1. The one remaining problem that you have is that you see an interval between the time when you forgive and will receive the benefits of trusting in your brother. This but reflects the little you would keep between you and your brother, that you and he might be a little separate. For time and space are one illusion, which takes different forms. If it has been projected beyond your mind you think of it as time. The nearer it is brought to where it is, the more you think of it in terms of space.
2. There is a distance you would keep apart from your brother, and this space you perceive as time because you still believe you are external to him. This makes trust impossible. And you cannot believe that trust would settle every problem now. Thus do you think it safer to remain a little careful and a little watchful of interests perceived as separate. From this perception you cannot conceive of gaining what forgiveness offers now. The interval you think lies in between the giving and receiving of the gift seems to be one in which you sacrifice and suffer loss. You see eventual salvation, not immediate results.
3. Salvation is immediate. Unless you so perceive it, you will be afraid of it, believing that the risk of loss is great between the time its purpose is made yours and its effects will come to you. In this form is the error still obscured that is the source of fear. Salvation would wipe out the space you see between you still, and let you instantly become as one. And it is here you fear the loss would lie. Do not project this fear to time, for time is not the enemy that you perceive. Time is as neutral as the body is, except in terms of what you see it for. If you would keep a little space between you and your brother still, you then would want a little time in which forgiveness is withheld a little while. And this but makes the interval between the time in which forgiveness is withheld from you and given seem dangerous, with terror justified.
4. Yet space between you and your brother is apparent only in the present, now, and cannot be perceived in future time. No more can it be overlooked except within the present. Future loss is not your fear. But present joining is your dread. Who can feel desolation except now? A future cause as yet has no effects. And therefore must it be that if you fear, there is a present cause. And it is this that needs correction, not a future state.
5. The plans you make for safety all are laid within the future, where you cannot plan. No purpose has been given it as yet, and what will happen has as yet no cause. Who can predict effects without a cause? And who could fear effects unless he thought they had been caused, and judged disastrous now? Belief in sin arouses fear, and like its cause, is looking forward, looking back, but overlooking what is here and now. Yet only here and now its cause must be if its effects already have been judged as fearful. And in overlooking this, is it protected and kept separate from healing. For a miracle is now. It stands already here, in present grace, within the only interval of time that sin and fear have overlooked, but which is all there is to time.
6. The working out of all correction takes no time at all. Yet the acceptance of the working out can seem to take forever. The change of purpose the Holy Spirit brought to your relationship has in it all effects that you will see. They can be looked at now. Why wait till they unfold in time and fear they may not come, although already there? You have been told that everything brings good that comes from God. And yet it seems as if this is not so. Good in disaster’s form is difficult to credit in advance. Nor is there really sense in this idea.
7. Why should the good appear in evil form? And is it not deception if it does? Its cause is here if it appears at all. Why are not its effects apparent, then? Why in the future? And you seek to be content with sighing, and with “reasoning” you do not understand it now but will some day. And then its meaning will be clear. This is not reason, for it is unjust, and clearly hints at punishment until the time of liberation is at hand. Given a change of purpose for the good, there is no reason for an interval in which disaster strikes, to be perceived as “good” some day but now in form of pain. This is a sacrifice of now, which could not be the cost the Holy Spirit asks for what He gave without a cost at all.
8. Yet this illusion has a cause which, though untrue, must be already in your mind. And this illusion is but one effect that it engenders, and one form in which its outcome is perceived. This interval in time, when retribution is perceived to be the form in which the “good” appears, is but one aspect of the little space that lies between you, unforgiven still.
9. Be not content with future happiness. It has no meaning and is not your just reward. For you have cause for freedom now. What profits freedom in a prisoner’s form? Why should deliverance be disguised as death? Delay is senseless, and the “reasoning” that would maintain effects of present cause must be delayed until a future time, is merely a denial of the fact that consequence and cause must come as one. Look not to time, but to the little space between you still, to be delivered from. And do not let it be disguised as time, and so preserved because its form is changed and what it is cannot be recognized. The Holy Spirit’s purpose now is yours. Should not His happiness be yours as well?
In today’s devotional text, Jesus instructs us not to allow the concepts of time and space to interfere with our present moments. When I offer forgiveness to you, it may seem like days, months, possibly years go by before our healing takes place. But it is not a sentence of time that we must suffer before we are healed. The miracle is for now. God is not one to withhold His blessings from us and dangle them in front of our noses and make promises for our future. There would be no logic to this because the future, like the past, does not exist. All we have is now.
When I offer forgiveness to you, it is a given. It is complete. There is nothing you can do to reject it because we are one. There is no sense of delay in which I must suffer and wait for you to come back into my life and for us to be brothers again. You are and ever will be as one with me in Christ. It is not time that stands between us, it is the little space of separation that would keep you from my embrace.
All that we have ever experienced is in the past. We cannot go there to fix our problems because it is over. And the future is not here yet and so it is silly for us to think that sometime down the line, you and I are going to work out our differences and forgive each other’s wrongdoing and get back together again. Time is not against our healing, it is the space between us – the fact that I still think of you as different than me, I fail to see you as one with me. I forgive you, but …
We can complete that sentence in many forms. We can say, “I forgive you, but you better never pull a trick like that again!” “I forgive you, but that doesn’t mean I will ever trust you with my secrets again!” “I forgive you, but why don’t you grow up and tell me what your problems with me are instead of gossiping and making up stories to turn everyone against me?” While the spaces we keep between those we think we have forgiven can take different forms and seem justified in the world of perception – as long as I see a space between us at all, I fail to see our oneness. I am making the separation real. I am putting myself in a different realm than you and when I see myself in one realm and you see yourself in another, both of us are still in need of salvation.
For salvation is immediate. This simply means that we can only be saved when we give up the space between us. How do I give up the space between me and the ones in which I seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness? I see us as one and because I see us as one, when I accept forgiveness for myself –I give as I receive. There is no space between us in oneness. My forgiveness is your forgiveness. I do not have to call you on the phone and beg for your mercy for the past – it is over. You do not have to call me and ask me to forgive you. While a simple acknowledgment of our joint humanity and the ways in which we have failed each other is not out of line, our oneness transcends our humanity. Our oneness is our reality. When we trust in our oneness, there is no space between us anymore. When we trust in our oneness, we do not have to wade through time hoping for a better, more congenial future. We can have it now, because now is the only time there is.
In your devotional practice today, read over this text carefully and prayerfully. If there are relationships in your life which seem to be taking time to heal, if you are looking forward to a better future when your prayers will be answered and your relationships will be healed, ask Holy Spirit to show you the spaces that you are keeping between yourself and the ones whom you are called to forgive. Do not mistake the spaces as a physical state but rather the spaces in your thoughts that you reserve for those whom you have failed, disappointed, or harmed in any way or those who seem to have failed, disappointed, or harmed you. We cannot see ourselves as one as long as we accept or project any form of attack, insult, or rejection from or upon others. We are all in this together. There are no particulars; there are no exceptional cases; the world I spy with my little flesh eye is no more and no less an illusion than the world you spy with your little flesh eye. Our forgiveness is our denial of that illusion. Our forgiveness erases the spaces between us. My forgiveness is your forgiveness and our happiness starts now.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 26 The transition. VIII. The immediacy of salvation. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
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