In last week’s blog post, “Love In Action – Part 1,” I referenced Lesson 61 from A Course In Miracles: I am the light of the world. As ACIM points out, this is true for all of us, not just some of us. I am the light of the world. You are the light of the world. As the “light of the world,” choosing to love is the most powerful creative action possible for us. There is no other choice beyond love, no other action we can take. Everything beyond love that we may experience is the effect and consequence of choosing to love. So, as the “light of the world”, our purpose is to express love. That is how we shine the light.
In this week’s blog, we take a look at Lesson 62 from ACIM: Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. Expressing love as the light of the world is our purpose, and forgiveness is how we are to function in order to fulfill our purpose. Additionally, I will provide a cue or two from UCOH member Emily Hook’s compelling new book, The Power of Forgiveness, that can help you supercharge the practice of forgiveness in your own life, so that you can shine right where you are as the light of the world.
Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.
Lesson 62 implies that forgiveness is not just something we employ here and there in our lives whenever we are angry with someone or something in our lives. Forgiveness is our “function.” It is how we are to operate as the “light of the world.” Forgiveness is how we “bring the world of darkness to the light;” and how we “recognize the light in which we see.” In ACIM‘s curriculum, forgiveness is how we demonstrate that we are the light of the world.
Forgiveness is much more than just letting go of grievances through the forgiveness of others. Forgiveness is how the “truth about yourself returns to your memory.” Too many times, we resist forgiveness because it feels like letting the other person off the hook. However, true forgiveness is a “gift to yourself,” because it helps you to remember the truth of who you are. And, who are you? You are the light of the world. If you are to express and demonstrate who you are as the light of the world, forgiveness is your function. It is not just for releasing anger and grievances. As Lesson 62 states it: “In your forgiveness lies your salvation.”
Illusions about yourself and the world are one.
Truth is the only thing that can replace illusions. If you see yourself, or others for that matter, as anything less than the light of the world, then you are choosing illusions over truth. The truth you see for yourself is the truth you see for others and for the world. The same is true for illusions. The illusions you maintain about yourself are the same as the ones you maintain of others and the world. If you do not see yourself as the light of the world, then you will not see others as they are in truth.
If you are seeing illusions instead of truth, then you have placed blocks and obstacles in your way. The good news is the blocks and obstacles are imaginary. They are not real, and the only thing you need do to remove them is to withdraw your agreement from them. Once we are no longer willing to give power to the illusion, truth takes its rightful place in our awareness. Forgiveness is how you “find out who you are.”
Forgiveness is not inherently religious.
Among the many helpful ideas Emily Hooks offers up in her book, The Power of Forgiveness, is the powerful reminder that “forgiveness is not inherently religious.” She rightly points out that we do not have a “moral obligation” to forgive. True forgiveness is a choice we make so that we can establish a path to inner peace. If we feel “morally obligated” to forgive, we often simply find ourselves “going through the motions” of forgiveness, because we feel we are supposed to in order to be a good person. This kind of forgiveness never really gains any traction, because we are not practicing forgiveness voluntarily.
No one can force you to actually forgive someone. They might persuade you to say the words, “I forgive you.” But, saying the words and actually forgiving are two completely different things. Forgiveness, like love, is a choice. It is not a choice that we can simply make here and there in our lives at our own discretion, forgiving some things while holding on to others. Forgiveness is a dynamic strategy we are to practice every single day of our lives, anytime we are tempted to choose illusions over truth, grievances over peace.
To forgive, simply become willing to forgive.
Every grievance we hold in place is a “block to the awareness of love’s presence.” Not being able to see that love is present keeps us believing that love is not an option available to us. Instead, we choose to believe the grievance is bigger than the power of love. When we are unwilling to forgive, we are willing instead to hold on to the grievance. Either way, it is an exercise of will.
Oftentimes, we may see the need for forgiveness in our lives, but don’t know how to forgive. Many, if not most, of us may have found forgiveness to be hard in the past. We don’t know how to do it, so we resist doing it. To assist others in learning how to practice forgiveness in their lives as a path to healing, wholeness and peace, Emily Hooks established the Forgiveness Academy. In her book, she teaches five “competencies” that are useful in helping us to understand our own story better, create an awareness of where the psychological pain of unforgiveness resides in our bodies, cultivate empathy, release judgments and resistance, and finally, to actually forgive.
For its part, A Course In Miracles also teaches the importance of forgiveness. As Lesson 62 teaches: Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world. Since forgiveness is required to remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, it could easily be said that without forgiveness, we would never express love. We would instead just keep piling up grievances one on top of the other, one willful choice at a time, until the presence of love was so obscured we would never see it.
Ultimately, it is a matter of willingness. We are either willing to hold on to the grievances, and hide our love under the proverbial “bushel basket;” or, we become willing to express our love and shine forth as the light of the world we are created to be. The choice is, and always has been, our own. At the end of the day, perhaps the easiest strategy to employ is to simply become willing to forgive. In the moment, we place our willingness to forgive on the table, forgiveness is actually accomplished. When we become willing to forgive, we simultaneously become unwilling to allow grievances to block the awareness of love’s presence. In this way, forgiveness is love in action.