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ACIM on what forgiveness is

  • By Paul West
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"Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you HAS NOT OCCURRED. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God's Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go. What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God.

An unforgiving thought is one which makes a judgment that it will not raise to doubt, although it is not true. The mind is closed, and will not be released. .......

Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still, and quietly does nothing. It offends no aspect of reality, nor seeks to twist it to appearances it likes. It merely looks, and waits, and judges not. He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive. But he who would forgive himself must learn to welcome truth exactly as it is.

Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show you what to do, through Him Who is your Guide, your Savior and Protector, strong in hope, and certain of your ultimate success. He has forgiven you already, for such is His function, given Him by God. Now must you share His function, and forgive whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees, and whom He honors as the Son of God."

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Notice that forgiveness is a state of mind in which there is nothing to forgive. It isn't so much a "doing". It is still and looks and judges not. It doesn't say, "well, I see a bunch of unforgiven or unforgiveable stuff over there, I have to do a forgiveness."

Forgiveness is only forgiveness when it is complete. It is the same thing as the state of atonement in which nothing real has happened. It's the state of mind of the Holy Spirit with perfect correct perception and a clear vision of and acceptance of God's truth.

This truth exists kind of on an entirely other "level" of mind, which you need to find your way to become aware of. When you are IN that mind, you are forgiving, as in, have a forgiving attitude, and see no wrong. The steps you take to get TO that mind, are NOT forgiveness itself. They are steps of undoing false perceptions and beginning to take back the errors that you made. Judgements. Your unforgiving attitude.

Transitioning from an unforgiving, judging, condemning attitude, to one of forgiveness, seems like a process, with a practical application of principles and various corrections that are needed. But that process isn't itself forgiveness, because forgiveness is the FINAL state you get to when the process of complete. It's the restored state of mind which has a forgiving attitude and sees that there is nothing TO forgive, because real sin has not happened. The steps you take to get there, are a process of purification.

I never really understood this until recently. I always believed that if I was taking some steps to forgive people, or later to forgive myself, ie taking back projection and so on, that I was "doing forgiveness". To a degree I was taking steps TOWARD forgiveness. But I also noticed that I did not always take it all the way to the atonement. And since forgiveness IS the atonement, as a state of mind, I clearly was not reaching all the way to that state of mind. And so, effectively, I was only really doing the first PARTS of the undoing of judgement, and not taking it all the way to complete forgiveness.

Still, it was practice, and it was part of the process of learning what forgiveness is, and how to reach it. Forgiveness truly sees, experientially, that there IS nothing to forgive. So if I'm in the mode of "I need to forgive this", that isn't actually forgiveness. I need to get OUT of the mode of believing that there is something unforgiven, because that is contrary to what forgiveness sees. That's still judgement. A partial forgiveness, as a mix of judgement and attempted correction, which ALSO is the spiritual ego which attempts to keep some part of judgement real while trying to undo it.

Until we can take our process of purification all the way to the atonement and to the mind of forgiveness, where we can accept the truth that there is no real sin and nothing has happened, we have not really completed a full forgiveness. And if we stop short of that each time, if we don't completely undo all of the perceptual errors that fall short of the atonement, then we're still in a state of judgement. We haven't fully uprooted the problem, and so it will "grow back" over time. A belief that sin is real will keep producing more guilt, which will produce more fear and punishment and death. It has to be COMPLETELY uprooted by accepting the truth of the atonement.

Over time I think we gradually chisel away at it and perhaps become more willing to take the process further. And especially early on we might simply not be able to go deeper with this because maybe all we can do is grasp at sometimes taking back projections of guilt and taking on some ownership. And our mind might be so cluttered with ego that it takes quite a long time to keep chipping away at that mindset to be able to more quickly and consistently see that that's what we're doing.

Then it takes yet more time to chisel away at the belief that we ourselves are guilty or sinful, before getting close to what forgiveness really is. Simply because or thought system is so filled with ego that a lot of confusion and delusion has to be undone before you can even catch your first glimpse of the atonement. Not that we're doing anything wrong. It's just a learning process. But we do need to make sure that we're at some point going to fully embrace what the atonement says, in order to truly achieve forgiveness.

When you can get your awareness to where you understand, see, accept, believe, and are experiencing, a state of mind in which you know there IS nothing to forgive because there has not been any real sin and nothing can have really happened, only then are you accepting the atonement and being truly forgiving. Seeing that you HAVE NOT sinned at all, that your innocence has NOT been corrupted, that God's love has always been present for you, and that you ARE still worthy of it because you and others have not separated from God at all, that's the "peak" of the forgiveness "process".

The recognition that forgiveness is already DONE, accomplished, and complete, BECAUSE nothing ever happened in reality and truth that requires forgiving.

"Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you HAS NOT OCCURRED" - ACIM --- it has not occurred because the world is not REAL, and everything you ever thought had gone wrong was JUST an illusion and nothing more. Nothing has really happened, there is no real sin, you are STILL innocent in God's eyes, and are worthy of His love.
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