True Forgiveness

I’ve been asked to go a little deeper into the distinction between true forgiveness and what A Course in Miracles calls the ego’s version of forgiveness: Forgiveness-to-destroy. Students point out to me that many teachers of the Course still seem to teach the ego’s version of forgiveness. I have observed this also. True forgiveness is radically different from what the world thinks of as “forgiveness”. You have to let go of what you think it means – like so many words and concepts in the Course – and accept a new definition. True forgiveness is especially difficult to accept for the ego-identified because it undoes the ego. Resistance to the new meaning is strong in new students and even more experienced students fall back on the ego-appeasing practice of “forgiveness” until their identity begins to shift toward the Holy Spirit. However, true forgiveness is the foundation of the Course’s whole message and you must learn and then accept what it means if you want the Course to make any sense to you.

The ego views its own existence as “proof” that you have destroyed God. Everything the ego makes seeks to validate this erroneous perception. Its version of forgiveness is called “forgiveness-to-destroy” because it perpetuates, rather than undoes, the perception you have killed God. It may be more accurate to call it “forgiveness-to-maintain-your-perception-of-separation-from-God”. But that’s quite a mouthful!

Forgiveness-to-destroy starts from the premise that the world and bodies/egos are real and have replaced God. Therefore everything that happens in the world and everything that bodies/egos do is real. Being real, they cannot be undone. Also, as soon as an event occurs, it is in the past. It is real and it is not here. How can it be undone? The forgiver claims they are letting go; but really they are holding on to their sense of separation from God, which can take any of these forms:

“I will let go of this because I am better than you.”
“I will let go of this because you are better than me.”
“I will let go of this because I am bad and deserve to have bad things happen to me.”
“I will let go of this as soon as you meet my demands.”
“I will let go of my emotions around this situation because I see they are hurting me – but I will never forget you did this.”

True forgiveness says: “Only God is real and I am Part of God. What seems to happen in a world of seeming can only have an effect on me if I choose for it to do so, and I would only choose for it to do so to perceive myself as separate from God.” In true forgiveness you let go of illusions, not reality.

Ultimately, it is your identification with ego you forgive. Obviously, you cannot forgive – let go of, undo – ego when you are still identified with it. True forgiveness can only occur when you have detached from ego and you identify with the Holy Spirit. You do not have to be completely identified with the Holy Spirit to experience the relief of forgiveness. The further away you walk from ego, the more you find you have forgiven situations and people in the “past”. You also find you are no longer making situations you need to forgive. To be detached from ego is to live in a state of forgiveness.

Many students want immediate relief from the pain of the grievances to which they cling. In theory, you could release yourself from ego in an instant. But in practice, most of us take years to begin to detach from ego and more years to fully detach from ego. So if you want relief, start detaching from the ego now by going toward the Holy Spirit. (See,
The Four Habits For Inner Peace).

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Before we can live together in an eternal community, we must be assured that there is nothing within us or others that might escalate or evolve into problems in the future. After all it would not be paradise if we continue to bring up all of our old issues among one another.

When we leave the earth…we go through our life review. We are encouraged to seek our own justice and atonement by going to the parties we have hurt in our lives and asking them to tell us what they want from us in order to make amends. People out there, Solamenta will await the arrival of those on earth that they have committed transgressions against… if they are not already out there in order to make their amends; provided that is, if they are inclined to do so. For example… it’s a humiliating experience for a man to go to his best friend from the earth and confess to him that he had an affair with his wife, stole something from him, cheated him, talked behind his back etc. This is one of the reasons that many wives and husbands don’t continue their relationships out there.

Forgiveness is a concept, granted it is a sterile and morose concept but nevertheless, it has flourished in spite of the fact there is little if any strength behind the words “I forgive you”. These words mean in essence, let’s forget about it. Forgiveness is a concept that has outlived its time!

Instead, let’s consider a more logical approach to resolving our differences….

Hated enemies who find themselves fighting on the same side, become brothers on the battlefield because they are necessary for each other’s survival. When we understand from a logical perspective that you and I are necessary for each other’s eternal survival, we no longer need to say the words, “I forgive you,” but rather, “I understand how badly we need each other”!

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