There are some things in the world that are just too terrible. Things that make us cringe and feel sick. Things that fill us with anger and maybe even hatred. Sometimes we hear about them from the news and sometimes they are very personal. When it’s personal, we may want to hide it so no one knows about it. It’s just too terrible.
We often hear people say, “That’s just unforgivable” or “I can never forgive him for that.” For how can we forgive the terrible things that people do to one another. Things like murder, rape, genocide, all the ills in the external world we see in front of us. And how can we forgive someone who seems to intentionally want to hurt us personally, whether that hurt is something physical or merely a verbal jab.
And then there are the things we do to others in this world. We say we want to do right by everyone, but no matter how hard we try, it seems inevitable we will hurt someone somehow. We try to hide this internal guilt as best we can, but hiding it does not make it go away. We have to live with this guilt, and our actions in the world reflect these feelings of guilt.
But A Course in Miracles tells us we have to be willing to forgive everyone and everything. Can it really mean that literally? Are we supposed to forgive the world leaders who have ordered killing? How about Hitler, Stalin and their lot? What about our recent presidents, Bush and Obama, who have both ordered killing which resulted in the deaths of innocent men, women, and children. Surely we don’t have to forgive all of them.
What about all the murderers, the rapists, the child molesters? We hear about a new one on TV almost every day. There can’t be anything redeeming about them that would warrant our forgiveness. We have laws designed to punish them, not to forgive and let be. What kind of world would we live in if murderers were all forgiven? Surely we don’t have to forgive them.
And what about that family member who is always putting me down. If I forgive him, he’ll think I’m weak and just keep telling me I’m worthless. If I forgive him, he’ll never change his behavior and I’ll just get angry again the next time he does it to me. And I’ll want to show him my anger so he knows what he’s doing is wrong. Surely this is better than forgiveness.
When we present all these arguments to the Course, it simply smiles back at us and says, “Nothing is unforgivable”. How can this be so? In order to understand, we have to begin to look at the world the way the Course presents it to us.
It all starts with the Mind of God, our True Home. In that real world of Oneness and Love, forgiveness is completely unnecessary. Unfortunately for us, the world we believe we live in is the result of the great separation illusion, the belief that a part of God could actually separate from God. This has led to our ego mind, which projects a world for us that reinforces that separation.
In this illusory world, we believe we are bodies inhabiting an external world, a world of fear and attack and pain. We believe we must protect our bodies from the perceived evils of the world, from all the murderers and genocidal maniacs. We believe we must protect our psyches from the verbal slings and arrows meant to hurt us. And we believe we must feel guilty when we are the perpetrators of some of this pain.
As we said, it is all an illusion, and the realization of this fact is what forgiveness is all about. It’s not about letting the murderers and child molesters get away with something. It’s not about letting your family members and friends hurt you at will. It’s not about letting someone discover the guilt you know you are trying to hide.
Forgiveness is all about remembering, with the help of the Holy Spirit that resides within your mind, where you came from. It’s about remembering your True Self and its existence in the Mind of God. And it’s about remembering that this ego-projected separated world you believe is home is truly and absolutely an illusion.
Once this form of forgiveness is practiced, it will no longer matter what it is you are forgiving. It matters not whether you start your forgiveness with Hitler or with your best friend who said something hurtful to you. You can start by forgiving yourself for something you feel guilty about. It’s really all the same, because it’s all an illusion, the illusion of separation which has no existence, but is only a wayward thought.
Simply look for all the non-loving thoughts in your mind. Each and every one of them is an opportunity for forgiveness. When you begin to see these thoughts and when you begin to practice forgiveness on these thoughts, the severity or how non-loving a thought is will be irrelevant. All non-loving thoughts are there to be forgiven.
When you start down this path of forgiveness, you may want to separate your non-loving thoughts into categories and only approach certain ones you feel you can handle. Ultimately you must eliminate any separating of these thoughts and approach each one without reservation. Once you do, you will realize,Nothing is unforgivable.