L e s s o n 46
God is the Love in which I forgive.
1 God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary. Forgiveness is the great need of this world, but that is because it is a world of illusions. Those who forgive are thus releasing themselves from illusions, while those who withhold forgiveness are binding themselves to them. As you condemn only yourself, so do you forgive only yourself.
2 Although God does not forgive, His Love is nevertheless the basis of forgiveness. Fear condemns, and love forgives. Forgiveness thus undoes what fear has produced, returning the mind to the awareness of God. For this reason, forgiveness can truly be called salvation. It is the means by which illusions disappear.
3 Today's exercises require at least three full five-minute practice periods and as many shorter applications as possible. Begin the practice periods by repeating today's idea to yourself, as usual. Close your eyes as you do so and spend a minute or two in searching your mind for those whom you have not forgiven. It does not matter "how much" you have not forgiven. You have forgiven them entirely or not at all.
4 If you are doing the exercises well, you should have no difficulty in finding a number of people you have not forgiven. It is a safe rule that anyone you do not like is a suitable subject. Mention each one by name and say:
6 The purpose of the first phase of today's practice is to put you in the best position to forgive yourself. After you have applied the idea for today to all those who have come to mind, tell yourself,
8 Then devote the remainder of the practice period to offering related ideas such as:
10 The form of the applications may vary considerably, but the central idea should not be lost sight of. You might say, for example:
12 The practice period should end, however, with a repetition of today's idea as originally stated.
13 The shorter applications may consist either of a repetition of the idea for today in the original or in a related form, or in more specific applications if needed. They will be needed at any time during the day when you become aware of any kind of negative reaction to anyone, present or not. In this event, tell him silently,