Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I Know About Forgiveness, I Learned from Jesus

Yesterday, I read in the current issue of the AARP Bulletin a column entitled, "What I really know..." This brief article described an incident that occurred in a department store at Christmas time when a long line of children was waiting to see Santa, and a boy emerged from an elevator in a wheelchair pushed by his grandfather, and the children one by one offered to let the boy go in front of them in line. Apparently, this story has something to do with forgiveness, but what caught my eye at the end of the column was this:

YOUR TURN! Tell us what you really know about forgiveness in 400 words or less and submit it by e-mail to AARP.

This is what I submitted, coming in at 400 words.

What I know about forgiveness I learned from Jesus. He implored from the cross:

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
Luke 23: 34

He was referring to the people and the rulers and the soldiers, asking that they be forgiven because they were dreaming, living falsely in a world they made up, thinking they were bodies, punishing another body, not realizing that they were as God created them, children of God, their spirits created by God.

For a moment in His suffering, Jesus also forgot His heritage as God’s Son. That’s why He cried out:

My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Mark 15: 34

This cry was met with silence because God did not forsake him, knowing not of this world; Jesus forsook His true identity in His forgetting. This was simply a mistake, not a sin.

Yet, soon after, He remembered His true identity, saying:

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.
Luke 23: 46

He is proclaiming that the will of God is now all He wants to follow, not His false will, not mine, but Thine.

Finally, after His resurrection, He says to His followers on the way to Emmaus that He fulfilled the prophecy by resurrecting:

Thus it is written and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
Luke 24: 46

True forgiveness is the recognition that you are as God created you, not as you dream yourself to be.

Today, Jesus is alive and well, giving us His unworldly masterpiece,
A Course in Miracles, dictating it over a seven-year period (1965-1972) to Helen Schucman, a psychologist at Columbia University. Believing in the reality of the body in the dream and forgetting your Source as the Son of God is simply a mistake, albeit a mistake with grave consequences, and recognizing this mistake is called forgiveness, as expressed in this passage from Jesus’ Course:

Father, I was mistaken in myself,
because I failed to realize the Source
from which I came. I have not left that Source

to enter in a body and to die.

My holiness remains a part of me,

as I am part of You. And my mistakes

about myself are dreams. I let them go

today. And I stand ready to receive

Your Word alone for what I really am.

A Course in Miracles, Lesson 228