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A COURSE IN MIRACLES Chapter 17 Forgiveness and the Holy Relationship

I. Bringing Fantasy to Truth

1. The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his “sins” are but his own imaginings.  His reality is forever sinless.  He need not be forgiven but awakened.  In his dreams he has betrayed himself, his brothers, and his God.  Yet what is done in dreams has not been really done.  It is impossible to convince the dreamer that this is so, for dreams are what they are because of their illusion of reality.  Only in waking is the full release from them, for only then does it become perfectly apparent that they had no effect upon reality at all and did not change it.  Fantasies change reality.  That is their purpose.  They cannot do so in reality, but they can do so in the mind that would have reality be different.

2. It is, then, only your wish to change reality that is fearful, because by your wish you think you have accomplished what you wish.  This strange position, in a sense, acknowledges your power.  Yet by distorting it and devoting it to “evil,” it also makes it unreal.  You cannot be faithful to two masters who ask conflicting things of you.  What you use in fantasy you deny to truth.  Yet what you give to the truth to use for you is safe from fantasy.

3. When you maintain that there must be an order of difficulty in miracles, all you mean is that there are some things you would withhold from truth.  You believe truth cannot deal with them only because you would keep them from truth.  Very simply, your lack of faith in the power that heals all pain arises from your wish to retain some aspects of reality for fantasy.  If you but realized what this must do to your appreciation of the whole!  What you reserve for yourself, you take away from Him Who would release you.  Unless you give it back, it is inevitable that your perspective on reality be warped and uncorrected.

4. As long as you would have it so, so long will the illusion of an order of difficulty in miracles remain with you.  For you have established this order in reality by giving some of it to one teacher, and some to another.  And so you learn to deal with part of the truth in one way, and in another way the other part.  To fragment truth is to destroy it by rendering it meaningless.  Orders of reality is a perspective without understanding; a frame of reference for reality to which it cannot really be compared at all.

5. Think you that you can bring truth to fantasy, and learn what truth means from the perspective of illusions?  Truth has no meaning in illusion.  The frame of reference for its meaning must be itself.  When you try to bring truth to illusions, you are trying to make illusions real, and keep them by justifying your belief in them.  But to give illusions to truth is to enable truth to teach that the illusions are unreal, and thus enable you to escape from them.  Reserve not one idea aside from truth, or you establish orders of reality that must imprison you.  There is no order in reality because everything there is true.

6. Be willing, then, to give all you have held outside the truth to Him Who knows the truth, and in Whom all is brought to truth.  Salvation from separation would be complete or will not be at all.  Be not concerned with anything except your willingness to have this be accomplished.  He will accomplish it, not you.  But forget not this:  When you become disturbed and lose your peace of mind because another is attempting to solve his problems through fantasy, you are refusing to forgive yourself for just this same attempt.  And you are holding both of you away from truth and from salvation.  As you forgive him, you restore to truth what was denied by both of you.  And you will see forgiveness where you have given it.[1]

As we start a new chapter in our Course, meditate for a few moment on forgiveness.  Note that Jesus teaches that forgiveness as we understand it in the world is acknowledgment of wrongdoing, a need for repentance, and some form of graciousness on the part of the wronged party in letting the debt go unrequited. “I can “forgive” you in spite of your meanness because I am good and sweet and kind.” Forgiveness as Jesus teaches in A Course in Miracles means that I overlook all that happens in this dream because I recognize it as an illusion.  “What you have done to me, the way you used and abused me, is simply what happens in the realm of separation between flesh entities.  You forgot the God in you even as I forget the God in you.  Let’s go beyond the illusion of separation and focus on our oneness in Christ.” 

If the world and all that is in it is a dream, it is surely a realistic one.  That is the purpose of fantasies, illusions, and dreams – they distort reality to such a degree that while we believe in it, it is real to us.  All of us have found our hearts racing, our minds engaged so fully in a movie we are watching or a game that we are playing that we forgot that the story was not true or the battle we just fought against alien invaders was a video game.  We say after such instances, “Wow!  That was really good.  It felt real.” 

To awaken from this dream is to the see the world as such.  To forgive all that it seemed is to acknowledge that it was a good simulation but what a relief it is to know that all suffering, loneliness, despair and death was only a simulation of separation.  Safe at Home with God, opposing God and His Kingdom by changing our sense of reality, by using our power to make a world of opposites, all we really did was make a fictional kingdom which denied truth.  To escape the simulation, to awaken from the dream, we ask for truth.  We say, okay, okay.  I have had all I can take of this.  I only want truth, and so I give up what I made to replace Creation and trust in You to bring me Home.  And when this happens, the illusion itself is no longer malignant but benign.  We bring our dream to truth and give up the nothing in exchange for Everything.

There are no parts of the dream too hard to bring to truth.  As big as your sins may loom in your mind, as loud as your condemnation, as harrowing your experiences in a realm that is simply not real –the dream means nothing.  Unless we want to go back to sleep and dream some more, we won’t try to hold on to anything that happened in it.  We will let it all go. 

Except that some of it may feel too real and too complicated, too unforgettable to have been a dream!  “You have no idea, Eckie,” you may say.  “They really did a number on me.  I had it so rough.  They really should pay for what they did to me.  I have spent my whole life trying to get over it.  Don’t tell me that it doesn’t matter because maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to me.”

But Jesus calls this holding on to parts of the fantasy as lack of faith.  There is still something from the fantasy that you want to get from it.  A sense of justice perhaps, retaliation, vengeance.  Or maybe it takes a different vein – there may be something in the dream that you never experienced, and it is still special to you.  I never got to climb that mountain or learn Chinese.  I had a really nice life, but the world still has something to offer me.  If only I had married Harry instead of Tom, I would have been so much happier. 

As long as we harbor any belief in the illusion – that there are definitely some things in the illusion that are easy enough to give over to holiness but there are other things that are just too difficult to change or things that are worth hanging on to, we cannot know truth.  There is no half-truth, there is no little bit of truth, there is no almost complete, or half-awake in reality.  There is nothing at all in the illusion that we can bring to God’s Kingdom.  We must let it all behind.    

We cannot find God in the uncertainty of the world, in the chatter of our scattered minds, in the ongoing hunger and thirst of multitudinous desires.  In the dream, truth has no meaning.  In the dream all things change, what seems to be true one moment is turned on its side the next!    But when we give our illusions to truth, we escape them.  They no longer growl and nip us, they no longer torment us with shame or regret, they no longer fill our minds withs fear or pain or sorrow.  When we realize that the whole shebang is nothing more than a dream, we remember our certain safety in the Arms of God.  No rank and file, no hierarchies, no levels of difficulty, no specialness whatsoever, when we get a foretaste of the oneness and unity, wholeness and love, the world cannot hold us. 

God is complete in us even as we are complete in Him.  There is nothing we can bring to God except our wills.  When we are willing, He awakens us and brings us Home – in perfect trust, in perfect peace, in perfect Joy.   Author of All – our will and His Will are made one, not by any effort on our part, but by Him who created us as His Son.

Give our brothers the same tender mercy that the Father offers to us, be patient and trusting when our brothers, still bound to the world, seek solutions, happiness, and health through the ego’s fantasies.  Instead of losing our peace of mind, instead of getting ourselves all worked up – judging and condemning, preaching and pushing our ideas down his throat – we relax because to react to illusions is to reinforce them, not be free from them.  We forgive his dream even as we forgive our own.   There is nothing we can do, say, or promote that can touch reality, that can change God, that can take away our mutual Sonship.  When we offer our brother forgiveness, we are merely overlooking his humanity and trusting in our mutual divinity.  Each time we fail to do this, we delay our brother and ourselves.  Each time we forgive, we bring our brother with us to God; we restore the Sonship; we complete ourselves in God. 


[1] A Course in Miracles. Chapter 17. Forgiveness and the holy relationship. I. Bringing fantasy to truth. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).

For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com

Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com

Filed under: ACIM, Teaching and Learning

About the Author

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Coming up on sixty, my love for God, home and hearth, my husband and family fueled my decision to devote the rest of my life only to pursuits which brought love, joy, peace, and purpose. I am a writer, seeker, student, and teacher with experience professional and otherwise from waitressing to teaching the English language in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. I hold a BA in Psychology from Bloomsburg University, which took nearly 30 years to attain while I squeezed courses in between raising my children, journaling, relationships, work, and an assortment of escapades, some of which I would rather forget! An ongoing passion for reading, writing, adventure, food, and fun, eventually led me to the love of my life, James, whom I met in 1996 and married in 1997. Our life together has been an exciting journey of work and travel, spiritual awakening, and domestic bliss ever since. Although we have experienced the tragic loss of family members and friends through death and estrangement, we have managed to turn our special relationship into a holy one by the grace of God and an acute and growing awareness of “there must be a better way!” In 2006, I published my first novel, Luella’s Calling, and am currently working on my second, Grover Good and the Stone Chateau. From 2013 through 2018, I worked as a Prevention Education Specialist for Transitions, a local domestic violence sexual abuse victim’s service agency. My work there, fueled by a lifelong enthusiasm for teaching, led me to obtain an MS in Education from Scranton University. In 2018, I resigned to accompany James on his work travels while focusing on my calling to study and teach A Course in Miracles. To that end, I dedicate the rest of my days to writing, sharing, and teaching the message of salvation found within the Course pages. Thank you for your interest in this blog. As I do not respond to comments on the posts, if you care to contact me, please email me at eckief@yahoo.com.

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