IV. The Holy Spirit’s Plan of Forgiveness 1-6
- Atonement is for all, because it is the way to undo the belief that anything is for you alone. To forgive is to overlook. Look, then, beyond error and do not let your perception rest upon it, for you will believe what your perception holds. Accept as true only what your brother is if you would know yourself. Perceive what he is not, and you cannot know what you are, because you see him falsely. Remember always that your Identity is shared, and that Its sharing is Its reality.
- You have a part to play in the Atonement, but the plan of the Atonement is beyond you. You do not understand how to overlook errors, or you would not make them. It would merely be further error to believe either that you do not make them, or that you can correct them without a Guide to correction. And if you do not follow this Guide, your errors will not be corrected. The plan is not yours because of your limited ideas about what you are. This sense of limitation is where all errors arise. The way to undo them, therefore, is not of you, but for you.
- The Atonement is a lesson in sharing, which is given you because you have forgotten how to do it. The Holy Spirit merely reminds you of the natural use of your abilities. By reinterpreting the ability to attack into the ability to share, He translates what you have made into what God created. If you would accomplish this through Him you cannot look on your abilities through the eyes of the ego, or you will judge them as it does. All their harmfulness lies in the ego’s judgment. All their helpfulness lies in the judgment of the Holy Spirit.
- The ego, too, has a plan of forgiveness because you are asking for one, though not of the right teacher. The ego’s plan, of course, makes no sense and will not work. By following its plan, you will merely place yourself in an impossible situation, to which the ego always leads you. The ego’s plan is to have you see error clearly first, and then overlook it. Yet how can you overlook what you have made real? By seeing it clearly, you have made it real and cannot overlook it. This is where the ego is forced to appeal to “mysteries,” insisting that you must accept the meaningless to save yourself. Many have tried to do this in my name, forgetting that my words make perfect sense because they come from God. They are as sensible now as they ever were because they speak of ideas that are eternal.
- Forgiveness that is learned of me does not use fear to undo fear. Nor does it make real the unreal and then destroy it. Forgiveness through the Holy Spirit lies simply in looking beyond error from the beginning, and thus keeping it unreal for you. Do not let any belief in its realness enter your mind, or you will also believe that you must undo what you have made in order to be forgiven. What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are nonexistent. By steadily and consistently canceling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it.
- Follow the Holy Spirit’s teaching in forgiveness, then, because forgiveness is His function, and He knows how to fulfill it perfectly. That is what I meant when I said that miracles are natural, and when they do not occur something has gone wrong. Miracles are merely the sign of your willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s plan of salvation, recognizing that you do not understand what it is. His work is not your function, and unless you accept this you cannot learn what your function is.
The Holy Spirit’s plan of forgiveness is the only one that works. We do not know how to forgive. We are only kidding ourselves if we think we can forgive wrongdoing in the flesh. For what we do to each other in the flesh is imprinted upon our minds and we can go for lifetimes holding grudges and bearing ill will toward each other.
When Holy Spirit becomes our Teacher we learn the difference between flesh and Spirit. The flesh has one way of handling things and the Spirit has another. In the flesh, the ego’s way to practice forgiveness is to make what you did to me very real to me. I will ruminate upon your rude treatment of me. I will tell other people about it. I will write about it in my diary. I will think about it when I am washing the dishes and hanging the clothes. I will say, “Oh help me to forgive all the ways in which that awful JoJo did me wrong, Lord.” But as long as what you did to me is real to me, all my prayers, hurt feelings, and plans to get even or teach you a lesson will not take the hurt away. I am stuck with it. The more I think about it the bigger it looms in my mind and no matter how I may smile at you, try my best to get over it, I will have a hard spot in my heart toward you.
The Holy Spirit’s plan of forgiveness is to make it apparent to me that what you did to me is simply not real. Holy Spirit is not of the ego but of God. To Holy Spirit anything that is not of God is not true, real, or meaningful. What you did to me in the flesh has no meaning to Holy Spirit. When I ask Holy Spirit for forgiveness, Holy Spirit forgives for me. My ego is no longer in charge of forgiving you, Holy Spirit is. Holy Spirit sets me free of the burden of forgiving you. Because I am no longer caught up in grievances and grudges and ill-will, I am free to be what God created me to be. I can love you. I can enjoy you. I can appreciate you. Instead of defining you by a mistake, and defining myself by my judgment of you, we recognize each other as brothers. God’s love and peace and joy flow through me to you and from you to me.
In today’s devotional practice, meditate upon the last few sentences in paragraph five: What has no effect does not exist, and to the Holy Spirit the effects of error are nonexistent. By steadily and consistently canceling out all its effects, everywhere and in all respects, He teaches that the ego does not exist and proves it. Let these sentences rest upon your mind and ask Holy Spirit to illuminate this truth to you. When we ask Holy Spirit to forgive those who have harmed and wronged us, we are asking for their wrongdoing to be canceled out. We are asking that they be saved. We are not asking that they be punished, that they go to hell, that they are shamed and humiliated for what they did to us. We are asking for grace for them and for us.
When we ask Holy Spirit for grace to be given to our enemies, we learn that we have no enemies. The very fact that we want to extend to them the grace given to us, indicates that we recognize their worth. It is in recognizing their worth, that we are saved.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 9: The acceptance of the atonement. IV The holy spirit’s plan of forgiveness 1-6. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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