ACIM Daily Lesson 134 Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
ACIM Lesson 134
Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
1. Let us review the meaning of “forgive,” for it is apt to be distorted and to be perceived as something that entails an unfair sacrifice of righteous wrath, a gift unjustified and undeserved, and a complete denial of the truth. ²In such a view, forgiveness must be seen as mere eccentric folly, and this course appear to rest salvation on a whim.
2. This twisted view of what forgiveness means is easily corrected, when you can accept the fact that pardon is not asked for what is true. ²It must be limited to what is false. ³It is irrelevant to everything except illusions. ⁴Truth is God’s creation, and to pardon that is meaningless. ⁵All truth belongs to Him, reflects His laws and radiates His Love. ⁶Does this need pardon? ⁷How can you forgive the sinless and eternally benign?
It’s an Ancient Memory
The reason I seldom have trouble forgiving is that I accept that the world is an illusion. As an illusion, what seems to be said and done in our experience of it cannot have actually happened. I am not forgiving anything real, just my thoughts about an ancient memory. If I do have trouble forgiving, it is because I have temporarily slipped into the story.
When that happens, I experience the memory as if it is actually happening and everything seems important and real. That is when forgiveness seems to be an eccentric folly and hardly seems fair. Jesus tells us repeatedly that we remain as God created us. How could anything God created need forgiveness?
The Idea of Sin as Real
3. The major difficulty that you find in genuine forgiveness on your part is that you still believe you must forgive the truth, and not illusions. ²You conceive of pardon as a vain attempt to look past what is there; to overlook the truth, in an unfounded effort to deceive yourself by making an illusion true. ³This twisted viewpoint but reflects the hold that the idea of sin retains as yet upon your mind, as you regard yourself.
If I fail to forgive or even if I have trouble forgiving, it is because I still believe in sin. This is true regardless of whether I am trying to forgive myself or someone else. If I think someone else has sinned, then I will believe my errors are sins. When I was younger and still in organized religion, I would go to confession to rid myself of sin. However, I remained afraid of God in spite of my penance and absolution by the priest. It did seem like a vain effort to look past what was truly there.
Guilt Cannot Be Forgiven
4. Because you think your sins are real, you look on pardon as deception. ²For it is impossible to think of sin as true and not believe forgiveness is a lie. ³Thus is forgiveness really but a sin, like all the rest. ⁴It says the truth is false, and smiles on the corrupt as if they were as blameless as the grass; as white as snow. ⁵It is delusional in what it thinks it can accomplish. ⁶It would see as right the plainly wrong; the loathsome as the good.
5. Pardon is no escape in such a view. ²It merely is a further sign that sin is unforgivable, at best to be concealed, denied or called another name, for pardon is a treachery to truth. ³Guilt cannot be forgiven. ⁴If you sin, your guilt is everlasting. ⁵Those who are forgiven from the view their sins are real are pitifully mocked and twice condemned; first, by themselves for what they think they did, and once again by those who pardon them.
I Didn’t Trust Forgiveness
The reason I didn’t really gain relief from confession is that I felt like I had sinned and so saying a few prayers hardly seemed to absolve me of that sin. I didn’t trust forgiveness because it didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t think all this out while it was going on. It was in retrospect that I realized why I dreaded confession. Instead of looking forward to it as one might expect of someone being wiped clean of sin, I hated going. It seemed my fears were justified when I got divorced and I could not take the sacraments anymore. Clearly, the confessional could not absolve me as promised. I had proof that guilt could not be forgiven.
A Deep Relief
6. It is sin’s unreality that makes forgiveness natural and wholly sane, a deep relief to those who offer it; a quiet blessing where it is received. ²It does not countenance illusions, but collects them lightly, with a little laugh, and gently lays them at the feet of truth. ³And there they disappear entirely.
This idea that my sins were nothing took a very long time for me to accept. I was firmly convinced that I was guilty. I didn’t give up only because I believed in Jesus more than I believed in sin. At first, though, the idea that these illusions could be laughed at and laid aside seemed both awesome and frightening.
Forgiveness Stands for Truth
7. Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world. ²It sees their nothingness, and looks straight through the thousand forms in which they may appear. ³It looks on lies, but it is not deceived. ⁴It does not heed the self-accusing shrieks of sinners mad with guilt. ⁵It looks on them with quiet eyes, and merely says to them, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.”
When I read this, I felt my first hope that I could be forgiven, that forgiveness was real. Even now, the gentleness and beauty of this paragraph makes me cry. I still find guilt thoughts in my mind sometimes. Now more than ever, I am quick to release them to the Holy Spirit. If I hesitate, I hear Jesus tell me, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.” I cannot be guilty and neither can anyone else. We are as God created us. God does not create sin so we cannot be sinners.
The Undeceiver, The Great Restorer
8. The strength of pardon is its honesty, which is so uncorrupted that it sees illusions as illusions, not as truth. ²It is because of this that it becomes the undeceiver in the face of lies; the great restorer of the simple truth. ³By its ability to overlook what is not there, it opens up the way to truth, which has been blocked by dreams of guilt. ⁴Now are you free to follow in the way your true forgiveness opens up to you. ⁵For if one brother has received this gift of you, the door is open to yourself.
Forgiveness is honest because it doesn’t forgive what has not happened. As Jesus tells us plainly in Lesson 132, there is no world. Without a world, there is no concept of sin. What is there to forgive? Let us forgive our thoughts about sin. Since sin is not possible, forgiveness is the only honest thing we can do with those thoughts. Accept illusions as illusions and there will no longer be a need for forgiveness because the unreality of guilt will be accepted.
Would I Accuse Myself?
9. There is a very simple way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide in welcome. ²When you feel that you are tempted to accuse someone of sin in any form, do not allow your mind to dwell on what you think he did, for that is self-deception. ³Ask instead, “Would I accuse myself of doing this?”
I was confounded by this paragraph at first. Would I accuse myself of doing this? Well, yes. I accused myself of sin many times. But I knew that it must mean something else and finally, I understood. When I accuse someone of a sin, I have done it to myself. If I believe in your sin, I will believe it applies to me, too. So if I am dwelling on someone else’s sin, I am reinforcing the belief in my own.
I literally cannot know myself as innocent if I make you guilty. So, when I think someone has done something wrong, I stop right there and remember who they are. As a creation of God, they can only be innocent and that means I, too, am innocent. If I let my mind dwell too long on the perceived sin, it takes longer to bring the mind back to sanity. And I suffer until it is done.
What He Thought He Saw Was Never There
10. Thus will you see alternatives for choice in terms that render choosing meaningful, and keep your mind as free of guilt and pain as God Himself intended it to be, and as it is in truth. ²It is but lies that would condemn. ³In truth is innocence the only thing there is. ⁴Forgiveness stands between illusions and the truth; between the world you see and that which lies beyond; between the hell of guilt and Heaven’s gate.
11. Across this bridge, as powerful as love which laid its blessing on it, are all dreams of evil and of hatred and attack brought silently to truth. ²They are not kept to swell and bluster, and to terrify the foolish dreamer who believes in them. ³He has been gently wakened from his dream by understanding what he thought he saw was never there. ⁴And now he cannot feel that all escape has been denied to him.
Bringing Guilt Into the Silence
On the one hand, we have illusions. These illusions represent the guilt in our sleeping mind. On the other hand, we have reality, the innocence that has never been touched by guilt and never could. Forgiveness stands between them. I think of forgiveness as that Silent Stillness that is the Holy Spirit. We become aware of guilt and bring the thought of it into the Silence and there the Holy Spirit undoes that illusion. The experience of guilt is gone and only innocence remains. When all belief in guilt has been released to the Holy Spirit we awaken from this dream. We stand at Heaven’s gate.
Forgiveness Must Be Practiced
12. He does not have to fight to save himself. ²He does not have to kill the dragons which he thought pursued him. ³Nor need he erect the heavy walls of stone and iron doors he thought would make him safe. ⁴He can remove the ponderous and useless armor made to chain his mind to fear and misery. ⁵His step is light, and as he lifts his foot to stride ahead a star is left behind, to point the way to those who follow him.
13. Forgiveness must be practiced, for the world cannot perceive its meaning, nor provide a guide to teach you its beneficence. ²There is no thought in all the world that leads to any understanding of the laws it follows, nor the Thought that it reflects. ³It is as alien to the world as is your own reality. ⁴And yet it joins your mind with the reality in you.
True forgiveness can be understood by us as we read these words, but that is not enough. We must practice it consistently for it to take the place of the belief in sin that is presently in the mind. What a relief it is to be free of guilt. Innocence needs no defense. As we forgive the belief in guilt, we help untold others who are ready to make that step. We do this without any effort on our part or even the sense of doing it. Jesus takes our healed thoughts to whoever is ready for them. Without guilt, we feel safe and we are free.
Our Practice of True Forgiveness
14. Today we practice true forgiveness, that the time of joining be no more delayed. ²For we would meet with our reality in freedom and in peace. ³Our practicing becomes the footsteps lighting up the way for all our brothers, who will follow us to the reality we share with them. ⁴That this may be accomplished, let us give a quarter of an hour twice today, and spend it with the Guide Who understands the meaning of forgiveness, and was sent to us to teach it. ⁵Let us ask of Him:
⁶Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
Jesus is asking us to give time to this lesson so that we awaken and help others to awaken as well. We, together as one, made this world with all its problems and upsets. We, together, must undo it. The lessons help us understand what happened and that it can be undone. They also give us a way to do so and it is simple. We only have to follow the directions. I am reminded of what the Introduction said about the lessons.
From the Introduction
1. A theoretical foundation such as the text provides is necessary as a framework to make the exercises in this workbook meaningful. ²Yet it is doing the exercises that will make the goal of the course possible. ³An untrained mind can accomplish nothing. ⁴It is the purpose of this workbook to train your mind to think along the lines the text sets forth. (ACIM, W-in.1:1-4)
These lessons are showing us how to do the exercises and helping us to train our minds so that we will succeed.
9. Remember only this; you need not believe the ideas, you need not accept them, and you need not even welcome them. ²Some of them you may actively resist. ³None of this will matter, or decrease their efficacy. ⁴But do not allow yourself to make exceptions in applying the ideas the workbook contains, and whatever your reactions to the ideas may be, use them. ⁵Nothing more than that is required. (ACIM, W-in.9:1-5)
So, we don’t have to understand, accept or even welcome these lessons. We only need to do them. How easy it is to accomplish our purpose!
Choose One Brother
15. Then choose one brother as He will direct, and catalogue his “sins,” as one by one they cross your mind. ²Be certain not to dwell on any one of them, but realize that you are using his “offenses” but to save the world from all ideas of sin. ³Briefly consider all the evil things you thought of him, and each time ask yourself, “Would I condemn myself for doing this?”
16. Let him be freed from all the thoughts you had of sin in him. ²And now you are prepared for freedom. ³If you have been practicing thus far in willingness and honesty, you will begin to sense a lifting up, a lightening of weight across your chest, a deep and certain feeling of relief. ⁴The time remaining should be given to experiencing the escape from all the heavy chains you sought to lay upon your brother, but were laid upon yourself.
I am always surprised when that one brother comes to mind. Sometimes I think I can’t think of anyone I am holding guilty, but then the Holy Spirit surprises me. Suddenly a name shows up and I laugh because it is always perfect for the exercise.
I Will Not Lay This Chain Upon Myself
17. Forgiveness should be practiced through the day, for there will still be many times when you forget its meaning and attack yourself. ²When this occurs, allow your mind to see through this illusion as you tell yourself:
³Let me perceive forgiveness as it is. ⁴Would I accuse myself of doing this? ⁵I will not lay this chain upon myself.
⁶In everything you do remember this:
⁷No one is crucified alone, and yet no one can enter Heaven by himself.
To enjoy the Pathways of Light Insights on ACIM Lesson 134 click here.
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