The most important function in my life is to forgive. In A Course in Miracles Jesus says so.
Or does he?
No, actually he does not. This is how my ego interprets it, thinking that I have a whole bunch of functions, some more important than others. The Truth of the matter is: Forgiveness is my ONLY function! What a difference that makes.
I realize now, that I have not been at all willing to forgive the way He tells me, I have "bent" the words to suit me.
What is forgiveness?
The way Jesus explains forgiveness in ACIM is not at all the same thing as we usually understand forgiveness.
The teacher in a Sunday School asked her class what we must do before we can be forgiven of our sins, expecting someone to say that we must repent of our sin. One boy reached back even further and said: "First you must sin". This is the core message in ACIM, we have never sinned at all.
The way I was brought up and taught forgiveness, was some kind of "I am better than you" forgiveness, where I thought I forgave others for the wrong I perceived they had done, making myself a bit holier...
In that way I always made sin real and alive. And above all, I actually did not forgive OR forget.
Forgive and forget...
There us a story about a Catholic priest who lived in the Philippines, who carried a burden of guilt about his past sin. He had committed this so-called sin many years before, during his time in the seminary. No one knew of it. There was a woman in his parish who claimed she regularly spoke with the Holy Spirit. The priest was, of course, skeptical about her claim so he said: "The next time you talk to the Holy Spirit, ask him what sin it was your priest committed while he was in seminary".
The woman agreed and went home. When she returned to church a few days later, the priest said:"Did you ask the Holy Spirit what sin your priest committed in seminary?" "Yes", the woman said, "I asked Him".
"Well", said the priest, "What did he say?"
The woman answered: "He said, 'I don't remember'"
That is the only answer, the Holy Spirit does not make sin real. Forgiving and forgetting.
Any time I realize I hold a grievance - forgive. But I must always remember - I cannot do this on my own. And all forgiveness is about forgiving myself. As I forgive, so am I forgiven. To forgive is to overlook, to let the past go, to hold on to nothing. So in the deepest sense - forgive is to forget.(Lesson 121, 6:3-5)
How to forgive (there are many ways - this is one)
When I experiece my anger, it is important not to depress or deny the feeling, just feel it.
- Feel your feelings. Realize it is your own choice to feel the way you do, no one can "make" you feel angry.
- Ask the Spirit to look at the feeling with you, without judging youself for it.
- Thank the Spirit for His help in forgiveness. This is how love is shared.
Ultimately there is no one to forgive, but ourselves and our own misperceptions.
Now, I can let go of the misperception that my mother caused me pain, it was my own choice to remember and carry it with me for all these years, now it is forgiven - and forgotten.