You have a function in the world in its own terms. For who can understand a language far beyond his simple grasp? Forgiveness represents your function here. Forgiveness is the only function here, and serves to bring the joy this world denies to every aspect of God’s Son where sin was thought to rule. Perhaps you do not see the role forgiveness plays in ending death, and ALL beliefs that rise from mists of guilt. Sins are beliefs which you impose between your brother and yourself. They limit you to time and place, and give a little space to you; ANOTHER little space to him. This separating off is symbolized, in your perception, by a body which is clearly separate and a thing apart. Yet what this symbol REPRESENTS is but your wish to BE apart and separate.
Forgiveness takes AWAY what stands between your brother and yourself. It is the wish that you be JOINED with him, and NOT apart. We call it “wish” because it still conceives of other choices, and has not yet reached beyond the world of choice entirely. It is not God’s creation, for it is the means by which untruth can be undone. And who would pardon Heaven? Yet on earth you need the means to let illusion go.
Forgiveness is the closest it can come to earth. For being Heaven-borne, it has no form at all. Forgiveness gently looks upon all things unknown in Heaven, sees them disappear, and leaves the world a clean and unmarked slate on which the Word of God can now replace the senseless symbols written there before.
Forgiveness is the means by which the fear of death is overcome because it holds no fierce attraction now, and guilt is gone. Forgiveness lets the body be perceived as what it is; a simple teaching aid to be laid by when learning is complete, but hardly changing him who learns at all.
The mind without the body cannot make mistakes. It cannot think that it will die, nor be the prey of merciless attack. Injury is impossible. And yet illusion makes illusion. If you can condemn you can be injured. For you have believed that you can injure, and the right you have established for yourself can be now used against you, till you lay it down as valueless, unwanted and unreal.
Then does illusion cease to have effects, and all it seemed to have will be undone. Then are you free, for freedom is your gift, and you can now receive the gift you gave. Anger becomes impossible, and where is terror then? What fears could still assail those who have lost the source of all attack; the core of anguish and the seat of fear?
Only forgiveness can relieve the mind of thinking that the body is its home.
Only forgiveness can restore the peace that God intended for His holy Son. Only forgiveness can persuade the Son to look again upon his holiness. With anger gone, you will indeed perceive that for Christ’s vision and the gift of sight no sacrifice was asked, and only pain was lifted from a sick and tortured mind. Is this unwelcome? Is it to be feared? Or is it to be hoped for, met with thanks and joyously accepted?
We are one, and therefore give up nothing. But we have indeed been given everything by God. Yet do we need forgiveness to perceive that this is so. Without its kindly light we grope in darkness, using reason but to justify our rage and our attack.
Our understanding is so limited that what we think we understand is but confusion born of error. We are lost in mists of shifting dreams and fearful thoughts, our eyes shut tight against the light; our minds engaged in worshiping what is not there. Who can be born again in Christ but him who has forgiven everyone he sees or thinks of or imagines? Who could be set free while he imprisons anyone?
A jailer is not free, for he is bound together with his prisoner. He must be sure that he does not escape, and so he spends his time in keeping watch on him. The bars which limit him become the world in which the jailer lives, along with him. And it is on his freedom that the way to liberty depends for both of them. Therefore hold no-one prisoner. Condemn and you are made a prisoner. Forgive and you are freed. Such is the law that rules perception.
It is not a law that knowledge understands, for freedom is a part of knowledge. To condemn is thus impossible in truth. What seems to be its influence and its effects have not occurred at all. Yet must we deal with them a while as if they had. Release instead of bind, for thus are you made free.
The way is simple. Every time you feel a stab of anger, realize you hold a sword above your head. And it will fall or be averted as you choose to be condemned or free. Thus does each one who seems to tempt you to be angry represent your Savior from the prison-house of death. And so you owe him thanks instead of pain.
Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest. Forgiveness sweeps all other dreams away, and though it is itself a dream, it breeds no others. All illusions save this one must multiply a thousand fold. But this is where illusions end.
Forgiveness is the end of dreams because it is a dream of waking. It is not itself the truth. Yet does it point to where the truth must be, and gives direction with the certainty of God Himself. It is a dream in which the Son of God awakens to his Self and to his Father knowing They are One. Forgiveness is the only road that leads out of disaster, past all suffering, and finally away from death.
How could there be another way, when this one is the plan of God Himself? And why should you oppose it, quarrel with it, seek to find a thousand ways in which it must be wrong; a thousand other possibilities? Is it not wiser to be glad you hold the answer to your problems in your hand?
The Holy Spirit needs YOUR special function, that HIS may be fulfilled. Think not you lack a special value here. You wanted it, and it IS given you.