A Course in Miracles
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What is the Last Judgment?
Daily Lesson 320
Sarah's Reflections
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VII. The Justification for Forgiveness 

Pardon is always justified. It has a sure foundation. You do not forgive the unforgivable nor overlook a real attack that calls for punishment. Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. Instead, it merely asks that you respond appropriately to what is not real by not perceiving what has not occurred. 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 which rests on error and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed.  

The Last Judgment  
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What is 'Iambic Pentameter'? 

   Christ's Second Coming gives the Son of God

   the gift to hear the Voice for God proclaim

   that what is false is false, and what is true

   has never changed. And this the judgment is

   in which perception ends. At first you see

   a world which has accepted this as true,

   projected from a now corrected mind.

   And with this holy sight, perception gives

   a silent blessing and then disappears,

   its goal accomplished and its mission done.


   The final judgment on the world contains

   no condemnation. For it sees the world

   as totally forgiven, without sin,

   and wholly purposeless. Without a cause,

   and now without a function in Christ's sight,

   it merely slips away to nothingness.

   There it was born, and there it ends as well.

   And all the figures in the dream in which

   the world began go with it. Bodies now

   are useless, and will therefore fade away,

   because the Son of God is limitless.


   You who believed that Gods last judgment would

   condemn the world to hell along with you,

   accept this holy truth: God's judgment is

   the gift of the Correction He bestowed

   on all your errors, freeing you from them,

   and all effects they ever seemed to have.

   To fear His saving grace is but to fear

   complete release from suffering, return

   to peace, security and happiness,

   and union with your own Identity.


   God's final judgment is as merciful

   as every step in His appointed plan

   to save His Son, and call Him to return

   to the eternal peace He shares with him.

   Be not afraid of Love. For It alone

   can heal all sorrow, wipe away all tears,

   and gently waken from his dreams of pain

   the Son whom God acknowledges as His.

   Be not afraid of this. Salvation asks

   you give it welcome. And the world awaits

   your glad acceptance, which will set it free.


   This is God's final judgment: "You are still

   My holy Son, forever innocent,

   forever loving and forever loved,

   as limitless as Your Creator, and

   completely changeless and forever pure.

   Therefore awaken and return to Me.

   I am Your Father, and you are My Son.


   ~ Original Hand Script of ACIM    


ACIM Lessons  

L e s s o n  320
My Father gives all power unto me. 



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   The Son of God is limitless. There are

   no limits on his strength, his peace, his joy,

   or any attributes his Father gave

   in his creation. What he wills with his

   Creator and Redeemer must be done.

   His holy will can never be denied

   because his Father shines upon his mind,

   and lays before it all the strength and love

   in earth and Heaven. I am he to whom

   all this is given. I am he in whom

   the power of my Father's Will abides.


    Your Will can do all things in me, and then

    extend to all the world as well through me.

    There is no limit on Your Will. And so

    all power has been given to Your Son.


    ~ Original Hand-script of ACIM        


ACIM Edmonton - Sarah's Reflections 

ACIM Edmonton, CA

Lesson 320
My Father gives all power unto me.
Sarah's Commentary:

In the Bible Mathew 28.18, Jesus speaks the words, "All power is given unto me," which he spoke shortly after his resurrection. These words are now being spoken by us in this lesson, which acknowledges that, just as Jesus is proclaimed as the Son of God, so are we. In the Clarification of Terms, he says, "The name of Jesus is the name of one who was a man but saw the face of Christ in all his brothers and remembered God." (C.5.2.1) He walked this path that we walk and went all the way home. Our task is to learn to ignore the voice of the ego so that we can listen only to the Voice for God (the Holy Spirit). Freedom from the ego is indeed the reality of the mind of the mystic who, while still in this dream, is nevertheless in true perception. To be in true perception is to be in the real world where we see the face of Christ in all of our brothers.
That is where our journey takes us. That is our goal! We, together with Jesus, are all equal as the Sons of God although Jesus explains that he is further in time. This makes sense to us since we still believe in time, but in truth there is no time. There is only NOW. Time is of our own making. Jesus, as a symbol of the truth within us, is outside of the dream, guiding us, step by step, up the ladder. In the Clarification of Terms he says, "there is no need for help to enter Heaven for you have never left." (C.5.1.1) But we do believe that we have left Heaven and thus he helps us awaken to who we really are. We need this kind of help from outside of our thought system.
Our true reality is limitless and who we really are has all of the characteristics of God, but we can only know that through experience. It is not how we experience ourselves when we identify with the ego and think that the body and personality define us. "But there is need for help beyond yourself as you are circumscribed by false beliefs of your Identity, which God alone established in reality." (C.5.1.2) Jesus is a familiar symbol in our minds of that help.
He assures us that the truth about us, as the Son of God, is that we are limitless. We can't limit our strength, our peace, our joy nor any other of the attributes that are natural to us because they have been given us by God in our creation, and His Will must be done. Again and again we are told that we are limitless and have not changed ourselves and that, in fact, we can't change ourselves. We can simply lose ourselves temporarily in this illusion and forget who we are. We believe that we have messed up, that we can experience pain and grief, and that we have been abandoned by God. Thus we feel unworthy of His Love. But these thoughts, that we give power to, are not the truth. We have come to believe in our own thoughts about ourselves so thoroughly that we actually think that we are these characters in the dream. But Jesus reminds us that it is our dream and we are the dreamers, not the dream figures. We fear the love because the ego has convinced us that we have done something terrible. Its myth is that we have killed God to achieve our separate identity and that now we not only deserve to suffer, but we need to continue to stay away from Love or we will be annihilated.

None of this is true. It just keeps us small and limited to our tiny kingdoms circumscribed by our bodies and our world. Yet the truth of the Son is that "His holy will can never be denied, because his Father shines upon his mind, and lays before it all the strength and love in earth and Heaven." (W.320.1.4) What He wills must be done. So again we are told that nothing we have done, or still can do, will ever change the truth about us. We just have to wake up to that truth and we do it by bringing all of our false beliefs and perceptions to the altar of truth within.
We are reclaiming our innocence and our unlimited will by forgiving all of our misperceptions with the help of the Holy Spirit. "The Holy Spirit wants only this, for sharing the Father's Love for His Son, He seeks to remove all guilt from his mind that he may remember his Father in peace." (T.13.I.1.2)(ACIM OE T.11.X.89) That is our way home. It is by undoing our false beliefs and releasing our sense of specialness, our judgments and grievances. It is by releasing our blocks to love. It is by surrendering our values, beliefs and concepts recognizing that they truly don't serve us. It is accepting that the conditioned mind has been deceived and is not the truth. We have bought into the cult of the ego and are marching onto death.
By now we have been well versed in the process of forgiveness. It requires that we start by looking at our own minds. Our nature is love and therefore being unloving brings us pain. We have to admit that we were wrong when we thought we could gain something through our attacks, judgments, comparisons and winning at someone else's expense. The pleasure of putting someone down, seeing ourselves as superior always brings us more pain and more guilt. We have betrayed our true loving nature and that always hurts us. We think that by seeing guilt in them, we will feel more innocent, but we are wrong. All that happens is that we feel more pain. A high level of self-honesty and personal responsibility is called for. "How do I try to get away with something?" "How do I try to protect and defend myself?" "How do I do my best to look after my own interests?" "What do I get impatient with others about?" "What do I think I can gain with my opinions and my judgments?"

I have had people tell me that they have totally forgiven someone in their lives, but the standard for true forgiveness is extremely high. Jesus says that if we have totally forgiven someone, then we see a vision of such loveliness "reflected in a form so holy and so beautiful that you could scarce refrain from kneeling at his feet." (W.PI.161.9.3) Forgiving one person so perfectly means that Jesus would generalize this learning to all, and our work here would be over because we would know ourselves as the Christ.
It does not matter what misbehaviors a brother is engaged in. When we make a judgment about it, we can be assured that we have first judged ourselves for some version of the very same thing. They are a mirror of our own inner self-judgment reflected back at us. They are there to help us see our own shadow of a self-concept that we value in ourselves, but all self-concepts are false, whether we see them as positive or negative in ourselves. When we take responsibility for our judgments, and are prepared to look at our own version of what we are judging, then the healing can begin. In our self-acceptance, we will find acceptance of others. Pay attention to what is going on inside of you.

When we justify our thoughts and feelings by the stories we tell, we are seeing ourselves as the victims of what others do. Watch your thoughts and ask for help to release them. This is how we release all the comparisons we make with others, all of the judgments, all of the jealousies, all of the attack thoughts and truly surrender our will. We must take responsibility for everything. We are not victims of anyone or any circumstance. Forgiveness, as defined in the Course, is not about forgiving anything real but only our interpretation of an event, person or situation. The truth is that we are all innocent in our reality. We share the same nature as Jesus.

Why does this seem so difficult? We need to understand how invested we are in our individuality. This self that we have made is very threatened by the truth. Recognize that and be gentle with yourself in this journey, but don't delay your homecoming. Salvation is not in the future. It is available to us now. In every moment, we can release what is keeping us from the love that we are. Choose love now.

As long as we maintain that the way we see things, the way we rationalize our anger, the way we defend our perceptions, is the truth, we will not know of our changeless nature and of our power. Because we want so much to be right about the way we see things, we have agreed to forsake our own happiness, crazy as that is!

Today ask yourself, "What limitations am I putting on myself? One limitation is to believe in the reality of the body. Thus we think we are these separate individuals fighting for our survival in the world and competing with every other body. We feel vulnerable. We fear death. We may be feeling anger, pain, distress, sadness, disappointment, anticipation, stress, grief, or even pleasure, but it is all incorrect perception. It is all a reminder of that which is false. It is all limiting. So bring all of these thoughts today to the Holy Spirit and be willing to have Him undo them so you can know the truth about yourself. What we are doing is bringing these thoughts to the light of Truth, which is already in us. Through this process we will increasingly recognize that all God's power is given unto us because we are God's Son. This is not a statement of arrogance because this power is not ours alone. We can only know this power when we realize we all share the same power and the same Self. This Self is invulnerable. It is eternal. It can never die.

Love and blessings, Sarah 


TEXT Paused for Weekend

VII. The Justification for Forgiveness    

70 Anger is never justified. Attack has no foundation. It is here escape from fear begins and will be made complete. Here is the real world given in exchange for dreams of terror. For it is on this forgiveness rests and is but natural. You are not asked to offer pardon where attack is due and would be justified. For this would mean that you forgive a sin by overlooking what is really there. This is not pardon. For it would assume that, by responding in a way which is not justified, your pardon will become the answer to attack that has been made. And thus is pardon inappropriate, by being granted where it is not due.


71 Pardon is always justified. It has a sure foundation. You do not forgive the unforgivable nor overlook a real attack that calls for punishment. Salvation does not lie in being asked to make unnatural responses which are inappropriate to what is real. Instead, it merely asks that you respond appropriately to what is not real by not perceiving what has not occurred. 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 which rests on error and thus calls for help. Forgiveness is the only sane response. It keeps your rights from being sacrificed.


72 This understanding is the only change that lets the real world rise to take the place of dreams of terror. Fear cannot arise unless attack is justified, and if it had a real foundation, pardon would have none. The real world is achieved when you perceive the basis of forgiveness is quite real and fully justified. While you regard it as a gift unwarranted, it must uphold the guilt you would "forgive." Unjustified forgiveness is attack. And this is all the world can ever give. It pardons "sinners" sometimes but remains aware that they have sinned. And so they do not merit the forgiveness that it gives.


73 This is the false forgiveness, which the world employs to keep the sense of sin alive. And recognizing God is just, it seems impossible His pardon could be real. Thus is the fear of God the sure result of seeing pardon as unmerited. No one who sees himself as guilty can avoid the fear of God. But he is saved from this dilemma if he can forgive. The mind must think of its Creator as it looks upon itself. If you can see your brother merits pardon, you have learned forgiveness is your right as much as his. Nor will you think that God intends for you a fearful judgment which your brother does not merit. For it is the truth that you can merit neither more nor less than he.


74 Forgiveness recognized as merited will heal. It gives the miracle its strength to overlook illusions. This is how you learn that you must be forgiven too. There can be no appearance that can not be overlooked. For if there were, it would be necessary first there be some sin which stands beyond forgiveness. There would be an error that is more than a mistake---a special form of error which remains unchangeable, eternal, and beyond correction or escape. There would be one mistake which had the power to undo creation and to make a world which could replace it and destroy the Will of God. Only if this were possible could there be some appearances which could withstand the miracle and not be healed by it.


75 There is no surer proof idolatry is what you wish than a belief there are some forms of sickness and of joylessness forgiveness cannot heal. This means that you prefer to keep some idols, and are not prepared as yet to let all idols go. And thus you think that some appearances are real and not appearances at all. Be not deceived about the meaning of a fixed belief that some appearances are harder to look past than others are. It always means you think forgiveness must be limited. And you have set a goal of partial pardon and a limited escape from guilt for you. What can this be except a false forgiveness of yourself and everyone who seems apart from you?


76 It must be true the miracle can heal all forms of sickness, or it cannot heal. Its purpose cannot be to judge which forms are real and which appearances are true. If one appearance must remain apart from healing, one illusion must be part of truth. And you could not escape all guilt, but only some of it. You must forgive God's Son entirely. Or you will keep an image of yourself that is not whole and will remain afraid to look within and find escape from every idol there. Salvation rests on faith there cannot be some forms of guilt which you cannot forgive. And so there cannot be appearances which have replaced the truth about God's Son.


77 Look on your brother with the willingness to see him as he is. And do not keep a part of him outside your willingness that he be healed. To heal is to make whole. And what is whole can have no missing parts that have been kept outside. Forgiveness rests on recognizing this and being glad there cannot be some forms of sickness which the miracle must lack the power to heal.


78 God's Son is perfect, or he cannot be God's Son. Nor will you know him if you think he does not merit the escape from guilt in all its forms and all its consequence. There is no way to think of him but this if you would know the truth about yourself:


79 I thank you, Father, for your perfect Son,
   And in his glory will I see my own.


80 Here is the joyful statement that there are no forms of evil which can overcome the Will of God---the glad acknowledgment that guilt has not succeeded by your wish to make illusions real. And what is this except a simple statement of the truth?


81 Look on your brother with this hope in you, and you will understand he could not make an error that could change the truth in him. It is not difficult to overlook mistakes that have been given no effects. But what you see as having power to make an idol of the Son of God you will not pardon. For he has become to you a graven image and a sign of death. Is this your savior? Is his Father wrong about His Son? Or have you been deceived in him who has been given you to heal, for your salvation and deliverance?




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