Give

  1. Forgiveness is the only gift I give because it is the only gift I want.  And everything I give I give myself.  This is salvation’s simple formula.  And I, who would be saved, would make it mine, to be the way I live within a world that needs salvation, and that will be saved as I accept Atonement for myself.
  2. Father, how certain are Your ways; how sure their final outcome, and how faithfully is every step in my salvation set already and accomplished by Your grace.  Thanks be to You for Your eternal gifts, and thanks to You for my Identity.[1]
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There are times I get a bit peeved with A Course in Miracles – repeating the same lessons, changing the wording a bit here and there, but still the same thing.  This morning I caught myself thinking, Boy, am I glad the year in the Course is going to be over soon!  Here we go again, another lesson on forgiveness.

While some people find repetition reassuring and calming, I get bored and cranky with it.  Tell me something new!  Can we go beyond forgiveness, please?  But this is mind-training, Holy Spirit reminds me.  Any great athlete, writer, scientist, any professional in any kind of field at all, realizes that repetition, practice, and becoming one with the chosen goal is the only way to accomplishment.  Of course, I said.  Of course. Forgive my ignorance, my arrogance. 

I realize that forgiveness is indeed the only gift I give to receive.  Beyond my basic human ego needs, which are wearyingly multitudinous, forgiveness is all I crave and the only thing I give to receive.  For example, when I give my brother a few dollars, he is a few dollars richer, and I have a few dollars less.  But when I wrap up forgiveness and tie it with a pretty bow and offer it to my brother, not because he is especially evil, but simply because he is in a separated state from God, I forgive myself for being in the same state.  I cannot accept that beautiful package of forgiveness until I give it to my brother.  It is the most loving gift we can offer one another here in the illusion because it establishes our mutual and true Identity in God. 

As long as I dwell upon the lies, spite, greed, mockery, inhospitality, meanness, crude unmannerly ways, and general lack of goodness in my fellow human beings, I am not only denying their Sonship, but refusing to recognize my Self as the Son of God I was created to be.  Whether the brother I offer forgiveness to accepts it or not, when I give it to him, it is mine!  He cannot snatch it out of my hand and refuse to reciprocate.  He cannot refuse to acknowledge it and toss it aside.  When I recognize him as a Son of God and forgive the role that he plays in the ego in this realm, we are both forgiven.  For him to keep it, he offers it as well. 

In today’s lesson, we learn how to live in a world that needs salvation.  Silver and gold do not compare, roses and diamonds are not going to cut it – forgiveness is the only gift we give.  Within my circle of holy relationships, a brother is despised by his family for past wrongdoings.  Nothing he does to make up for those unfortunate events changes their attitude toward him.  Holy Spirit asks us to release this kind of relationship to Him.  This is not a sacrifice, for our Heavenly Father seeks not to be appeased.  We simply recognize the true nature of the special relationship, which withholds forgiveness and cherishes grudges.  We cannot heal them, but Holy Spirit promises to do just that when we give the gift of forgiveness and move on!

Dear Heavenly Father: Let me not grow tired of my lessons in forgiveness, for they teach me how to live in this world that needs salvation.  Let my heart and mind learn that Love seeks Love – Love does not seek spite and grudges and resentments.  Love seeks Love – Love does not exist in the vacuum of ego alliances that would use the past to project unto the present and future.   Love seeks Love – Love does not exist in the dishonesty of building cases against another and forming sides.  Love creates union, love overlooks, love understands.  Let forgiveness shine out through me and give itself to all, for mercy is the closest that we come to love in this ego world.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] A Course In Miracles, Workbook for Students, 297. Forgiveness is the only…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition, p. 447