Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
LESSON 134 Let Me Perceive Forgiveness As It Is.
- Let us review the meaning of “forgive,” for it is apt to be distorted and to be perceived as something that entails an unfair sacrifice of righteous wrath, a gift unjustified and undeserved, and a complete denial of the truth. In such a view, forgiveness must be seen as mere eccentric folly, and this course appear to rest Salvation on a whim.
- This twisted view of what forgiveness means is easily corrected, when you can accept the fact that pardon is not asked for what is true. It must be limited to what is false. It is irrelevant to everything except illusions. Truth is God’s creation, and to pardon that is meaningless. All truth belongs to Him, reflects His laws, and radiates His love. Does this need pardon? How can you forgive the sinless and eternally benign?
- The major difficulty that you find in genuine forgiveness on your part is that you still believe you must forgive the truth, and not illusions. You conceive of pardon as a vain attempt to look past what is there; to overlook the truth, in an unfounded effort to deceive yourself by making an illusion true. This twisted viewpoint but reflects the hold that the idea of sin retains as yet upon your mind, as you regard yourself.
- Because you think your sins are real, you look on pardon as deception. For it is impossible to think of sin as true and not believe forgiveness is a lie. Thus is forgiveness really but a sin, like all the rest. It says the truth is false and smiles on the corrupt as if they were as blameless as the grass, as white as snow. It is delusional in what it thinks it can accomplish. It would see as right the plainly wrong; the loathsome as the good.
- Pardon is no escape in such a view. It merely is a further sign the sin is unforgivable, at best to be concealed, denied, or called another name, for pardon is a treachery to truth. Guilt cannot be forgiven. If you sin, your guilt is everlasting. Those who are forgiven from the view their sins are real are pitifully mocked and twice condemned; first, by themselves for what they think they did, and once again by those who pardoned them.
- It is sin’s unreality that makes forgiveness natural and wholly sane, a deep relief to those who offer it; a quiet blessing where it is received. It does not countenance illusions, but collects them lightly, with a little laugh, and gently lays them at the feet of truth. And there they disappear entirely.
- Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world. It sees their nothingness and looks straight through the thousand forms in which they may appear. It looks on lies, but it is not deceived. It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt. It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.”
- The strength of pardon is its honesty, which is so uncorrupted that it sees illusions as illusions, not as truth. It is because of this that it becomes the undeceiver in the face of lies; the great restorer of the simple truth. By its ability to overlook what is not there, it opens up the way to truth, which has been blocked by dreams of guilt. Now are you free to follow in the way your true forgiveness opens up to you. For if one brother has received this gift of you, the door is open to yourself.
- There is a very simple way to find the door to true forgiveness and perceive it open wide in welcome. When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any way or any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. Ask instead, “Would I accuse myself of doing this?”
- Thus will you see alternatives for choice in terms that render choosing meaningful and keep your mind as free of guilt and pain as God Himself intended it to be, and as it is in truth. It is but lies that would condemn. In truth is innocence the only thing there is. Forgiveness stands between illusions and the truth; between the world you see and that which lies beyond; between the hell of guilt and Heaven’s gate.
- Across this bridge, as powerful as love which laid its blessing on it, are all dreams of evil and of hatred and attack brought silently to truth. They are not kept to swell and bluster, and to terrify the foolish dreamer who believes in them. He has been gently wakened from his dream by understanding what he thought he saw was never there. And now he cannot feel that all escape has been denied to him.
- He does not have to fight to save himself. He does not have to kill the dragons which he thought pursued him. Nor need he erect the heavy walls of stone and iron doors he thought would make him safe. He can remove the ponderous and useless armor made to chain his mind to fear and misery. His step is light, and as he lifts his foot to stride ahead a star is left behind, to point the way to those who follow him.
- Forgiveness must be practiced, for the world cannot perceive its meaning, nor provide a guide to teach you its beneficence. There is no thought in all the world that leads to any understanding of the laws it follows, or the thought that it reflects. It is alien to the world as is your own reality. And yet it joined your mind with the reality in you.
- Today we practice true forgiveness, that the time of joining be no more delayed. For we would meet with our reality in freedom and in peace. Our practicing becomes the footsteps lighting up the way for all our brothers, who will follow us to the reality we share with them. That this may be accomplished, let us give a quarter of an hour twice today, and spend it with the Guide Who understands the meaning of forgiveness, and was sent to teach us it. Let us ask of Him: Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
- Then choose one brother as He will direct and catalog his sins as one by one they cross your mind. Be certain not to dwell on any one of them but realize that you are using his “offences” but to save the world from all ideas of sin. Briefly consider all the evil things you thought of him, and each time ask yourself, “Would I condemn myself for doing this?”
- Let him be freed from all the thoughts you had of sin in him. And now you are prepared for freedom. If you have been practicing thus far in willingness and honesty, you will begin to sense a lifting up, a lightening of weight across your chest, a deep and certain feeling of relief. The time remaining should be given to experiencing the escape from all the heavy chains you sought to lay upon your brother but were laid upon yourself.
- Forgiveness should be practiced through the day, for there will still be many times when you forget its meaning and attack yourself. When this occurs, allow your mind to see through this illusion as you tell yourself: Let me perceive forgiveness as it is. Would I accuse myself of doing this? I will not lay this chain upon myself. In everything you do remember this: No one is crucified alone, and yet no one can enter Heaven by himself.1
Notes and Personal Application: Jesus tells us that this world is an alternate reality – only God’s Kingdom is real, only God’s Kingdom lasts forever, only God’s Kingdom is God’s Will. When we realize that the world we have made in place of God’s Kingdom is only a farce, a sham, a counterfeit, a dream – we can forgive it – all of it.
It would be ridiculous to forgive in this world. Someone steals from us, are we going to ask their sticky fingers back into our homes? If someone molests children, are we going to give him a second go around and let him babysit our kids? Are we going to invite known party-poopers to our birthday celebrations? Of course not. In the flesh, we can talk about forgiveness all we want, but it is not only impossible, it is foolish. At best we can try to forgive someone, but we will always have our guard up, or stupidly, put it down and let them betray us all over again.
Jesus is asking us today to realize the spiritual meaning of forgiveness. Forgiveness stands for truth in the world by seeing it for what it is – an illusion, nothingness, thousands of forms of meaninglessness. Forgiveness looks on the lie and is not deceived by it. Forgiveness does not seek justice in the unreal world. It does not get worked up by the guilt and shame that ego maintains to rake us through the coals. Forgiveness knows that none of it is truth.
The world does not know the meaning of forgiveness. Our human brain developed to keep us constantly aware of who are our allies and who are our enemies. In the flesh, to forgive is asking for trouble. It is only in the spirit that forgiveness works. Forgiveness does not depend upon another person’s repentance. Forgiveness does not depend upon another person’s willingness to grovel and to plead. Forgiveness requires no change at all in the person we forgive. Forgiveness is simply a keen understanding of the truth – none of this is everlasting and therefore it is not real. No reason at all to get our panties in a wad – this is what we expect from the world of time.
Today we choose one person whom we can practice offering forgiveness. We will list all his faults, his sins, his personal failings, and everything we hold against him. Jesus tells us not to dwell upon any single one of them, but to simply list them out and then consider each one and ask ourselves each time, “Would I condemn myself for this?”
When we set our brother free, we are freed. Jesus makes it unmistakably clear that our brother’s sins are our sins. We are much more eager and willing to list his, then we are our own. As ego blinds us to our own sins, Jesus is asking us today to list our brothers sins and set him free – thus releasing our own selves from the rotted little halo we wear to disguise our own. We are not to stop with our brother – whenever we are tempted to make a big deal over the shortcomings and mistakes of others, stop, list them, and then one by one, set our brother and ourselves free of the guilt that keeps us trussed to thoughts of sin and condemnation.
Forgiveness cuts to the chase. It does not require you to give anybody a second or a third chance, it does not mean you put yourself at a disadvantage or set yourself up for a big disappointment. You do not have to be the least bit nice or go out of your way to prove anything at all to those you forgive. Just quietly refuse to hold any thoughts of their misdeeds in your mind. Shrug off the condemnation that would keep you from the path to God by recognizing that we are spirits. We are one. In everything you do, Jesus says, remember this:
No one is crucified alone; no one can enter Heaven by himself.
Today Jesus tells us to recognize this truth – those we hate and despise are loved by God. What we are willing to heap upon them, will be heaped upon us. We cannot enter Heaven without them. Know this and be free.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 134 Let me perceive forgiveness…Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992). pp. 248-251.
Audio credit: http://www.eckiefriar.com