ACIM Reading for November 30
Supplement: Song of Prayer
2.- II. Forgiveness-to-Destroy
1. Forgiveness-to-destroy has many forms, being a weapon of the world of form. Not all of them are obvious, and some are carefully concealed beneath what seems like charity. Yet all the forms that it may seem to take have but this single goal; their purpose is to separate and make what God created equal, different. The difference is clear in several forms where the designed comparison cannot be missed, nor is it really meant to be.
2. In this group, first, there are the forms in which a “better” person deigns to stoop to save a “baser” one from what he truly is. Forgiveness here rests on an attitude of gracious lordliness so far from love that arrogance could never be dislodged. Who can forgive and yet despise? And who can tell another he is steeped in sin, and yet perceive him as the Son of God? Who makes a slave to teach what freedom is? There is no union here, but only grief. This is not really mercy. This is death.
3. Another form, still very like the first if it is understood, does not appear in quite such blatant arrogance. The one who would forgive the other does not claim to be the better. Now he says instead that here is one whose sinfulness he shares, since both have been unworthy and deserve the retribution of the wrath of God. This can appear to be a humble thought, and may indeed induce a rivalry in sinfulness and guilt. It is not love for God’s creation and the holiness that is His gift forever. Can His Son condemn himself and still remember Him?
4. Here the goal is to separate from God the Son He loves, and keep him from his Source. This goal is also sought by those who seek the role of martyr at another’s hand. Here must the aim be clearly seen, for this may pass as meekness and as charity instead of cruelty. Is it not kind to be accepting of another’s spite, and not respond except with silence and a gentle smile? Behold, how good are you who bear with patience and with saintliness the anger and the hurt another gives, and do not show the bitter pain you feel.
5. Forgiveness-to-destroy will often hide behind a cloak like this. It shows the face of suffering and pain, in silent proof of guilt and of the ravages of sin. Such is the witness that it offers one who could be savior, not an enemy. But having been made enemy, he must accept the guilt and heavy-laid reproach that thus is put upon him. Is this love? Or is it rather treachery to one who needs salvation from the pain of guilt? What could the purpose be, except to keep the witnesses of guilt away from love?
6. Forgiveness-to-destroy can also take the form of bargaining and compromise. “I will forgive you if you meet my needs, for in your slavery is my release.” Say this to anyone and you are slave. And you will seek to rid yourself of guilt in further bargains which can give no hope, but only greater pain and misery. How fearful has forgiveness now become, and how distorted is the end it seeks. Have mercy on yourself who bargains thus. God gives and does not ask for recompense. There is no giving but to give like Him. All else is mockery. For who would try to strike a bargain with the Son of God, and thank his Father for his holiness?
7. What would you show your brother? Would you try to reinforce his guilt and thus your own? Forgiveness is the means for your escape. How pitiful it is to make of it the means for further slavery and pain. Within the world of opposites there is a way to use forgiveness for the goal of God, and find the peace He offers you. Take nothing else, or you have sought your death, and prayed for separation from your Self. Christ is for all because He is in all. It is His face forgiveness lets you see. It is His face in which you see your own.
8. All forms forgiveness takes that do not lead away from anger, condemnation and comparisons of every kind are death. For that is what their purposes have set. Be not deceived by them, but lay them by as worthless in their tragic offerings. You do not want to stay in slavery. You do not want to be afraid of God. You want to see the sunlight and the glow of Heaven shining on the face of earth, redeemed from sin and in the Love of God. From here is prayer released, along with you. Your wings are free, and prayer will lift you up and bring you home where God would have you be.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for November 30
Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives.
I will not wait another day to find the treasures that my Father offers me. Illusions are all vain, and dreams are gone even while they are woven out of thoughts that rest on false perceptions. Let me not accept such meager gifts again today. God’s Voice is offering the peace of God to all who hear and choose to follow Him. This is my choice today. And so I go to find the treasures God has given me.
I seek but the eternal. For Your Son can be content with nothing less than this. What, then, can be his solace but what You are offering to his bewildered mind and frightened heart, to give him certainty and bring him peace? Today I would behold my brother sinless. This Your Will for me, for so will I behold my sinlessness.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #440: For years now I study and do my utmost to practice the principles of A Course in Miracles. But how on earth do I forgive a person like Saddam Hussein? Have I not forgiven myself in total that I seem not to be able to forgive leaders like him? They always seem to be people I do not know personally, but who are capable of allowing in their governments the most horrible things to happen to their fellow men. It comes down to the question: How do I forgive totally and completely?
A: When the mind chooses to believe that the separation is real it gives rise to intolerable guilt that must be projected out. It is first projected onto a made-up god of vengeance (victimizer), who will punish the Son (victim) for the imagined separation thought. This ego dynamic of an “innocent” victim pursued by an angry, vicious victimizer runs through every authority relationship in the world, in many different forms. In the following passage this dynamic is described: “Suffering is an emphasis upon all that the world has done to injure you. Here is the world’s demented version of salvation clearly shown. Like to a dream of punishment, in which the dreamer is unconscious of what brought on the attack against himself, he sees himself attacked unjustly and by something not himself. He is the victim of this “something else,” a thing outside himself, for which he has no reason to be held responsible. He must be innocent because he knows not what he does, but what is done to him. Yet is his own attack upon himself apparent still, for it is he who bears the suffering. And he cannot escape because its source is seen outside himself” (T.27.VII.1).
Several important principles of the Course’s teaching of forgiveness are presented here, and are meant to be applied precisely to the situations you describe. The Course tells us that the source of all victimization is in the mind that has attacked itself by believing that it can be separate from its Source (God). The choice to believe this thought of separation and the ensuing guilt are forgotten, and then appear in some form of conflict in the world, with the victimization theme running through it. There is no resolution in the world. There is obviously an endless supply of Hitlers, Husseins, or other less dramatic examples of victimizers. This is because, as the Course tells us, the problem is in the mind and not in the world. The first step in the forgiveness process then, is recognizing that guilt in the mind is the cause of all conflict, pain, and victimization experienced in the world. This is a very difficult step because the situations in the world are so convincing. On the ego’s terms projection works; it keeps the suffering of the world in operation. This guilt lies buried in all of us, and thus is unnoticed and unhealed. When a particular form of “evil-doer” comes along and we judge him or her, we are provided with another opportunity to forgive this unconscious guilt. Incidentally, this does not mean that you approve of the cruelty of others, but it does mean that you do not have to condemn the person.
If you could forgive totally and completely you would not need A Course in Miracles to lead you through the gentle steps of letting the Holy Spirit transform all the beliefs of the ego thought system. It is enough to be willing to question your interpretation of the situations you describe, by remembering the true source of the conflict and asking for a new interpretation: “The Guest Whom God sent you will teach you how to do this, if you but recognize the little spark and are willing to let it grow. Your willingness need not be perfect, because His is” (T.11.II.6:5,6).