Part 1 Undoing the Way We See Things Now
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
- (192) I have a function God would have me fill.
I seek the function that would set me free from all the vain illusions of the world. Only the function God has given me can offer freedom. Only this I seek, and only this will I accept as mine.
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.
Morning and Evening Meditation
In keeping with the instructions for Review VI we open and close our devotional with the theme: I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me. We begin our day with this; we end our day with this thought. Every hour, every time we can, without any pressure or stress, we gently train our mind back to this refrain throughout the day. We consciously and deeply relinquish all the vain illusions of the world – the promises of happiness and meaning and gratification in a world where everything that has the least amount of satisfaction attached to it is both costly and fleeting.
As much as we can, we will get beyond words today. We will not use any special postures or forms of practice. We will instead be quiet and still. We will put aside all we thought we knew and understood and trust in God to bring us light and truth. When our thoughts stray to judgment and condemnation, to resistance against the reflection of God’s love, we can simply say, for example: “I do not want this thought against my friend. I choose instead to forgive her, to bless her.” And then we will repeat “I have a function God would have me fill.”
Jesus asks us in paragraph eight of Lesson 192, “Who can be born again in Christ but him who has forgiven everyone he sees or thinks of or imagines?” So let us today dwell upon this question and practice conscious forgiveness toward everyone we see, the people and situations that come to mind, the stories we make up about others in our minds, the memories that tempt us to hold grudges and bear ill will toward others instead of forgiving them.
Practicing this deeply, reverently, and diligently is our function in Christ. It is the function that God would have each one of us fill, dear brothers. No matter how many people we see, no matter how the world tries to stir us against one another, to hold grudges and arm ourselves against those who seem dangerous and insane, our function is to offer forgiveness, to bless them, to hold no one prisoner. We are here to loose instead of bind, for this is what sets us free.
We are not asked to do much. All that God asks of us is to give up our anger. To give up our spite. To offer forgiveness. It involves no sacrifice. It frees our tortured minds of all the images of pain and shame. We give up our anger and we are given everything by God.
I have a cousin who has riddled herself with insanity because of the hatred and anger and spite she is unwilling to give up toward her sister. Everywhere she goes, she spreads vicious tales about her sister’s past wrongdoings, her faults, her vanities. She wants to remind everyone that her sister is nothing but a whore, a thief, a usurper – from the time she came home from the hospital as a baby the little brat stole all the attention, broke her toys, and sucked up all the air in the room. Now over 70 years later, the woman has made herself a pariah. She has so distorted herself with hatred, jealousy, and unforgiveness that those who held her dearest now dread to respond to her calls, visit her, or have much at all to do with her.
There is absolutely no justification for holding another person prisoner in one’s mind. My cousin’s younger sister is her savior, Jesus says. She owes her sister thanks instead of pain. When she learns to show mercy, she will be set free. Until she sets her sister free, until she accepts her function in God, she is not born again in Christ. In God’s eyes, it does not matter how much more virtuous she was than her sister. It does not matter that she went to Bible College, saved her virginity for marriage, and taught Sunday School while her sister was whooping it up in the world. As long as she is unwilling to forgive her sister for her feckless flirtations and frivolous forays – she is prisoner to the ego, she is not showing mercy, she is denying her function. She is keeping herself in hell.
This is a very precious and highly personal process and we must never make light of it. My cousin’s call to forgive her sister is as real to her as an other’s struggles to forgive rape, child molestation, or mass murder. All of us have people in our lives that we hold prisoner in our minds, that we disparage, look down upon, build cases against, and condemn. Our way to freedom is to fulfill the function given to us by God. We are to set them free. We forgive them. In the world it is impossible to know love, Jesus tells us. No matter how much we talk about it, say it, attach the word to all kinds of physical acts, we simply do not understand love. Forgiveness is the only thing that reflects Love in a world where it is too far beyond our simple grasp.
Today let our minds reflect God’s Love. We have a function God would have us fill. It does not cost us anything. There is no sacrifice involved. We simply give up our anger, our hatred, our resentment toward those who have not met our expectations. Every time we see someone today, think of someone today, imagine someone today – we offer them forgiveness for not being who and what they really are in Christ. We bless them. We understand that they are struggling with their humanity even as we are struggling with ours. We see them, not as flesh and blood, but as Sons of God, here for the same reason we are – to awaken from a dream of separation, in a time-bound process of accepting who and what we really are, to return to the place where we belong. We look upon them gently, we see that all their faults, their weaknesses, their cruelty and stupidity are all unknown in Heaven, and so should not be remarked upon and made real here. Forgiveness wipes our slates clean so that the Word of God can replace all the marks and smears the world had written there before.
Jesus calls to us to be merciful today. As the Son of God, we deserve mercy. As one with Christ, when we refuse to forgive our brother, we refuse to forgive Christ. All of us on earth are called to forgive each other, to accept each other as our own identity, to recognize that there is no difference between me and you because we are all as God created us. I am what you are, and you are what I am. Forgiveness shows us we are one.
 A Course in Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 212. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).