The Miracle of Real Forgiveness
The purpose of forgiveness is to free our mind to remember what is true. The “miracle” of forgiveness is that it will change the way you see yourself, then change the world you see.
The truth is already in our mind. What frees us to remember it is letting go of what we now misperceive is true. What is true and what we misperceive is true is exactly opposite in every way. This means that changing our belief is not a matter of tweaking or altering the one we have. It means surrendering the one we have in its entirety.
Our current belief is founded on the assumption that there is something wrong with us. It is an assumption anchored upon many lifetimes of experiencing the effects of our belief. The guilt this has accumulated in our mind has made it seem to be the truth and so when we think of changing our mind there is still a tendency to think of that as a process of overcoming what is wrong. At a very deep level we think of forgiveness as overlooking what is true.
Accepting that the world we see is only a story we are telling is a stretch until we have changed our mind and so changed the story as it happens in the world. Until then we are drawn to try to change the story without changing what has caused it. To understand our reluctance to face what we most fear about simply abandoning our guilt, there is an exercise that can be helpful.
Think of the “worst” thing you, or anyone else, has ever done, the most hateful thought you have ever had. Can you simply say to yourself, this doesn’t matter? I can be happy with myself right now, without the need for guilt or for penance of any kind; no “atonement” is needed because nothing real has happened? If you can’t, if there is any feeling of remorse or doubt, is real forgiveness possible?
The answer is “no,” as long as something real has happened, something has occurred that has had effected your reality, “real” forgiveness is not possible. Attempts to forgive what you perceive and define as an attack have already validated that the cause of the attack is real, which by itself guarantees that there will be more attacks. This will, in fact, feel like sacrifice and will itself become an attack on your fundamental rights. Forgiveness must not be seen as an answer to attack, but rather as the means to change the thought that made the idea of attack seem meaningful.
Understanding this is essential if we are to learn to truly forgive. Perhaps the most difficult thing for us to accept that ACIM teaches is that the world we see is not real. While we still identify with the ego body we are vulnerable to all the effects of the ego belief and the “reality” of the world it has made.
Because our guilt cannot accept responsibility for the fearful world we see, we have forgotten our most natural function is to create, and so do not identify with our “Creator” Self. What we think of as “our mind,” the thing we use to make choices to care for the needs and safety of the body, is actually the “place” where all of Creation lives and functions. The thoughts we generate to support our fractured belief of a separate, “little” ego self have hidden from us the power our thoughts have to make a world.
We are creators, an essential part of the only creative force that exists. We share the One Mind, the one consciousness where both truth and illusion reside. The world we have made apart from us is made from our illusion because it is a belief that sees everything functioning independently and separate from its source, which is its fundamental flaw, why it is not real and has no effect outside the story we tell.
We are not asked to believe there is no world. But we are asked to accept our role as creators of the world we see. We are asked to accept that the thoughts we have used to make this world are not true; that they actually hide our naturally loving thoughts from us. We are asked to forgive our condemning thoughts, to release our belief in them and allow another, “real” world to rise from our loving thoughts to take its place. This change of mind is the miracle of real forgiveness.