When we look at forgiveness, we need to ask ourselves a few questions.

What is the unforgiveness that I am holding onto?

What is holding me back from turning the key to forgiveness as it is right there in my hand?

Why hold onto the grievance? What does it get me?

Recently an old hurt arose to the surface for me. This hurt held that someone with whom I held trust spoke untruths about me. When it arose it felt just as fresh as when it first occurred. The wound was reopened. As I became saturated in the pain of it again, the anger rose even higher. It became as a sword above my head, ready to strike. If you remember the "Sword of Damocles", Damocles was a servant to the king. He envied what the king had, so the king gave him all the riches that he could want. However, he placed a sword above Damocles head held only by a single horse hair. He ended up running away and going back to his own simple life, realizing all the riches in the world is not worth the potential risk.

We think that the rich life of revenge, grievances and unforgiveness will make us happy when in fact it does not. It never will. Returning to the simple life of following Holy Spirt's assistance with the miracle of forgiveness only will bring us lasting happiness.

As I noticed my energy drain while thinking of this situation and all the "revenge" stories I created in my mind, you know the ones – the "what I should have said or done" –  I didn't like how I felt. It was if poison was surging through my veins. When we can notice how we are feeling, that is the gift, it is the opening of willingness we need. Here now is the key placed in our hand.

Relief begins to come in when we take responsibility for our unforgiveness – the grievance – the judgment. It is in our mind where we need to do the inner work. Granted, we may have to take steps in form, but we start with the content of the mind first. We have to do this because otherwise we are choosing to focus on the guilt. 

In my case, the event was over but because of my attachment to it, it lived on in my mind. Were the untruths true? If I knew the truth did it matter what someone else believed? The issue at hand was I believed them to be true only because that is what was at my core. I believed myself to be guilty. Where I focused my attention was on any shred of guilt from the past that was unrelated. In my mind, I am always guilty. It doesn't matter if it was long past or yesterday. The ego tells me I am guilty always. Yet either way I am living in the past and not in the here and now. In the here and now I am innocent and I am loved dearly by God, no matter what I believe or what is told to me.

It comes down to we are responsible for our own mind and how we think and interpret events. We have to remember this.

Can I now choose to see this with love?

Can I see this person/organization/event with Christ vision?

Can I be open to forgiveness?

What can I learn from this?

Otherwise, the pain of guilt will be with me like a heavy chain. The more I try to place the chain of guilt onto someone or something else, the more rigid steel links are added along to my own along with the padlocks of pain.

Forgiveness truly sets us free. It moves us out of the past pain and into the peaceful present moment. 

At our recent retreat, we started off with an exercise where we finished the phrase, "I will be happy when____" and we listed many items in a journaling process. You see, we continually put off our happiness to continue to relish being a victim of a person, circumstance or entity. Really we are a "victim" of our unforgiveness. It's our sacrifice, it's our cross to bear and it ultimately is our "blame game."

But Jesus wants us to play the salvation game instead and put away all of our foolish toys of the ego. The ego's toys are only meant to harm us with their guilt, defense, attack, judgment and fear. Holy Spirit's gifts show us a new way to live, a new way to be in every moment, every day. We live then in innocence, peace and love, all by accepting the miracle, the little change in perception. 

In the world, yes, we still need to discipline our children, or employees, take action or set boundaries for ourselves. It's loving to do so if we come from an intention of love. When we forgive, we now truly become the light of the world through our forgiveness. We welcome happiness and as we heal everyone heals as One.

The above was taken from my notes from my talk on Sunday, September 14th,  you can watch my Sunday Message on YouTube – http://youtu.be/J06gGz0Mgy4 where I speak further on forgiveness and end with a guided forgiveness meditation based on Lesson 121.

You can also download the audio at this link.

On September 18th, our “The Holy Place of Forgiveness” in-depth 6 week Living ACIM class begins as we explore forgiveness more deeply with exercises, practices, and daily work so we in turn can experience our innocence and our happiness.


Rev. Deb Phelps, Senior Minister

September 17th, 2014


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