Lesson 224
How Long Before Way is Open
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35 You may wonder how you can be at peace when, while you are in time, there is so much that must be done before the way to peace is open. Perhaps this seems impossible to you. But ask yourself if it is possible that God would have a plan for your salvation that does not work. Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort. 
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What is Forgiveness
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   Forgiveness recognizes what you thought
   your brother did to you has not occurred.
   It does not pardon sins, and make them real.
   It sees there was no sin. And in this view
   are all your sins forgiven. What is sin
   except a false idea of God's Son?
   Forgiveness merely sees its falsity,
   and therefore lets it go. What then is free
   to take its place is now the Will of God.
   An unforgiving thought is one which makes
   a judgment that it will not raise to doubt,
   although it is untrue. The mind is closed,
   and will not be released. The thought protects
   projection, tightening its chains, so that
   distortions are more veiled and more obscure;
   less easily accessible to doubt,
   and further kept from reason. What can come
   between a fixed projection and the aim
   that it has chosen as its needed goal?
   An unforgiving thought does many things.
   In frantic action it pursues its goal,
   twisting and overturning what it sees
   as interfering with its chosen path.
   Distortion is its purpose, and the means
   by which it would accomplish it as well.
   It sets about its furious attempts
   to smash reality without concern
   for anything that would appear to pose
   a contradiction to its point of view.
   Forgiveness, on the other hand, is still
   and quietly does nothing. It offends
   no aspect of reality, nor seeks
   to twist it to appearance that it likes.
   It merely looks and waits and judges not.
   He who would not forgive must judge, for he
   must justify his failure to forgive.
   But he who would forgive himself must learn
   to welcome truth exactly as it is.
   Do nothing, then, and let forgiveness show
   you what to do through Him Who is your Guide,
   your Saviour and Defender, strong in hope
   and certain of your ultimate success.
   He has forgiven you already, for
   such is His function, given Him by God.
   Now must you share His function, and forgive
   whom He has saved, whose sinlessness He sees,
   and whom He honors as the Son of God. "

      ~ Original Handscript of ACIM September 21, 1970

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SonShip Workbook
L e s s o n 224

God is my Father, 
and He loves His Son.

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My true identity is so secure,
so lofty, sinless, glorious and great,
wholly beneficent and free from guilt,
that Heaven looks to it to give it light.
It lights the world as well. It is the gift
my Father gave me, and the gift as well
I give the world. There is no gift but this
that can be either given or received.
This is reality, and only this.
This is illusion's end. It is the Truth.

My Name, oh Father, still is known to You.
I have forgotten it, and do not know
where I am going, who I am, or what
it is I do. Remind me, Father, now,
for I am weary of the world I see.
Reveal what You would have me see instead. 
~ Original Handscript of ACIM September 24, 1970
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ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 
ACIM Edmonton, CA
God is my Father, and He loves His Son.

Sarah's Commentary:  

These Lessons are now about waiting in quiet expectancy to enter into His presence. He has made an ancient promise to us and He intends to keep it. It is our decision whether we choose to have this experience. We will go as quickly as our fear will allow. God will not override our will.
We have developed an identity of a separate self. Our identity includes our bodies, the many traits and attributes we have, the beliefs and opinions we hold, and the self-concepts we think define us---all of them, untrue. All of this is held in the mind, but it can all be shifted when we accept the miracle. The miracle comes when we forgive our false perceptions so that we can experience a reflection of God's Love. Our identity is so lofty that it is beyond anything we can even imagine, but we can have an experience of it which reflects Heaven here. In His quiet presence, we leave behind the concepts we hold of ourselves. We experience His Love, His gratitude, beneficence and beauty, innocence, and a deep sense of rest. Words cannot express the feelings of release from the grips of the ego. It is about letting go of the image we cling to and defend. With the image come judgments, comparisons, and differences, all contributing to our deep fatigue.
"The choice to judge rather than to know is the cause of the loss of peace." (T.3.VI.2.1)(ACIM OE T.3.VIII.61) " When you feel tired, it is because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as unworthy. When you laugh at yourself you must laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more unworthy than they are. All this makes you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourself. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is curious that an ability so debilitating would be so deeply cherished. Yet if you wish to be the author of reality, you will insist on holding on to judgment. You will also regard judgment with fear, believing that it will someday be used against you. This belief can exist only to the extent that you believe in the efficacy of judgment as a weapon of defense for your own authority. " (T.3.VI.5.1-10) (ACIM OE T.3.VIII.65)
The place where I think I am is not my home. My true home, my dwelling place, is with God. It is my reality. It is where I belong. No substitutes can satisfy the Son of God. All substitutes turn to ash. They only feel good for the moment. They are temporary pleasures that cannot serve the Son of God. When we choose to release them, without feeling sacrifice, recognizing their lack of value, we are then ready to commit fully to awakening from this dream. Until we do, we are on both sides, experiencing moments of release, and at other times, we are very much holding onto the things of this world. We believe all will be released through death, but this is a false belief. We are released only when our false beliefs are transformed.
Today, we remind ourselves of our reality. We give up our illusion of control because, on our own, we don't have a clue! We don't know who we are, where we are going, and what we are doing. "I do not know the thing I am, and therefore do not know what I am doing, where I am, or how to look upon the world or on myself." (T.31.V.17.7) (ACIM OE T.31.V.60) Jesus tells us, "There is no statement that the world is more afraid to hear than this" (T.31.V.17.6) (ACIM OE T.31.V.59) because we fear to lose what we think we are and what we have made of ourselves.
We have chosen to walk this path because we are tired, we are lost, and we are weary of trying to find peace and happiness where it does not exist. When we turn within, we experience glimpses of the truth. To listen to His Voice is to be reminded of our Identity. It is to hear the forgotten song, calling us back to where we never left. "Listen, ---perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unremembered." (T.21.I.6.1) (ACIM OE T.21II.8)
We continue to read "What is Forgiveness?" (W.PII.Q1) daily with each Lesson. Without forgiveness, we cannot know the truth about ourselves. Until our false ideas are released, we keep ourselves bound to our false identity. We maintain our judgments, which Jesus says we "will not raise to doubt" (W.PII.Q1.2.1), although they are not true. The distortions in our minds must be seen if they are to be released. When our minds are closed against the truth, we refuse to question our beliefs, and we refuse to look behind our defenses. We keep our thoughts away from reason and maintain our fixed positions. It is a defense against the truth. We are trying to protect what we have made from what has been given us by God.
When the ego demands that we protect and defend our perspectives and our positions, we can stop for a moment and choose instead to step back and ask for another interpretation from the Holy Spirit. When the temptation is there to react to any request, we can take a moment to go within and ask for guidance. When we want to make a point in an argument, we can instead take a moment to reflect whether anything needs to be said. When we get up in the morning, feeling upset, we can recognize we have chosen the ego, and we can do a restorative, as described in Chapter 30, Section I "Rules for Decision." (ACIM OE T.30.II) When we judge a brother, we can ask for help to release our ideas and ask for His interpretation of how to see our brother. Moment by moment, we are choosing Heaven or hell.
I was recently sharing about a difficult and painful event experienced by a friend. I described it as challenging and how it triggered a concern in me about her well-being. However, later she revealed she had not only moved on from this experience, but she described it as a wonderful gift. She had taken a journey through seeming crucifixion to an experience of resurrection, such that the painful event had actually taught her an important lesson and one she deeply valued. This was a beautiful demonstration for me that we don't know what anything is for. My thoughts and judgments about the situation were wrong. They were all in the past. All things are truly lessons God would have me learn.
Helen was given a message in October 1975 that I found particularly poignant and relevant to this Lesson. While it is rather long, I include it here for you to dwell on because there is so much wisdom to ponder here on how we might go about our lives.
Be comforted.
You are not asked to do anything.
There is a time when to step
back is all that is asked of you.
It is a time of rest and not of
strain; a time of peace and
not a time of conflict.
That time is almost here.
It seems fearful
because it is not under your control.
But think a minute; stop and
think honestly about what your control has done;
what it has brought to you.

You have been caught in a trap from which you never could escape.
Conflict, guilt, and fear have come with you and never left your side.
Each one of you has done this differently,
yet each has come to the same place;
the same impasse.
And now it seems to each of you that there is no escape.
For it is true that you cannot escape alone.
Your stories seem to differ,
for they do take different forms.
Yet their one content makes you brothers.
Dwell not upon the differences or you are lost.
It is in recognizing the common content;
the common need, that you are saved!

The mess that is your lives is an illusion.
What can the form of dreams resolve?
There is no answer to a question not yet asked,
for it would not be recognized.
Ask only this: Will I fulfill the function given me?
What else is there to ask?
Why must I know the form in which the answer comes to me?
God answers, "Yes" and it is done.
No more than this is meaningful to you.

It is not He Who would withhold the future and leave you fearful.
You could not accept His "yes" in forms you would not understand.
Things still in time unfold as is appointed them,
and many things remain undone as yet.
Plans based upon intangibles cannot be fully shown to you.
And what has not as yet occurred must be intangible.
This phase of learning has a single lesson
for all the forms your problems seem to take.

To God all things are possible,
but you must ask His answer only of Himself.
Perhaps you think you do,
but be you sure that if you had (did) you would be quiet now
and wholly undismayed by anything.
Do not attempt to guess His Will for you.
Do not assume that you are right
because an answer seems to come from Him.
Be sure you ask, and then be still and let Him speak.
There is no problem He cannot resolve,
for it is never He Who keeps apart
some questions to be solved by someone else.
You cannot share the world with Him
and make half of it His while half belongs to you.
Truth makes no compromise.
To keep apart a little is to keep all separate.
Your life, complete and whole,
belongs to God or none of it is His.
There is no thought in all the world
that seems more terrible.

Yet it is only when this thought appears in perfect clarity
that there is hope in peace and safety for the mind so long kept dark and twisted to avoid the light.
This is the light.
Step back
and do not dwell upon the forms that seem to keep you bound.
You will fulfill your function.
And will have whatever you will need.
God does not fail.
But lay no limits on what you would give to Him to be resolved.
For He cannot offer a thousand answers
when but one is all there is.
Accept this one of Him,
and not one question will remain to ask.   

Do not forget if you attempt to solve a problem,
you have judged it for yourself
and so you have betrayed your proper role.
Grandeur, which comes from God,
establishes that judgment is impossible for you.
But grandiosity insists you judge
and bring to this all problems that you have.
And what is the result?
Look carefully upon your life
and let it speak for you.   

this frail breath and deep uncertainty your choice for you?
Or would you rather rest in surety,
certain you would not fail in your request
to have all problems happily resolved?
Do not mistake the fine disguises you can use to cover judgment.
It appears as charity, as mercy and as love;
as pity, understanding and as care.
And yet you know it is not what it seems
because the problem still remains unsolved
and comes to haunt your mind in evil dreams.   

What have you kept from God
that you would hide behind your judgment?
What have you concealed
beneath the cloak of kindness and concern?
Use no one for your needs,
for that is "sin,"
and you will pay the penalty in guilt.   

Remember you need nothing,
but you have an endless store of loving gifts to give.
But teach this lesson only to yourself.
Your brother will not learn it from your words
or from the judgments you have laid on him.
You need not even speak a word to him.
You cannot ask, "What shall I say to him?"
and hear God's answer.
Rather ask instead,
"Help me to see this brother through the eyes of truth
and not of judgment,"
and the help of God and all His angels
will respond.   

For only here we rest.

We cast away our little judgments and our petty words;
our tiny problems and our false concerns.
We have attempted to be master of our destiny
and thought that peace lay there.
Freedom and judgment is impossible.
But by your side is One
Who knows the way.
Step back for Him
and let Him lead you
to the rest and silence
of the Word of God
Love and blessings, Sarah 
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A Course in Miracles
ACIM Original Edition
Chapter Twenty

The Promise of the Resurrection 
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V. Entering the Ark   

28 Nothing can hurt you unless you give it the power to do so. For you give power as the laws of this world interpret giving---as you give you lose. It is not up to you to give power at all. Power is of God, given by Him and reawakened by the Holy Spirit, Who knows that as you give you gain. He gives no power to sin, and therefore it has none; nor to its results as this world sees them---sickness and death and misery and pain. These things have not occurred because the Holy Spirit sees them not and gives no power to their seeming source. Thus would He keep you free of them. Being without illusion of what you are, the Holy Spirit merely gives everything to God, Who has already given and received all that is true. The untrue He has neither received nor given.
29 Sin has no place in Heaven, where its results are alien and can no more enter than can their source. And therein lies your need to see your brother sinless. In him is Heaven. See sin in him instead, and Heaven is lost to you. But see him as he is, and what is yours shines from him to you. Your savior gives you only love, but what you would receive of him is up to you. It lies in him to overlook all your mistakes, and therein lies his own salvation. And so it is with yours. [Salvation is a lesson in giving, as the Holy Spirit interprets it.] It is the reawakening of the laws of God in minds that have established other laws and given them power to enforce what God created not.
30 Your insane laws were made to guarantee that you would make mistakes and give them power over you by accepting their results as your just due. What could this be but madness? And is it this that you would see within your savior from insanity? He is as free from this as you are, and in the freedom that you see in him, you see your own. For this you share. What God has given follows His laws and His alone. Nor is it possible for those who follow them to suffer the results of any other source.
31 Those who choose freedom will experience only its results. Their power is of God, and they will give it only to what God has given to share with them. Nothing but this can touch them, for they see only this, sharing their power according to the Will of God. And thus their freedom is established and maintained. It is upheld through all temptation to imprison and to be imprisoned. It is of them who learned of freedom that you should ask what freedom is. Ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars, for those with little wings have not accepted for themselves the power to share with you.
32 The sinless give as they received. See, then, the power of sinlessness within your brother and share with him the power of the release from sin you offered him. To each who walks this earth in seeming solitude is a savior given, whose special function here is to release him and so to free himself. In the world of separation, each is appointed separately, though they are all the same. Yet those who know that they are all the same need not salvation. And each one finds his savior when he is ready to look upon the face of Christ and see Him sinless.
33 The plan is not of you, nor need you be concerned with anything except the part that has been given you to learn. For He Who knows the rest will see to it without your help. But think not that He does not need your part to help Him with the rest. For in your part lies all of it, without which is no part complete, nor is the whole completed without your part. The ark of peace is entered two by two, yet the beginning of another world goes with them. Each holy relationship must enter here to learn its special function in the Holy Spirit's plan, now that it shares His purpose. And as this purpose is fulfilled, a new world rises in which sin can enter not, and where the Son of God can enter without fear, and where he rests a while to forget imprisonment and to remember freedom. How can he enter, to rest and to remember, without you? Except you be there, he is not complete. And it is his completion that he remembers there.
34 This is the purpose given you. Think not that your forgiveness of each other serves but you two alone. For the whole new world rests in the hands of every two who enter here to rest. And as they rest, the face of Christ shines on them, and they remember the laws of God, forgetting all the rest and yearning only to have His laws perfectly fulfilled in them and all their brothers. Think you when this has been achieved that you will rest without them? You could no more leave one of them outside than I could leave you and forget part of myself.
35 You may wonder how you can be at peace when, while you are in time, there is so much that must be done before the way to peace is open. Perhaps this seems impossible to you. But ask yourself if it is possible that God would have a plan for your salvation that does not work. Once you accept His plan as the one function that you would fulfill, there will be nothing else the Holy Spirit will not arrange for you without your effort.
36 He will go before you making straight your path and leaving in your way no stones to trip on and no obstacles to bar your way. Nothing you need will be denied you. Not one seeming difficulty but will melt away before you reach it. You need take thought for nothing, careless of everything except the only purpose that you would fulfill. As that was given you, so will its fulfillment be. God's guarantee will hold against all obstacles, for it rests on certainty and not contingency. It rests on you. And what can be more certain than a Son of God?

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