ACIM Reading for November 18
The Song of Prayer
2.- II. Forgiveness-to-Destroy1. 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 18
I can give up but what was never real.
I sacrifice illusions; nothing more. And as illusions go I find the gifts illusions tried to hide, awaiting me in shining welcome, and in readiness to give God’s ancient messages to me. His memory abides in every gift that I receive of Him. And every dream serves only to conceal the Self which is God’s only Son, the likeness of Himself, the Holy One Who still abides in Him forever, as He still abides in me.
Father, to You all sacrifice remains forever inconceivable. And so I cannot sacrifice except in dreams. As You created me, I can give up nothing You gave me. What You did not give has no reality. What loss can I anticipate except the loss of fear, and the return of love into my mind?
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #1085: I have read on your Web site that God does not hear the prayers that we pray here from this illusory world. How can this be true since we are joined to God through our “right” mind? Also, as we are just ideas in the mind of God, and ideas leave not their source , how could God not hear them seeing as how we, and everything there is, is in the Mind of God? I understand from reading The Song of Prayer , that our prayers should be around forgiveness and about not making any decisions on our own each day. Does the Holy Spirit, and thus God, in fact, hear our prayers or do they only serve to strengthen our faith in the Holy Spirit and God’s plan for our salvation?
A: When we (as one Son) fell asleep and left our home in God, we took with us the memory of our true Identity — that is what is known in A Course in Miracles as our right mind. But since our separating from God is completely illusory, the right mind is as well. We can choose to remember that we are not separate from God, but this has nothing to do with God. God knows nothing of what is not real. The Holy Spirit is spoken of as the “remaining Communication Link between God and His separated Sons” (C.6.3:1) , but as with the other forms He seems to be for us within the dream — a Voice, a Guide, a Helper, etc. — He is in truth part of the “eternal formlessness of God” (C.6.5:8) . It is helpful to keep in mind that to get through to us, Jesus must use language that is meaningful to us; but his meaning is not always meant literally. Thus, whenever he is speaking about duality in any sense, his language must be understood metaphorically, not literally.
In truth, we exist only in the Mind of God, “a Oneness joined as One” (T.25.I.7:1) . But in our deluded state we do not think of ourselves as one with God; we think of ourselves as individuals trying to communicate with God Who is separate from us. There is no “we” in Heaven: “God shares His Fatherhood with you who are His Son, for He makes no distinctions in what is Himself and what is still Himself. What He creates is not apart from Him, and nowhere does the Father end, the Son begin as something separate from Him” (W.pI.132.12:3,4) . In Heaven, therefore, prayer is radically different from what we think it means in this illusory world of separate individuals, where it usually is some form of supplication or entreaty related to our needs. As one with our Source in Heaven, though, “we” could have no needs. Jesus thus says: “The Love They [Father and Son] share is what all prayer will be throughout eternity, when time is done. For such it was before time seemed to be” (S.1.in.1:7,8) .
While we still believe we exist as separate individuals, however, Jesus teaches us that prayer will take the form that best suits our needs (S.1.in.2:1) . It is a process, with different levels corresponding to where we are on our journey back to our natural state of oneness with each other and with God. But it is always for ourselves (S.1.II.6:1; III.1:1); it is part of our Atonement process. Prayer thus should be centered on forgiveness as much as possible, as it is the experience of forgiveness that leads us to the awareness that we already have what we need: “Prayer in its earlier forms [asking out of need] is an illusion, because there is no need for a ladder to reach what one has never left. Yet prayer is part of forgiveness as long as forgiveness, itself an illusion, remains unattained. Prayer is tied up with learning until the goal of learning has been reached. And then all things will be transformed together, and returned unblemished into the Mind of God” (S.1.II.8:3,4,5,6) .