Sunday, April 20, 2008

LESSON 46 God is the Love in which I forgive.


God is the Love in which I forgive.

God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary. Forgiveness is the great need of this world, but that is because it is a world of illusions. Those who forgive are thus releasing themselves from illusions, while those who withhold forgiveness are binding themselves to them. As you condemn only yourself, so do you forgive only yourself.

Yet although God does not forgive, His Love is nevertheless the basis of forgiveness. Fear condemns and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. For this reason, forgiveness can truly be called salvation. It is the means by which illusions disappear.

Today's exercises require at least three full five-minute practice periods, and as many shorter ones as possible. Begin the longer practice periods by repeating today's idea to yourself, as usual. Close your eyes as you do so, and spend a minute or two in searching your mind for those whom you have not forgiven. It does not matter "how much" you have not forgiven them. You have forgiven them entirely or not at all.

If you are doing the exercises well you should have no difficulty in finding a number of people you have not forgiven. It is a safe rule that anyone you do not like is a suitable subject. Mention each one by name, and say:

God is the Love in which I forgive you, [name].

The purpose of the first phase of today's practice periods is to put you in a position to forgive yourself. After you have applied the idea to all those who have come to mind, tell yourself:

God is the Love in which I forgive myself.

Then devote the remainder of the practice period to adding related ideas such as:

God is the Love with which I love myself
God is the Love in which I am blessed.

The form of the application may vary considerably, but the central idea should not be lost sight of. You might say, for example:

I cannot be guilty because I am a Son of God.
I have already been forgiven.
No fear is possible in a mind beloved of God.
There is no need to attack because love has forgiven me.

The practice period should end, however, with a repetition of today's idea as originally stated.

The shorter practice periods may consist either of a repetition of the idea for today in the original or in a related form, as you prefer. Be sure, however, to make more specific applications if they are needed. They will be needed at any time during the day when you become aware of any kind of negative reaction to anyone, present or not. In that event, tell him silently:

God is the Love in which I forgive you.


Lesson 46
“God is the Love in which I forgive.”

In yesterday’s lesson, we practiced moving through the clouds with the Holy Spirit and coming to the Light that we all are. I have the choice to focus on the clouds and stay there, or move through the clouds. When I am willing to move through the clouds, then I am always brought to the Light. In the Light is peace and understanding. The Light holds no grievances. The Light remembers that the clouds are illusions of separation and are not real. Forgiveness does not mean sacrifice or being a doormat, but forgiveness comes from letting go of what is not real, letting go of separation. Forgiveness IS letting go of separation.

In the world of separation, there will always be grievances. There will always be differences, distinctions that are without end. With forgiveness I take every cloud to the Holy Spirit and ask to see it differently. I ask to be brought to the Love that is behind the barrier, the cloud. The Holy Spirit is awesome at dissolving the clouds. It makes things that seem so complicated so simple. Love is the answer. Love is what is real. Simple, uncomplicated Love brings the peace of God. Today I am willing to practice moving through the clouds and find the Love that is always there.

God is the Love in which I forgive. God is the love in which I forgive myself. Myself is the one that I really need to forgive. My response to my ego when it tells me I must do this or I must do that in order to be worthy is God is the Love in which I forgive myself. The Self that’s always been there needs no forgiveness but what I really need to understand is that the ego is nothing and is not me. And therefore I need no forgiveness, because I have never been condemned. Only the ego condemns and is condemned. So God is the Love in which I find forgiveness, in which my heart can begin to open again and again and again to Love and clarity and benevolence and peace and joy.

As I allow today’s idea to sink into my heart, what stands out to me is the importance of defining the motive behind my forgiveness. Am I forgiving out of fear or am I forgiving out of Love? Honestly, true forgiveness can only be in Love.

As I look upon my life, I notice the times I pretended to forgive. I forgave out of obligation, and always with expectations. I forgave someone because I believed it is the only way the relationship could work. I forgave someone because maybe they will love me more, I will be more accepted, or maybe they will change. This expectation was always a sign that the attempt of forgiveness was incomplete.

When I truly step into a space of true forgiveness, then I can forgive without obligation. Accepting this is the same as accepting that my brother cannot truly hurt me. Then I find myself in a space in which I am truly loving my brother.

Forgiveness is allowing the Love to flow. If I am in a situation that is a call for love, then forgiveness isn’t an obligation, it is an opportunity for joy. I can say to myself, “I do not want to limit my life and decide what this situation is for. That’s what got me here in the first place. Now I decide to let the miracles in.” Forgiving my brother means I don’t fear anyone can hurt me. I have the freedom to be whole and I can do so simply by allowing the LOVE to show me what anything is for.

Much of my life I lived with the ‘doormat’ syndrome. If I felt a need to express what I believed to be true, I would hold back because I thought it might not be accepted by others,. This pattern has brought me great discomfort over the years and kept me in situations that weren’t healthy. If Jesus had had this attitude, we wouldn’t have A Course in Miracles. Clearly much of what is written in the book is rejected by much of the world and probably parts of it by most of the students who read it.

If I am unwilling to express what others might disagree with, then I am limiting my willingness to follow Holy Spirit’s lead. This does not mean I go around confronting people and telling them where they are wrong. But if I have a predisposition not to make waves, then I will not be open to Spirit’s guidance that may lead me on a path less traveled.

All this comes out of fear of condemnation. Today’s lesson that tells me that God never condemned me. It also tells me that all condemnation is self condemnation. So this fear of condemnation is fear of my own condemnation. That is why I need to forgive myself. That is why I need to accept that God is the Love in which I forgive. If I have condemned myself, I can’t look to my little self as the means to forgive. But I do have the Means and It is God.

Gratitude fills my heart. Along with it comes great relief. I am not alone. God is with me. It is His Love that helps me let go of my self condemnation. It is His message through His voice that teaches me I am innocent and the world is innocent. There is nothing to fear because condemnation is not real. It is just an ego ploy to make illusions seem immutable, yet that is an oxymoron. God is the Love in which I forgive is another way of saying I am blessed as a Son of God.

The lesson asks us to think of those we need to forgive. They suggest that anyone we do not like would be a suitable subject. I can think of a couple of people who fit that category, but I find the ones I most need to forgive are the people closest to me. It is the sense of betrayal that you can only experience with someone you care about that is the hardest to forgive.

I understand that I cannot be betrayed and I understand that no one has actually done anything to me. I understand that I am projecting all this stuff onto them. But my understanding is still mostly intellectual. The truth is, I still have many special relationships and I expect those people I have designated as special to live up to certain expectations. When they don't, I feel hurt and betrayed.

Writing this out and looking at it like this I can see what I am doing to myself. I can also see how forgiving them is really all about forgiving myself. I have taken some pretty big steps in this direction: I see pretty clearly what I am doing,I know that I want to do this differently,this is important to me. I look forward to spending today taking another step forward as I accept healing in this area of my life. How wonderfully lucky I am to have the Course!

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