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?
This is the key to forgiveness. Nothing has happened. All that seems to have happened occurred at the moment we had a thought of separation. All the many stories and all their variations occurred at once, and at once the correction was given through the Holy Spirit and what occurred did not occur. These things you may feel you cannot forgive, never occurred. It is not God’s Will that there be guilt and so there is not guilt.
Thus, to think that you forgive someone for something they did is to say that the will of God has been corrupted, that the person actually did something that proves God is wrong about His creation. Nothing has happened. We dream of an idea that was undone in the moment it occurred. We all remain as we were created, innocent and free. The key to forgiveness is that there is nothing to forgive because nothing is happening. All we actually forgive is the idea that something is happening.
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.
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.
Isn’t this just the way it feels to forgive what we think actually happened? We look on the sinner and try to see him as forgiven. We make his sin real and then try to forgive it. What this actually says is that the other is wrong but we will let him off the hook for his sin. Of course, this keeps him a sinner and makes us disingenuous at the least. It makes forgiveness a lie.
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.
Forgiveness as the world sees it only makes things worse. If I forgive my friend for abandoning me, I have locked her into her sin. I have said that she is guilty of abandonment. No matter how much I say I forgive her, each protestation maintains her guilt. Perhaps my feeble attempt to undo the situation through forgiving her will simply convince her further that she is guilty and in need of forgiveness. But forgiveness seen in this way simply strengthens the belief in her guilt.
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.
What if this happened instead. What if I felt abandoned and knowing that only my own beliefs could source this feeling, I look at the feeling of abandonment with the Holy Spirit and allow it to be corrected. In this way, the idea of abandonment is forgiven, and now where is the guilt? Nowhere. Who is guilty? No one. The very idea is laughed away and disappears entirely. Can this happen? Can guilt be dealt with so easily? Absolutely. I have done this many times and I attest to its effectiveness.
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.”
What a perfect blessing this is, “My brother, what you think is not the truth.” What difference does it make what seems to be the problem? Does my brother think he is sick? “My brother, what you think is not the truth.” Does he think he is broke, or broken-hearted? “My brother, what you think is not the truth.” What is the truth? “My brother, you are still as God created you. You are innocence itself.”
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.
Once again we are reminded that what we give we receive. If I give true forgiveness, if I give the truth and know my brother for what he is, I receive that knowledge as it applies to me. As I remember that my brother is still as God created him, I remember that I, too, am still as God created me. We are both innocent. That is true forgiveness.
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?”
Good question because what I accuse another of, I accuse myself of the same. Do I really want to accuse myself of sin? Do I want to believe that I am guilty and sinful? If not I must release my brother so that together we can remember our true Self.
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.
All those thoughts, words, and deeds that you think hold you in the hell of your guilt are just illusions. They are meaningless because they are not part of creation. What we thought were our sins were never there. Let them go and you free yourself and the world from all guilt and pain. You free us all to awaken and to return our awareness to our Home to our true Self.
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.
Jesus is very poetic in this paragraph. What it feels to me in my life is that knowing I am forgiven and knowing that everyone else is as well, I can walk the earth without fear. I don’t have to defend my image by making myself appear guiltless because I am guiltless. I don’t have to defend myself from anyone else because I don’t see them as sinners either.
I have learned to look within for whatever it is that I think I see in another. For instance, do I think I have been abandoned? I abandon myself when I believe this is possible. I forgive the belief in abandonment and never again do I imagine anyone can be guilty of this. In forgiveness, I no longer see enemies but only brothers and sisters. I see only what is there, the Christ.
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.
Of course, we have to practice forgiveness. We have so long misunderstood it that we have forgotten what it is. Fortunately, we have Jesus to help us understand and we have his guidance so that we can practice what we want never again to forget.
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.
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.
We are truly one and whatever we do to our brother we do to ourselves. Instead of practicing condemnation, let us today practice forgiveness. Let us note our thoughts about ourselves and each other and then laugh them away knowing it is all in illusion. God created us in His image, we cannot undo this. We remain as we were created. Rejoice in this knowledge.
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.
Today, we can condemn others and thus condemn ourselves or we can save the world. The choice is ours to make and we make it many times during the day. Let us make the choice for salvation.