A Course in Miracles

Chapter 17 - Forgiveness and Healing

Practical Forgiveness or Setting the Goals

The practical application of the Holy Spirit’s purpose is extremely simple, but it is unequivocal. In fact, in order to be simple it must be unequivocal—the simple is merely what is easily understood, and for this it is apparent that it must be clear.

The setting of the Holy Spirit’s goal is general. Now He will work with you to make it specific. There are certain very specific guidelines He provides for any situation, but remember that you do not yet realize their universal application. Therefore, it is essential, at this point, to use them in each situation separately, until you can more safely look beyond each situation, in an understanding far broader than you now possess.

In any situation in which you are uncertain, the first thing to consider, very simply, is...

“What do I want to come of this? What is it for?”

The clarification of the goal belongs at the beginning, for it is this which will determine the outcome. In the ego’s procedure, this is reversed. The situation becomes the determiner of the outcome, which can be anything. The reason for this disorganized approach is evident. The ego does not know what it wants to come of it. It is aware of what it does not want, but only that.It has no positive goal at all.

Without a clearcut, positive goal, set at the outset, the situation just seems to happen, and makes no sense until it has already happened. Then you look back at it, and try to piece together what it must have meant, and you will be wrong. Not only is your judgment in the past, but you have no idea what should happen. No goal was set with which to bring the means in line, and now the only judgment left to make is whether or not the ego likes it: is it acceptable, or does it call for vengeance? The absence of a criterion for outcome, set in advance, makes understanding doubtful and evaluation impossible.

The value of deciding in advance what you want to happen is simply that you will perceive the situation as a means to make it happen. You will therefore make every effort to overlook what interferes with the accomplishment of your objective, and concentrate on everything which helps you meet it.

It is quite noticeable that this approach has brought you closer to the Holy Spirit’s sorting out of truth and falsity. The true becomes what can be used to meet the goal. The false becomes the useless from this point of view. The situation now has meaning, but only because the goal has made it meaningful.

The goal of truth has further practical advantages. If the situation is used for truth and sanity, its outcome must be peace, and this is quite apart from what the outcome is. If peace is the condition of truth and sanity, and cannot be without them, where peace is they (truth & sanity) must be. Truth comes of itself. If you experience peace, it is because the truth has come to you, and you will see the outcome truly—for deception cannot prevail against you, and you will recognize the outcome, because you are at peace. Here again, you see the opposite of the ego’s way of looking, for the ego believes the situation brings the experience. The Holy Spirit knows that the situation is as the goal determines it, and is experienced according to the goal.

The goal of truth requires faith.

Faith is implicit in the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s purpose. And this faith is all inclusive—where the goal of truth is set, there faith must be. The Holy Spirit sees the situation as a whole.The goal establishes the fact that everyone involved in it will play his part in its accomplishment.

This is inevitable. No one will fail in anything.

This seems to ask for faith beyond you, and beyond what you can give, yet this is so only from the viewpoint of the ego, for the ego believes in “solving” conflict through fragmentation and does not perceive the situation as a whole. Therefore, it seeks to split off segments of the situation and deal with them separately, for it has faith in separation, and not in wholeness.

Confronted with any aspect of the situation which seems to be difficult, the ego will attempt to take this aspect elsewhere, and resolve it there. And it will seem to be successful, except that this attempt conflicts with unity and must obscure the goal of truth. And peace will not be experienced except in fantasy. Truth has not come, because faith has been denied, being withheld from where it rightfully belonged. Thus do you lose the understanding of the situation the goal of truth would bring; for fantasy solutions bring but the illusion of experience, and the illusion of peace is not the condition in which the truth can enter.

The substitutes for aspects of the situation are the witnesses to your lack of faith. They demonstrate that you did not believe that ...

the situation and the problem were in the same place.

The problem was the lack of faith. And it is this you demonstrate when you remove it from its source and place it elsewhere. As a result, you do not see the problem. Had you not lacked the faith it could be solved, the problem would be gone, and the situation would have been meaningful to you, because the interference in the way of understanding would have been removed. To remove the problem elsewhere is to keep it, for you remove yourself from it and make it unsolvable.

 
 
A Course in Miracles

Chapter 17 - Forgiveness and Healing

The Need for Faith

There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve. There is no shift in any aspect of the problem but will make solution impossible, for if you shift part of the problem elsewhere, the meaning of the problem must be lost, and the solution to the problem is inherent in its meaning.

Is it not possible that all your problems have been solved, but you have removed yourself from the solution?

Yet faith must be where something has been done, and where you see it done. A situation is a relationship, being the joining of thoughts. If problems are perceived, it is because the thoughts are judged to be in conflict, but if the goal is truth, this is impossible. Some idea of bodies must have entered, for minds cannot attack.

The thought of bodies is the sign of faithlessness. For bodies cannot solve anything, and it is their intrusion on the relationship, an error in your thoughts about the situation, which then becomes the justification for your lack of faith.

You will make this error, but be not at all concerned with that. The error does not matter. Faithlessness brought to faith will never interfere with truth. But faithlessness used against truth will always destroy faith. If you lack faith, ask that it be restored where it was lost. And seek not to have it made up to you elsewhere, as if you had been unjustly deprived of it.

Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation. But remember this; the goal of holiness was set for your relationship, and not by you. You did not set it, because holiness cannot be seen except through faith, and your relationship was not holy because your faith in one another was so limited and little. Your faith must grow to meet the goal that has been set. The goal’s reality will call this forth, for you will see that peace and faith will not come separately.

What situation can you be in without faith, and remain faithful to each other?

Every situation in which you find yourself is but a means to meet the purpose set for your relationship. See it as something else, and you are faithless. Use not your faithlessness. Let it enter and look upon it calmly, but do not use it. Faithlessness is the servant of illusion, and wholly faithful to its master. Use it, and it will carry you straight to illusions. Be tempted not by what it offers you. It interferes, not with the goal, but with the value of the goal to you. Accept not the illusion of peace it offers, but look upon its offering and recognize it is illusion.

The goal of illusion is as closely tied to faithlessness as faith to truth. If you lack faith in anyone to fulfill, and perfectly, his part in any situation dedicated in advance to truth, your dedication is divided, and so you have been faithless to each other, and used your faithlessness against each other.

No relationship is holy unless its holiness goes with it everywhere. As holiness and faith go hand in hand, so must its faith go everywhere with it. The goal’s reality will call forth and accomplish every miracle needed for its fulfillment. Nothing too small or too enormous, too weak or too compelling, but will be gently turned to its use and purpose. The universe will serve it gladly, as it serves the universe. But do not interfere.

The power set in you in whom the Holy Spirit’s goal has been established is so far beyond your little conception of the infinite that you have no idea how great the strength that goes with you. And you can use this in perfect safety. Yet for all its might, so great it reaches past the stars and to the universe that lies beyond them, your little faithlessness can make it useless, if you would use the faithlessness instead.

Yet think on this, and learn the cause of faithlessness...

You think you hold against the other what he has done to you. But what you really blame him for is what you did to him. It is not his past, but yours, you hold against him. And you lack faith in him because of what you were. Yet you are as innocent of what you were as he is.

What never was, is causeless, and is not there to interfere with truth. There is no cause for faithlessness, but there is a Cause for faith. That Cause has entered any situation which shares Its purpose. The light of truth shines from the center of the situation, and touches everyone to whom the situation’s purpose calls. It calls to everyone.

There is no situation which does not involve your whole relationship, in every aspect and complete in every part. You can leave nothing of yourself outside it, and keep the situation holy, for it shares the purpose of your whole relationship and derives its meaning from it.

Enter each situation with the faith that you give to each other, or you are faithless to your own relationship.
Your faith will call the others to share your purpose, as this same purpose called forth the faith in you. And you will see the means you once employed to lead you to illusions transformed to means for truth.

When the Holy Spirit changed the purpose of your relationship by exchanging yours for His, the goal He placed there was extended to every situation in which you enter, or will ever enter. And every situation was thus made free of the past, which would have made it purposeless.

You call for faith because of Him Who walks with you in every situation. You are no longer wholly insane, nor no longer alone, for loneliness in God must be a dream. You, whose relationship shares the Holy Spirit’s goal, are set apart from loneliness because the truth has come. Its call for faith is strong. Use not your faithlessness against it, for it calls you to salvation and to peace.

 

 
A Course in Miracles
Chapter 17 - Forgiveness and Healing

Conditions of Forgiveness

The holy instant is nothing more than a special case, or an extreme example, of what every situation is meant to be.

The meaning which the Holy Spirit’s purpose has given it is also given to every situation. It calls forth just the same suspension of faithlessness, withheld and left unused, that faith might answer to the call of truth.

The holy instant is the shining example, the clear and unequivocal demonstration of the meaning of every relationship and every situation, seen as a whole. Faith has accepted every aspect of the situation, and faithlessness has not forced any exclusion on it. It is a situation of perfect peace simply because you have let it be what it is.

This simple courtesy is all the Holy Spirit asks of you: Let truth be what it is.

Do not intrude upon it, do not attack it, do not interrupt its coming.

Let it encompass every situation, and bring you peace. Not even faith is asked of you, for truth asks nothing. Let it enter, and it will call forth and secure for you the faith you need for peace. But rise you not against it, for against your opposition it cannot come.

Would you not want to make a holy instant of every situation?

For such is the gift of faith, freely given wherever faithlessness is laid aside, unused, and then the power of the Holy Spirit’s purpose is free to use instead.

This power instantly transforms all situations into one sure and continuous means for establishing His purpose, and demonstrating its reality. What has been demonstrated has called for faith, and has been given it.

Now it becomes a fact, from which faith can no longer be withheld.

The strain of refusing faith to truth is enormous, and far greater than you realize. But to answer truth with faith entails no strain at all.

To you who have acknowledged the call of your Redeemer, the strain of not responding to His call seems to be greater than before.

This is not so. Before, the strain was there but you attributed it to something else, believing that the “something else” produced it. This was never true. For what the “something else” produced was

  • sorrow and depression,
  • sickness and pain,
  • darkness and dim imaginings of terror,
  • cold fantasies of fear and
  • fiery dreams of hell.

And it was nothing but the intolerable strain of refusing to give faith to truth, and see its evident reality. Such was the crucifixion of the Son of God. His faithlessness did this to him.

Think carefully before you let yourself use faithlessness against him. For he is risen, and you have accepted the cause of his awakening as yours.

You have assumed your part in his redemption, and you are now fully responsible to him.

Fail him not now, for it has been given you to realize what your lack of faith in him must mean to you.

His salvation is your only purpose. See only this in every situation, and it will be a means for bringing only this.

When you accepted truth as the goal for your relationship, you became givers of peace as surely as your Father gave peace to you.

For the goal of peace cannot be accepted apart from its conditions, and you had faith in it, for no one accepts what he does not believe is real.

Your purpose has not changed, and will not change, for you accepted what can never change. And nothing that it needs to be forever changeless can you now withhold from it.

Your release is certain. Give as you have received. And demonstrate that you have risen far beyond any situation that could hold you back, and keep you separate from Him Whose call you answered.

 

 
 

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