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“Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.”
In this season, when gift giving is on everyone’s mind, it is helpful to remember that there is no greater gift we can offer anyone, including ourselves, than the gift of forgiveness. It is a gift that keeps on giving, because it opens our minds to the eternal Love that we are. It replaces illusion with truth. It replaces bondage with freedom. It replaces conflict with peace. It replaces depression with happiness. All this forgiveness offers.
In the Course, forgiveness means letting go of illusions, letting go of the past and future. Forgiveness opens our minds to God’s gift of the present, the eternal now. In truth there is no other time. Love is here. Love is now. To know the freedom that Love gave us in our creation, we must forgive. Any perception of conflict, any thought of fear, any lack of peace, any pain is a signal that forgiveness is needed.
Our job is to learn to recognize the signal and take each of these thoughts and feelings to the Holy Spirit. His Light of Love will show us the illusion on which the pain and fear is based and shine it away. We cannot hide the fear in a corner, shove the judgment under the carpet, and pretend it is not there. This only delays our awareness of the joy God holds out to us. It is only by taking these thoughts to the Holy Spirit and asking for His help with an open mind that we can find release and know the freedom that forgiveness brings.
Today I ask the Holy Spirit’s help that together we may offer the gift of forgiveness to my brother and myself. For I would know the freedom forgiveness brings.
In this lesson, Jesus is telling us we have a choice. We can hang on to our limited perceptions of a world of separation and individuality. Or we can choose to open to the perceptions of the Holy Spirit, Which shines the false ideas of the ego thought system away.
When we join with the ego, we think that our illusions of uniqueness and individuality are so special. We have loved our differences and have guarded it carefully. We have thought we really did make something different from God’s universal oneness, God’s universal Love. We have thought that God’s peace would be boring. We have looked for excitement in seeing something new and different and the competition specialness brings.
We are reminded in this lesson that the ego makes only illusions and that what we have really bought into is sin, guilt and fear. We have bought into the idea that we really did separate (sin). We secretly feel guilty for usurping God’s authority and we project our own attack onto God. We are then fearful of God’s retaliation.
The stories we make up in this world reflect how guilty we truly believe we are. In trying to get rid of the guilt, we project that guilt onto those we see as outside of us. It becomes a very fearful scenario, full of defend and attack. We try to atone for our ‘sin’ of choosing separation by making up stories of sickness, deprivation and death.
Jesus wants us to understand that this need not be. We can let go of our belief in separation and we can let our minds be returned to the truth. We do this through forgiveness. We do this through opening our minds to the perception of the Holy Spirit. “Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.”
This lesson is a good one for me today. I had decorated a wicker pumpkin for the Thanksgiving holiday and brought it to work and used it as a decoration at the front desk of my place of employment, with the intention of taking it back home when the holiday was over. With all the flowers and other stuff I put into it, not to mention my time and effort, it turned out to be costly.
When I came into work this morning, I saw the pumpkin was missing. Someone apparently stole it. Initially, I was angry and hurt that someone would do that. I’ve got a lot of spirit when it comes to holidays and I had thought of bringing in Christmas things to decorate, but, right away, I began to think, “I won’t ever bring in anything else again. How can some people be so thoughtless and inconsiderate? I don’t know why I bother, etc., etc.”
This is the sort of situation that I can dwell on over and over in my mind. These resentments can control me and rule the type of day I will have. But with the practice of these lessons, I’ve learned to turn my anger, my fear, my judgments over to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help me to see things differently.
I don’t know who took my decoration, but somehow, it doesn’t matter to me anymore. I’m learning to value my peace and serenity. My priorities are changing and today I choose to experience God’s peace instead of dwelling on my fears that show up in anger, distrust and resentment. Fear truly does bind the world and I can experience how forgiveness sets it free because today, right now, I am at peace. Thank you Holy Spirit.
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How to Read References for Quotes from A Course in Miracles
Below are example references to specific sentences using the notation of the Second & Third Editions of A Course in Miracles published by the Foundation for Inner Peace:
T-26.IV.4:7 = Text, Chapt. 26, Section IV, paragraph 4, sentence 7.
W-pI.169.5:2 = Workbook, Part I, Lesson 169, paragraph 5, sentence 2.
M-13.3:2 = Manual for Teachers, Question 13, paragraph 3, sentence 2.
C-6.4:6 = Clarification of Terms, Term 6, paragraph 4, sentence 6
The above numbering system
of the Second & Third Editions is © Copyright 1992,
The Foundation for A Course in Miracles.
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