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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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Last year I found myself growing tired of the lessons on forgiveness.  When forgiveness came up again in Lesson 297, I asked the Lord when we could get past it and was reminded that our lessons are not to entertain us but rather are designed to train our minds to see past our previous programming in lies and to get to the truth of the matter.  In an upside down world which is based upon a shadow of twisted truth, conjecture, and uncertainty, the lessons in forgiveness must be repeated, practiced, and repeated again until our minds have become one with holiness, until we identify completely with Holy Spirit. 

Jesus tells us that forgiveness is the only gift we want, and in order to receive forgiveness we must give it.  No matter what we think we want, all said and done, the only thing we truly yearn for is to be forgiven and to be restored to the Kingdom of God.  This prayer is at the bottom of all our unhappiness, hatred, and projection and it goes something like this:

Forgive us, Father.  We thought we could take God’s Creation and make something else out of it, but we ended up in cycles of death and decay.  We do not like it here.  It cannot be real.  We are done with lies.  Bring us home, O Father. 

One of the keys to understanding our spiritual life is that everything we give, we receive.  On the physical level it simply does not work in the same way.  When I give money, food, clothing, or even my time and effort to you, I have less of it, and you have more.   

But spiritual gifts work on a completely different law that teaches sharing, extension, and oneness.  The only way I get to experience love is to give love.  The only way I get to experience joy is to bestow joy.  The only way I get to know to become innocent is to recognize innocence in others.  When I forgive my friend for the betrayals, thievery, and wrongdoing that broke my heart and filled my mind with sorrow, I experience my own holy innocence.  No matter how good or bad we think we are, we have all lost our way; we have all believed lies; we have all made mistakes and chased happiness where it can never be found.   When we offer forgiveness, we are not saying – “Even though you are bad, I am good – so I will forgive you.” We are saying:

“I no longer hold you accountable.  If you did something wrong, it was not true because only the everlasting Will of God is true.  No matter how true it seems in this realm, it does not define who and what you really are in Christ.  I offer you forgiveness because you and I are one and the same – we are God’s Son.” 

Forgiveness then becomes not a superior being offering a favor to an inferior, but a lovely gift that establishes our unity, our mutuality, our true identity in Christ. 

When we allow our minds to ruminate upon the general lack of goodness in our fellow human beings, we are not only denying their Sonship, but refusing to recognize our holy Self as the Son of God.  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 ego identity that he demonstrates in this realm, we are both forgiven.  For him to keep forgiveness, he must extend it as well.  For me to keep forgiveness, I must keep offering it to him.  No matter what. 

We live in a world that needs salvation by giving the gift of forgiveness.  We can do all kinds of things thinking we are doing God’s Will.  We can agonize in our hearts and minds because we have not done enough for Him.  We can plead the blood of Jesus over our loved ones.  We can speak in tongues and prophecy over people and do all manner of bold, unquiet things in the name of God.  We can chase after good works, put hundreds of dollars in the collection plate, build churches in third world countries, and literally pour ourselves out for the poor, the hungry, the sick, and dying.  And yet in today’s lesson, Jesus tells us if we want to see the real world, the gift we give, the only gift we give is forgiveness.  If we want to be saved, give forgiveness to all, including ourselves.  No preaching, no striving, no sighing, no crying – we simply come to understand that this is all one mistake with manifold forms, and we forgive it.  “Forgiveness is the only gift I give” – is a guaranteed formula because it is God’s plan of salvation and it is accomplished by His grace. 

[1] A Course In Miracles. Workbook for Students. Lesson 297. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).  p. 447.

Audio credit: the friar patch @ www.eckiefriar.com