“If pardon were unjustified, you would be asked to sacrifice your rights when you return forgiveness for attack. But you are merely asked to see forgiveness as the natural reaction to distress that rests on error, and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed. (T638)”
Affirmation: “I forgive distress that rests on error.”
1 – Distress and Error
The most memorable part of this passage is the phrase, “distress that rests on error.” If this phrase is remembered, we will have a ready remark to call to mind if arguments happen in our environment. We will then be more willing to take a timeout, and to begin the process of forgiving the lamentable encounter.
2 – Memorize the Quotation
I have memorized this brief quotation, to remember when I am being tested by something in my current environment. It gives so precisely the reason that forgiveness will come easily: the distress [that I see in another] . . .rests on error. Or it might even be my own distress (though I personally use it in contact with a significant other). We know that forgiveness has a solid foundation when we know that our loved ones are just making mistakes. And, of course, so are we. We do not feel that they have “sinned,” and that this sin does not deserve forgiveness. Actually, if we entertain such a thought we are also saying that we too are sinning, and that we too do not deserve forgiveness. This flies in the face of A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and the Bible–not to mention virtually all spiritual literature from any religious tradition.
3 – Is Pardon Always Justified?
This passage notes that pardon is fully justified. This, regardless of how many times we reread the Course, may still be a sticking point. Yet the bottom line is the dream, the “maya.” Our brother has merely made errors, mistakes, and he, like us, deserves forgiveness for the poorest choices. He has not “sinned” in eternity, and there is no time (ACIM tenets).
4 – Forgiveness (Pardon)
“Forgiveness is the only sane response.” Of course! We need the sanity of the Course, because our brother’s poorest choices have come out of insanity. No one will find insanity hard to forgive, though we might wish in vain that it had never harmed us. And actually, we are not harmed, regardless of what has happened in our lives. The real Self remains pristine (paraphrased from A Course of Love).
I would not take offense at anything today. I would, in a secular way, “consider the source,” and understand that there is some reason for my friend’s objectionable behavior. Then I would forgive–as You would have us do, knowing that actually all are innocent, all are doing the best that they can, and so there is nothing to forgive in reality.
I would remember that what I see is my dream, my illusion, my maya. I would not attempt to be a part of someone’s else dream, for I know that this is faulty thinking. Help me to turn to You today if something happens that I immediately resent. Resentment only hurts myself, and perhaps the other, if I act out my frustration. Be with all my loved ones, and be with those whom I reach in this blog. All of us need to know that You are there for us, all the time. Thank You for Your felt presence.