Daily Inspiration

Learning to See Past the Appearance of Guilt

Another form [of forgiveness-to-destroy], 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?

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.

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? (A Course in Miracles, S-2.II.3-5)

There is no difference between battling an enemy or stoically accepting another’s “attack” as deserved punishment for our own guilt while “forgiving” the other for his attacks. Both hold on to guilt. Both reinforce belief that separation is true. Guilt can only be justified if we believe we have harmed God by disowning Him.

Yet God is eternal, changeless and cannot be harmed. The truth in us is an extension of His changeless Love. Our true Self retains all the characteristics of changeless Love, including innocence. Thus the perception of guilt is an hallucination, which could never be true. True forgiveness comes through the vision of Christ, which overlooks illusions as meaningless and having no effect.

Christ’s vision sees Love’s innocence everywhere. It recognizes appearances of guilt as calls for Love, calls to remember our true innocence. The ego is blind to Love and incapable of forgiving. That is why we must rely on the help of our inner Teacher to learn to recognize calls for Love and respond with Love. Thus we learn of the Love in us by extending It to our brother. This is how our true Self joins with the one Self we share with every brother.

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