Course in Miracles
134 - Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.
Let us review the
meaning of forgive, for it is apt to be distorted and to be perceived
as something which entails an unfair sacrifice of righteous wrath,
a gift unjustified and undeserved, and a complete denial of the
“truth” (of guilt).
In such a view, forgiveness
must be seen as mere eccentric folly, and this course appear to
rest salvation on a whim.
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. It must be limited
to what is false. It is irrelevant to everything except illusions
(of guilt). Truth is God’s creation, and to pardon that is
meaningless. All truth belongs to Him, reflects His laws and radiates
His Love. Does this need pardon? How can you forgive the sinless
and eternally benign?
The major difficulty
that you find in genuine forgiveness on your part is that you still
believe you must forgive the “truth” (of guilt), and
not illusions (of guilt). You conceive of pardon as a vain attempt
to look past what is there; to overlook the “truth”
(of guilt), in an unfounded effort to deceive yourself by making
an illusion (of sinlessness) true. This twisted viewpoint but reflects
the hold that the idea of sin retains as yet upon your mind, as
you regard yourself.
Because you think
your sins are real, you look on pardon as deception. For it is impossible
to think of sin as true and not believe forgiveness is a lie. Thus
is forgiveness really but a sin, like all the rest. It says the
“truth” (of sin) is false, and smiles on the corrupt
as if they were as blameless as the grass; as white as snow. It
is delusional in what it thinks it can accomplish. It would see
as right the plainly wrong; the loathsome as the good.
Pardon is no escape
in such a view. It 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. Guilt cannot be forgiven. If you sin, your
guilt is everlasting. Those 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.
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. It does
not countenance illusions (of guilt), but collects them lightly,
with a little laugh, and gently lays them at the feet of truth (of
sinlessness). And there they disappear entirely.
Forgiveness is the
only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world.
It sees their nothingness,
and looks right through the thousand forms in which they may appear.
It looks on lies, but it is not deceived. It does not heed the self-accusing
shrieks of sinners mad with guilt. It looks on them with quiet eyes,
and merely says to them,
what you think is not the truth."
The strength of pardon
is its honesty, which is so uncorrupted that it sees illusions as
illusions, not as truth. It is because of this that it becomes the
undeceiver in the face of lies, the great restorer of the simple
truth. By its ability to overlook what is not there, it opens up
the way to truth (of sinlessness), which had been blocked by dreams
Now are you free to
follow in the way your true forgiveness opens up to you. For if
one brother has received this gift of you, the door is open to yourself.
There is a very simple
way to find the door to true forgiveness, and perceive it open wide
in welcome. When 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 this is self-deception. Ask instead,
I (do I want to) accuse myself of doing this?"
Thus will you see
alternatives for choice in terms which 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. It is but lies which would condemn.
In truth, is innocence the only thing there is. Forgiveness stands...
- between illusions and the truth,
- between the world you see and that
which lies beyond,
- between the hell of guilt and Heaven's
Across this bridge
(of forgiveness), as powerful as Love which laid its blessing on
it, are all dreams of evil and of hatred and attack brought silently
to truth. They are not kept to swell and bluster, and to terrify
the foolish dreamer who believes in them. He has been gently wakened
from his dream by understanding what he thought he saw was never
there. And now he cannot feel that all escape has been denied to
He does not have
to fight to save himself. He does not have to kill the dragons which
he thought pursued him. Nor need he erect the heavy walls of stone
and iron doors he thought would make him safe. He can remove the
ponderous and useless armor made to chain his mind to fear and misery.
His 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.
be practiced, for the world cannot perceive its meaning, nor provide
a guide to teach you its beneficence. There is no thought in all
the world which leads to any understanding of the laws it follows,
nor the Thought which it reflects. It is as alien to the world as
is your own reality. And yet it joins your mind with the reality
Today we practice
true forgiveness, that the time of joining be no more delayed. For
we would meet with our Reality in freedom and in peace. Our practicing
becomes the footsteps lighting up the way for all our brothers,
who will follow us to the Reality we share with them.
That 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. Let us ask
perceive forgiveness as it is.”
Then choose one brother as He will direct, and catalogue
his "sins," as one by one they cross your mind. Be 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
Briefly consider all
the evil things you thought of him, and each time ask yourself,
I (do I want to) condemn myself for doing this?”
Let him be freed from all the thoughts you had of sin in
him. And now, you are prepared for freedom. If 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.
The time remaining
should be given to experiencing the escape from all the heavy chains
you sought to lay upon your brother, which were laid upon yourself.
Forgiveness should be practiced through the
day, for there will be so many times when you forget its meaning,
and attack yourself. When this occurs, allow your mind to see through
this illusion as you tell yourself:
perceive forgiveness as it is. Should I accuse myself of doing
this? I will not lay this chain upon myself.”
In everything you do,
No one is crucified
alone, and yet no one can enter Heaven by himself.