The Logic of Forgiving:

To Forgive is to Deny the Denial of Truth

 

            We have seen that the process of forgiving involves bringing our illusions to the Holy Spirit in our mind to receive the truth in the form of a correction of the error. And this correction is always a form of the thought of oneness which undoes the illusion which is a form of the thought of separation. All illusions are forms, and all forms are illusions. This is because reality is formless.  Forgiveness is for illusions (L134,2:2-3). And ultimately forgiveness itself is an illusion because there is no forgiveness in reality. In this sense, then, forgiveness could be called "a happy fiction".  

            "Forgiveness is unknown in Heaven where the need for it would be inconceivable. However, in this world forgiveness is a necessary correction for all the mistakes that we have made." (Pf.3,12:1-2)    

            Although forgiveness itself is illusion, it is the only one that stops the multiplication of illusions. "Illusion makes illusion. Except one. Forgiveness is illusion that is answer to the rest" (L198,2:8-10).  Forgiveness, then, is not itself the truth, but rather the denial of the false. The false is the denial of truth. To forgive, then, is to deny the denial of truth. "The task of the miracle worker thus becomes to deny the denial of truth" (12.2,1:5).   

             The idea that we are called to "deny the denial of truth" is crucial to our understanding of why our experience in this world can only reflect the truth of heaven. It also, however, explains why the Course can still promise that its training in forgiveness will bring us to the perception of a world without evil, a world it calls "the real world". Although the real world is not itself reality, it is called the real world because it reflects reality, that is, it has elements in common with reality, for example, the happy state of mind that exists in reality.  

            Let's examine more closely this process of denying the denial of truth by using an example. The truth of what I am can be stated as "I am spirit" (L97) (or pure mind). Thus, the denial of truth is "I am not spirit". The thought "I am not spirit" must, however, be symbolized for the mind. That is, since it is not the truth it cannot be directly known. In other words, as spirit, I cannot know or even believe that "I am not spirit". A symbol must be made to stand for this denial of truth. "Something" must be made up to substitute for the truth of what I am, “something” to take its place.  

            The body was made for this purpose. Thus "I am not spirit" is symbolized and represented by the belief and perception that "I am a body". The idea that I am a body replaces the idea that I am spirit. It replaces the truth of what I am. This false idea of myself as a body is a denial of truth. It is also a replacement of it. 

            Now that I have lost awareness of the truth by replacing it with the false, the idea that I am a body seems true in my perception of myself. And that is what illusions are. They are the false seeming to be true, the unreal seeming to be real. Illusions are substitutes for reality. 

            When I forgive, then, what I do is to deny that "I am a body". I say, "I am not a body". Thus, when I forgive, I deny the illusion; I deny the false; I deny the denial of truth.  

            When I am tempted to believe I am a body, I forgive myself by recognizing that I am not a body. Thus, forgiveness says "no" to the illusion; it says "no" to the false; it says "no" to the denial of truth. It accepts that only the truth is true, only reality is real. It recognizes the falsity of a false idea and therefore lets it go, no longer holding the false as true. 

            All this could be represented in the language of symbolic logic. Let "T" stand for truth, and "~T" stand for “not truth”, or the denial of truth, or the false. To forgive would be to deny ~T. Thus, the idea that results from the act of "forgiving" is represented in symbolic logic as ~(~T) (spoken as “not not T”).  

            To the extent that ~(~T) is equivalent to T, the result of forgiving is equivalent to truth. It is not directly the truth because it is not yet knowledge but still perception. Nevertheless, it is in accord with the truth because it denies the false, and does not contradict the truth, as the false does. In terms of our dream metaphor, forgiveness stands for the truth in the face of all the illusions in the dream. "Forgiveness is the only thing that stands for truth in the illusions of the world" (L134,7:1) (emphasis mine) 

            In the same sense that forgiveness reflects the truth, true perception -- the correction of false perception -- reflects knowledge. And healing, our function in this world, reflects creation -- our function in Heaven. And right-mindedness, the opposite of wrong-mindedness, reflects One-Mindedness.  

            Along with denying that I am a body, forgiveness involves the denial of all thoughts which are part of the ego thought system. This thought system has as its starting point the self you made, rather than the Self God created. All the ideas in this thought system are the denial of truth. They include, among others, the following thoughts: I can attack and be attacked. Fear, anger, and attack are justified. I am sinful, guilty, and deserve punishment. God is fearful for he is a wrathful God who will punish me for my sins. I have what I take, and another's loss is my gain. I can harm and be harmed, suffer and cause suffering, kill and be killed.  To forgive is to recognize these ideas as false, even though at first some of them may seem to be true. Forgiveness, then, simply recognizes the falsity of false beliefs, and therefore lets them go. 

            This, then, is the logic of forgiveness. And this logic is based on the truth of what we are -- the perfect creations of a perfect Creator, the perfect Son of a perfect Father. This truth remains in a part of our mind and rises to our awareness in a form we can understand given the limitations we have imposed on our awareness.  

Copyright Robert J. Hellmann, 2002, 2021