A Comparison of Forgiveness and Atonement

“Resign as your own teacher. . . .

“Looked at in another way, this process has much in common with forgiveness. The action associated with it raises it to a level similar to that of atonement. It is an undoing accompanied by a new means of doing. In the process of unlearning, both forgiveness and atonement occur.” (ACOL, C:23.27 – 28)

We learn to forgive gradually. If we followed A Course in Miracles, the theme was forgiveness. It was the means of salvation, the means of the dislodging of the ego. Now we find that atonement and forgiveness have much in common. We now have a new means of doing, a means without the ego that has dragged us down for eons. We have indeed come a long way.

The way is not complete until in atonement all false means of thinking are relinquished. Right-thinking is where we are heading, but to undo insanity, as I have pointed out earlier in this blog, is not easily overcome. Miracles help, but progress is also made slowly, undoing one habit of mind, and then turning to another—and sometimes retracing our steps when we have, once again, taken up a false way of thinking.

When we forgive, we have unlearned the idea that attack and anger are justified. We have realized that we get what we have defended against, that defense solidifies the false thinking and false behavior (from ACIM).

The ideas in this paragraph are new in A Course of Love. Jesus does not equate forgiveness and atonement in A Course in Miracles, though he does stress both as necessary to getting us out of the mess that we are in. We give up the egoic thought system, and then we move forward to replace that thought system with a new one. We move into Christ-consciousness, which gives us new revelations on a constant basis. We may be very surprised at the insights that come to us when we catch glimpses of Christ-consciousness. This miracle of glimpses prepares us, eventually, for sustainability of Christ-consciousness. We leave behind the old, we have reframed our minds (with help from the Christ Self, inwardly, and the Holy Spirit, who is also within us).

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3 thoughts on “A Comparison of Forgiveness and Atonement

  1. David Smith

    This is a great commentary. I am impressed by both the simplicity and the challenge in this statement from ACOL.

    “In the process of unlearning, both forgiveness and atonement occur.”

    Unlearning is just another form of letting go, but it is oh so difficult. As we all know, spiritual
    principles are simple but not easy.

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