Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
Lesson 60 Review of Lessons 46-50
- (46) God is the love in which I forgive.
God does not forgive because He has never condemned. The blameless cannot blame, and those who have accepted their innocence see nothing to forgive. Yet forgiveness is the means by which I will recognize my innocence. It is the reflection of God’s Love on earth. It will bring me near enough to heaven that the love of God can reach down to me and raise me up to Him.
- (47) God is the strength in which I trust.
It is not my own strength through which I forgive. It is through the strength of God in me, which I am remembering as I forgive. As I begin to see, I recognize His reflection on earth. I forgive all things because I feel the stirring of His strength in me. And I begin to remember the Love I chose to forget, but Which has not forgotten me.
- (48) There is nothing to fear.
How safe the world will look to me when I can see it! It will not look anything like what I imagine I see now. Everyone and everything I see will lean toward me to bless me. I will recognize in everyone my dearest friend. What could there be to fear in a world that I have forgiven, and that has forgiven me?
- (49) God’s Voice speaks to me all through the day.
There is not a moment in which God’s Voice ceases to call on my forgiveness to save me. There is not a moment in which His Voice fails to direct my thoughts, guide my actions, and lead my feet. I am walking steadily on toward truth. There is nowhere else I can go because God’s Voice is the only Voice and the only guide that has been given to His Son.
- (50) I am sustained by the love of God.
I listen to God’s Voice; I am sustained by His Love. As I open my eyes, His Love lights up the world for me to see. As I forgive, His Love reminds me that His Son is sinless. And as I look upon the world with the vision He has given me, I remember that I am His Son.
Notes and Personal Application (2019): Morning practice: Today, Lesson 48 touches my heart and soothes my mind. There is nothing to fear. When this message comes fully to my awareness, I am blessed and rocked to the core of me with this truth. I have nothing to fear. This morning I was being tormented in my mind, about certain habits of mine, certain things I love to do that I am not certain about – seemingly harmless activities like my voracious appetite for reading novels, working on Sudoku puzzles, looking through Facebook, collecting too many recipes, and nosing in other people’s business.
I have this tendency to worry about displeasing my Maker, not being good enough for the Kingdom, not doing enough for the Kingdom. I experience much the same troubled urges, which drove my mother to hand out gospel tracts on the sidewalk, turn our home into a revolving door for a kaleidoscope of oddballs, down-and-outers, and spiritual posers, pray with strangers on the streets, in others words, to literally seize every opportunity available to spread the gospel at the expense of all else. She had good intentions, but she was driven by fear, by guilt, by a sense of doom and gloom. An angry God seemed to feed upon her obsessive worry and concern over the whole salvation business.
She scared the living daylights out of me with her visions of being a martyr of Christ, being stoned to death in the field across the road from us by all our ungodly relatives and neighbors and community members. I did not know how she was going to be martyred for Christ and go up in the Rapture, but she was going and the rest of us were going to be left behind because we wore the attire of men and didn’t read our bibles enough or speak in tongues. There was always some reason God would come up with to keep us out of his much-coveted kingdom where we were destined to worship him forever and ever along with all His other lucky favorites. That I was a rebellious kind of girl who loved made-up stories over the ones in the bible, yearned for pretty clothes, and loved boys, was enough to keep me from God’s Kingdom. Sadly this perception of God and godliness had burrowed into my unconscious, continuing to haunt me long after my conscious mind had rolled its eyes and judged it laughably stupid.
But today I can pray this prayer: I do not find an angry God in You, Father. I find love and tenderness, calm, and peace. I see a God Who laughs at the thought of our rebuttals, even as we laugh at the antics of our toddlers learning to say the word “no,” thinking they are so big when they have barely learned to walk. I am so thankful to be saved from that trite and tyrannical concept of God Who would make rules and then punish me for getting it wrong, for making mistakes, for choosing my own way. I could not love or respect a God of vengeance and sacrifice! How could I take joy in a Father who forbade me all my little pleasures?
You love me just the way I am. You love me when I work on my Sudoku puzzles. You love me when I am reading a novel or watching a television show. You love me when I am taking a nap or putting my feet up and playing with the cat. You love me when I am cooking and when I am doing the washing up. As I pore over recipes and transcribe them into our binder, collecting far more than we will ever have a chance to try, You love me. Even when I put my big nose where it does not belong, You love me! I can do nothing for Your Kingdom except to be wholly joyous and loving and accepting my place within it. I cannot earn your Kingdom; I sacrifice nothing to come home to You. (I can hardly call the ego, which is a meaningless lie, a sacrifice.) You have designed an eternity for me, O Most High, because You love me.
I have only what I give, and what I give is what I do, what I do is what I give, and that is what I have. As I come to reacquaint myself with You, I experience the joy, wonder, a sense of adventure, fearlessness, and peace. Thank You, dear Heavenly Father.
Notes and Personal Application (2020): It was late afternoon before we had our devotions today. In essence, I woke up in the night and worked on my writing and then went back to sleep on the recliner, only to wake up to the warm, comforting smells of breakfast in the making. Grandpa was baking dark chocolate waffles for Zachary, and before I knew it, there was a plate in front of me – a steaming, freshly baked waffle, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, chilled whipped cream, and a cup of cold milk to wash it down.
It was a mild, sunny, warm day in central Pennsylvania. The neighbors were cutting wood. The busy buzz of chainsaws reminded James of the wood that needed chopping on our side of the property line. So off they set to chop wood and make ready for a family bonfire. I sat with our outside cat, Tom, on my lap, soaking up sunshine between the rounds of laundry and cozy little household chores. It was hard to believe it was March first already, where did February go? Where did the rest of the day go?
So there we were late afternoon having our devotions together in the living room. Zachary enjoys listening to the lessons, but most of them, he admits, he doesn’t really understand, and I laugh and say, me, too! Just the act of trying to understand, of opening our minds to the loving perception, rather than the old vengeful one, is a step in the right direction, and so we persevere. It is more fun having them on board, even though it is a bit embarrassing still, to share my personal devotions with them. While I share my devotions, the outpourings, that dark ego stuff without editing too much, I am following the guidance of Holy Spirit, who told me to share my raw process, to use real names and real instances. Yes, I cringe at times, yet trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I know that it will be transformed from a sorry tale into something useful. At the very least, it is me telling my story instead of those who would gladly tell my story instead of sharing their own!
But for James and with Zachary, sharing my process gets very personal. They know me. They live with me. Is it no wonder when I read my meditation from last year they sit with rather stunned faces? For Zachary, I think it is trying to put this soul-judging, God-fearing Grammy who worries over her time-wasting habits with the fun-loving, God-loving Grammy that he knows and loves. For him, I have set that worry-wart, God-fearing, fretful Grammy who had an uncertain and therefore disrespectful attitude toward God aside and never brought her out in the open. He was not familiar with the Grammy, who would secretly chastise herself and worry about her salvation because of what she did or failed to do properly with her time. While James knows about this side of me, I don’t think he knew the extent to which the lousy programming had left me feeling constantly judged and uncertain. How much step-by-step effort was necessary to rid myself of the wrongful ideas that had, despite my rebellion against them, insinuated themselves into both my self-concept and my relationship with God.
In this second year of the Course study, I am still changing the way I see things now, and hope you are as well. We are being delivered, we are being saved from the false conception of who and what we are. God has never condemned us because He finds us blameless. Just as we find our toddlers stabs and false starts at independence as a healthy and wholesome part of a critical developmental stage, so too does God find our processes. What we would judge and condemn in ourselves and one another with our petty, small-minded vengeance is washed away in the forgiveness of our new understanding. We are developing. As part of our spiritual development, we must learn, and the only way to learn is by making mistakes, falling down, and picking ourselves back up again, trial and error. We are not here to judge one another, condemn one another, or take vengeance. We are here to reflect God’s love by forgiving one another, by understanding it is a process, and to teach and protect and devote ourselves to one another. How can we go home to God until we realize this?
Undergoing that kind of condemnation and judgment as a child is no cause to despise my mother. Neither is it cause to identify with her false and harmful teaching out of misplaced loyalty. I forgive her because she was doing the best she possibly could given her own underdeveloped capacities for truly understanding and accepting the depths of God’s love. She identified with those who had damaged her the most, mistaking loyalty and silence for honor, love, and forgiveness. To bring her doubts about her adequacy, holiness, right to be loved, cherished, believed, and protected to light would have incriminated the very ones she vowed to never implicate. And so she in turn, consciously or unconsciously projected that darkness to those whom she loved the most, her children. This was part of her process, and I am called, as we are all called, to forgive our parents’ mistakes. The ego would have us look upon our parents as gods; God is telling us to look upon them as fellows students, fellow learners. They teach us; we teach them. We all learn.
We forgive because God is the strength in which we trust. We forgive because there is nothing to fear. We may feel damaged beyond hope of repair, but this is simply not true. When we see the truth, we will look upon all through the friendly eyes of forgiveness. When we understand the world and our part in it, we forgive it all the wrongs we held against it. We won’t expect the government to fix all our problems; we won’t bellyache over the countless perceived wrongs and woes of this place or any particular person; we will cease to cry out for justice where none can be found. We have nothing to fear. God is with us. God’s Voice speaks to us because He abides in us; we are part of His Kingdom. There is nowhere else in which we will find our home or resting place. As we come to know God’s Voice as the only Voice and the only guide – all other substitutes will fade away.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 60…Circle of Atonement, Complete and Annotated Edition (2017). pp. 1041-1042.