Forgiveness: What's in it for Me?
This ACIM Blog Post is Written by Rev. Myron Jones
Pathways of Light Prayer Support Dedicated to the practice of applying the ACIM principles of True Prayer. I love being part of this prayer ministry.
If I forgive myself it is obvious that I am helped by this forgiveness.
Feeling like I am guilty is unpleasant and causes me to lose my peace and peace is my goal, so I want forgiveness.
But there is more.
We are here to awaken to our true Self, and my true Self is one with all.
I don’t need forgiveness just for myself, I need all of us to be forgiven, so I can no longer afford to hold grievances.
⁴Through your forgiveness does the truth about yourself return to your memory. ⁵Therefore, in your forgiveness lies your salvation. (ACIM, W-62.1:4-5)
I think of forgiveness as the recognition that we have actually done nothing and that we have never been condemned so there is nothing to forgive.
It is returning our mind to right thinking and realizing that no one has hurt us or affected us, that it is only our beliefs that make it seem this is not so. How could anyone victimize me when it is my script and my choice to have this experience.
I also think of forgiveness as undoing.
For instance, I forgive the idea that I could ever be separate from anything and that is an undoing of that belief. As I forgive the world I see and experience, it is undone in my mind and the darkness is replaced by light, and the memory of who I am returns to me.
The idea that I am a separate person with an identity different from any other, and that I am separate from my Creator is what I am forgiving.
It is an illusion, something that could never happen, but because we have made up a story of separation, it feels like an attack on creation and on its Creator.
This causes me to feel guilt and to be afraid of salvation.
Forgiveness dispels this belief and with it, the guilt and fear.
It is undone and I remember the truth. Now the illusion seems ridiculous. How could we ever have believed in the fantasy that we could make ourselves something we are not.
I wonder if the apple tree longs to be a cherry tree?
Would it strive to turn its back on reality and try to produce cherries?
What a silly dream that would be, and how impossible to accomplish.
That is what we try to do when we dream of being separate and less than a perfect part of God.
When I fail to forgive, I suffer.
It doesn’t matter who I think is guilty, I suffer. I became frustrated with Lowes this morning because for two days they have transferred me from one person to another and have failed to get me to a person who can help me. In my frustration, I snapped at the last person I spoke to telling her that I was ready to give up on Lowes and call Home Depot instead because I was tired of being transferred to people who could not help. She offered to get me to the right person and did so right away.
As soon as I expressed my frustration to her, I felt weak and fatigued.
It was simple fear that I was helpless in this situation. I forgave it as soon as I heard the anger in my voice and my mind returned to peace and the fear was gone.
No matter who I forgive, I experience the effects of forgiveness which are peace and happiness.
In Lesson 63, Jesus says this.
How holy are you who have the power to bring peace to every mind!
He says we do this through forgiveness. I feel so much joy when I think about bringing peace to others. What is also done in this case is that through forgiveness, I begin to remember who I am. I am very holy.
I forget this when I fail to forgive, when I judge from the perspective of the ego mind.
To know that I am as God created me, I must know that everyone else is, too.
4 Remember that God's Son looks to you for his salvation. 5 And Who but your Self must be His Son?
I took my car to the dealership yesterday because a warning light was on.
They kept it overnight because they hadn’t discovered the problem yet. It is under warranty but not everything is covered and I was warned that just looking could cost me nearly $500.00. I noticed the ego thought that this is a problem but I didn’t entertain that thought so it faded away. This is forgiving the thought and it is bringing peace to every mind.
I talked to them about that, suggesting that it didn’t seem right that I should pay them to figure out what was wrong since that was their job. Fixing it, yes, but paying them just to discover what they needed to do seemed strange to me, but because I had forgiven the thought that I should be worried about a potential bill of $500, I was relaxed and non-combative. They explained how this works and were very nice about it. In the end, it cost me $60. The real bargain, though, was the peace of mind I received through forgiveness.
Getting my car running again is just another thing that must be done in the story.
My goal, though, is to do it in peace and with love toward everyone involved.
It is my function to forgive any thoughts of being a victim or unfairly treated that might rise up in my mind.
I’m throwing forgiveness pebbles into the mind so that healing will ripple through it.
Whatever happens with the car will happen and be forgotten as have thousands of things that occurred in this life, but the healing is permanent and real and my function.
In Lesson 69, Jesus tells us that our grievances hide the light of the world in us.
That fact alone, is enough to motivate me to forgive all grievances.
The light in us is what we seek.
In lesson after lesson, Jesus asks us to spend some time in stillness looking for that light.
The light is what we are, it is our true Self and it is hidden from us when we fail to forgive.
It is imperative that we understand what happens when we hold grievances.
Grievances keep the illusion in place and keep us in hell, not just the one holding the grievance, but all of the Sonship.
When one of us is in hell, we all are.
Feeling separate from God is hell.
The one we think is our enemy is our brother and our forgiveness saves us both.
Remembering the goal is awakening to our Self, what grievance could we value over that?
The unforgiving mind sees no mistakes, but only sins.
Is this true?
Have you ever read an article about a person who has raped a child?
Did you condemn him in your mind?
I thought what an evil person this was.
It had not occurred to me (at that time in my life) to pray for all concerned, the one who was hurt and the one who did the hurting, that we cannot leave any part of the Sonship unhealed.
The world is a projection of the collective consciousness of all of us, so all that happens in the world is a reflection of that mind of which I am a part.
I wanted to think that my mind was separate from other minds and it was only the evil that projected evil.
But our minds are not separate and the world was not made by some of us but not all of us.
I am responsible for all that is made and so I am able to forgive all that is in my awareness.
In order for us to return our awareness to our real life, we must forgive this miserable parody of life we made with our desire for specialness.
As long as our minds are filled with un-forgiveness, we will suffer and we will not remember Who We are because we are Love and there is no hate in love.
If we want freedom we must forgive everyone and realize there is only innocence.
It feels funny to me now to think about it, but I used to think that I was right in my judgments and that the world I saw all around me proved how right I was. I decided what a person should be like to be innocent and I held onto that judgment like it was my salvation and I dared not let it go.
As long as I see one person as condemned and unforgiven, the world is held hostage to my judgment and thus so am I.
If I believe in judgment, I will judge myself.
If I believe in judgment, no one will be safe from my attack.
Questioning my judgment is the first step to my freedom and to the freedom of the world.
But if I am certain that I am right, I will not take that first step.
Here is what Jesus tells us in the ACIM Manual for Teachers about judgment.
It is necessary for the teacher of God to realize, not that he should not judge, but that he cannot. ²In giving up judgment, he is merely giving up what he did not have. ³He gives up an illusion; or better, he has an illusion of giving up.
Once I made up my mind that I cannot judge and I am never right when I see sin rather than error, it became easy to forgive.
I saw that I was only forgiving my judgments.
As we forgive others, we move closer and closer to forgiving the self that we made because in forgiving, we are forgiving the idea of sin and the idea of a world outside our mind. The self we made is part of that world thus we forgive that idea as well, and the idea that it was a sin that we tried to usurp God as the prime creator by becoming our own creator.
We have all met someone who is unforgiving.
It might be a parent who never saw the good in you, only your errors. It might be a sibling who blamed you for everything that went wrong in her life. Or someone at work, a coworker or boss who blames you when something isn’t going right even if you had nothing to do with it.
Maybe it is a friend who thinks you are guilty for not spending more time with her.
They suffer from an unforgiving mind and we are their hope.
If we will forgive all their projections onto us, we teach them forgiveness and become their savior. In doing so, we teach ourselves forgiveness and we, too, are saved from Hell.
No matter what the question, the answer is forgiveness.
Looking for a second opinion will not satisfy.
Salvation is now if we so desire it.
Simply forgive at every opportunity.
Forgive everyone for any errors, making no exceptions.
Forgive all circumstances and let the mind be healed of the belief that there is sometimes justification for not doing so.
We want to forgive the world we made so that it can disappear from our mind and leave us with the love and joy and peace that the world obscures but which is still in us, as us.