1. The real world is the state of mind in which the only purpose of the world is seen to be forgiveness. Fear is not its goal, for the escape from guilt becomes its aim. The value of forgiveness is perceived and takes the place of idols, which are sought no longer, for their “gifts” are not held dear. No rules are idly set, and no demands are made of anyone or anything to twist and fit into the dream of fear. Instead, there is a wish to understand all things created as they really are. And it is recognized that all things must be first forgiven, and then understood.
2. Here, it is thought that understanding is acquired by attack. There, it is clear that by attack is understanding lost. The folly of pursuing guilt as goal is fully recognized. And idols are not wanted there, for guilt is understood as the sole cause of pain in any form. No one is tempted by its vain appeal, for suffering and death have been perceived as things not wanted and not striven for. The possibility of freedom has been grasped and welcomed, and the means by which it can be gained can now be understood. The world becomes a place of hope because its only purpose is to be a place where hope of happiness can be fulfilled. And no one stands outside this hope, because the world has been united in belief the purpose of the world is one which all must share if hope be more than just a dream.
3. Not yet in Heaven quite remembered, for the purpose of forgiveness still remains. Yet everyone is certain he will go beyond forgiveness, and he but remains until it is made perfect in himself. He has no wish for anything but this. And fear has dropped away because he is united in his purpose with himself. There is a hope of happiness in him so sure and constant he can barely stay and wait a little longer, with his feet still touching earth. Yet is he glad to wait till every hand is joined, and every heart made ready to arise and go with him. For thus is he made ready for the step in which is all forgiveness left behind.
4. The final step is God’s, because it is but God Who could create a perfect Son and share His Fatherhood with him. No one outside of Heaven knows how this can be, for understanding this is Heaven itself. Even the real world has a purpose still beneath creation and eternity. But fear is gone because its purpose is forgiveness, not idolatry. And so is Heaven’s Son prepared to be himself, and to remember that the Son of God knows everything His Father understands and understands it perfectly with Him.
5. The real world still falls short of this, for this is God’s Own purpose; only His, and yet completely shared and perfectly fulfilled. The real world is a state in which the mind has learned how easily do idols go when they are still perceived but wanted not. How willingly the mind can let them go when it has understood that idols are nothing and nowhere and are purposeless. For only then can guilt and sin be seen without a purpose and as meaningless.
6. Thus is the real world’s purpose gently brought into awareness, to replace the goal of sin and guilt. And all that stood between your image of yourself and what you are, forgiveness washes joyfully away. Yet God need not create His Son again, that what is his be given back to him. The gap between your brother and yourself was never there. And what the Son of God knew in creation he must know again.
7. When brothers join in purpose in the world of fear, they stand already at the edge of the real world. Perhaps they still look back, and think they see an idol that they want. Yet has their path been surely set away from idols toward reality. For when they joined their hands it was Christ’s hand they took, and they will look on Him Whose hand they hold. The face of Christ is looked upon before the Father is remembered. For He must be unremembered till His Son has reached beyond forgiveness to the Love of God. Yet is the Love of Christ accepted first. And then will come the knowledge They are one.
8. How light and easy is the step across the narrow boundaries of the world of fear when you have recognized Whose hand you hold! Within your hand is everything you need to walk with perfect confidence away from fear forever, and to go straight on, and quickly reach the gate of Heaven itself. For He, Whose hand you hold was waiting but for you to join Him. Now that you have come, would He delay in showing you the way that He must walk with you? His blessing lies on you as surely as His Father’s Love rests upon Him. His gratitude to you is past your understanding for you have enabled Him to rise from chains and go with you, together, to His Father’s house.
9. An ancient hate is passing from the world. And with it goes all hatred and all fear. Look back no longer, for what lies ahead is all you ever wanted in your heart. Give up the world! But not to sacrifice. You never wanted it. What happiness have you sought here that did not bring you pain? What moment of content has not been bought at fearful price in coins of suffering? Joy has no cost. It is your sacred right and what you pay for is not happiness. Be speeded on your way by honesty and let not your experiences here deceive in retrospect. They were not free from bitter cost and joyless consequence.
10. Do not look back except in honesty. And when an idol tempts you, think of this: There never was a time an idol brought you anything except the “gift” of guilt. Not one was bought except at cost of pain, nor was it ever paid by you alone. Be merciful unto your brother, then. And do not choose an idol thoughtlessly, remembering that he will pay the cost as well as you. For he will be delayed when you look back, and you will not perceive Whose loving hand you hold. Look forward, then; in confidence walk with a happy heart that beats in hope and does not pound in fear.
11. The Will of God forever lies in those whose hands are joined. Until they joined, they thought He was their enemy. But when they joined and shared a purpose, they were free to learn their will is one. And thus the Will of God must reach to their awareness. Nor can they forget for long that it is but their own. 
We make a habit of our devotional meditations and prayers because our hearts yearn for meaning, for purpose, to know God, to know who and what we really are. Today Jesus tells us that to attain the real world which is the state of mind which opens Heaven’s gate is to learn, embrace, and practice forgiveness. Forgiveness sets us free from the fear we have toward each other, from the guilt we want to put upon each other, from the sad and sorrowful, mean and bullish attitudes and behaviors we exercise toward one another from pre-Kindergarten to our dying days.
Jesus tells us that when forgiveness takes the place of idols in our lives, we are set free from holding others accountable for our happiness and unhappiness, for demanding that they follow rules and regulations, for practicing a code of ethics that is beyond their ability to grasp. When I prayed and asked Holy Spirit to show me what these idols are I was shown how eagerly we point our fingers and blame people for the terrible things that go wrong in their lives. We are witnesses to crimes against Creation every day and in thousands of separate ways. We think it is perfectly sane to find the guilty culprit and to publicly denounce and punish them for all the ways they failed to be a decent, caring human being.
Forgiveness toward humanity is a practice of the High Mind of Christ that understands the weakness of the flesh, which understands that a little chemical imbalance, a childhood deprived of love and nurturance, a chance encounter, a hungry belly, a longstanding grudge fueled by fear, suspicions, gossip, and slander is all it takes to turn a “decent, caring human being” into a dangerous killer. Forgiveness strips our mind from any hallucinations that the world is a safe and happy place where only the undeserving are denied abundance, comforts, and pleasures. Forgiveness washes away any trust we have developed in our idols – whether they be people, nature, our education, our careers, our political party, our religious institutions, our justice systems and government. Forgiveness – the way that Jesus teaches it – is an ideal that does not belong in God’s Kingdom for there is nothing to forgive in a Kingdom of unity and love.
However forgiveness is the only purpose of this world and to practice it consistently and with devotion, is the only way that we can reach the place of our return. For as long as I am holding your human form accountable for my peace, my love, and joy, you will be on my friend list and my shit list. I will say cordial things about you, and I will discuss your faults and failings. Without forgiveness all our relationships are doomed to the difficulties that we have come to accept as normal in the world. In the world, we discuss each other with vengeance, we tell stories about each other, we discuss personal details and make assumptions. While underneath all this yak there is a deep yearning to connect, to know, to understand – we are making an idol to stand in for the person, situation, or event we are making guilty. For we want them to suffer for what they did wrong, and we want to be the innocent party, the ones who did no wrong, who would not dream of sinking that deplorably low.
In forgiveness we are not tempted by making guilty or causing pain. Suffering and death are not the answer – they do nothing to correct and heal. If I would whip you for all the ways you disappointed and shamed me, the disappointment and shame would only be increased, the distance between us would only become wider, and it would never be just between you and me. Our friends and relatives would take sides and join in and soon we would have generations of people taking up arms against each other, dragging each other through the mud instead of having fun together and sharing good times!
When our brother offends us, we must not look to the offense but what is beyond the offense. His offense is a message to us. If I come to your house and you treat me coldly and do not welcome me in, I can take offense and vow to never darken your doorstep again, but this only makes the gap and the fear we have toward each other wider and bleaker and full of meaningless, go-nowhere clutter. Forgiveness compels us to reach for honest communication, forgiveness compels me then to ask you if I have offended you. Forgiveness compels me to let you off the hook, to know that you as a human could be having a dreadful day, you may be ashamed that you did not clean your house, you may have just had a fight with your spouse. Forgiveness is a friendly gesture, a practice that moves us away from the pettiness, low-mindedness, and meanness that divided the Sonship of God.
When you find your purpose in forgiveness and I find my purpose in forgiveness we stand for hope, and when we practice this gentle caring way of being, we do not preach it, we teach it. When I saw my dear friend Hannah practicing gentle, loving, non-judgmental forgiveness, she did not have to tell me to be like her, I wanted to be like her. Her kindness and love worked miracles not only in her patients but in those who observe her at work.
Our walks with God in the world are walks with each other. For the Sonship can only be the Sonship when we turn our backs upon our idols and learn to love and honor all of Creation. Forgiveness teaches us that there is no part of Creation more important or more worthy, less important or less worthy – we are one in Sonship and in Truth. We cannot bring our separate selves to God; we can only bring Sonship for Sonship is the Christ, and Christ must be one.
Today read over this text and see if you get the same message from it that I do. God is our enemy until our hands are joined as one. And we cannot join hands until we forgive each other our humanity – in whatever form it takes, in whatever image, in whatever idol would stand between us and our love.
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter 30 The new beginning v. the only purpose. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons, visit www.i-choose-love.com courtesy of Linda R.
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com.