Forgiveness and Blaming the Victim
BY REJA JOY GREEN
The following is a question, posed on the new blog, “From Anxiety to Love: Finding Inner Peace with A Course in Miracles“. Corinne answered this question beautifully on her blog and a followup answer by Reja is below.
Question: “I don’t understand how forgiveness in the Course is different than blaming the victim. I know that abusive people can, and have, misused the Course and other spiritual teachings to act from ego and hurt others. However, I still see in the Course amongst its teachers that the person who was hurt must then forgive by “accepting that what you thought happened, didn’t” and realizing that one “chose to hurt oneself through the abuser” and other concepts.”
Thank you so much Corinne. The explanation you’ve given on your blog which is here-> http://bitly.com/ACIMQandA-BlamingVictim will resonate with a lot of Course students, I’m sure.
What I’d love to do is hear from other Course in Miracle students on how they would answer this question as well.
I felt the challenge to ask within my Self for how I would have answered this question if it were posed to me and so this Article was born.
The first part of the question stated:
“I don’t understand how forgiveness in the Course is different than blaming the victim.”
From the wording of this first part of the question, there seems to be a perception that blame is not only possible but that blame is actually occurring in the name of ‘forgiveness’, which makes it seem as though the ‘victim’ is being unfairly treated. And from the perspective of separation, this makes sense.
However we, as students of A Course in Miracles [ACIM], are learning to choose a different kind of ‘perspective’. And it’s a perspective to be used even here in this dream of physical space; even now, in our seeming experience of linear time. There IS NO OTHER Place or Time. The perspective of the Holy Spirit, of our Right Mind, of FORGIVENESS, will bring us to an experience of Peace and JOY ~ here and now! And this is the first step toward our awakening; the first step on this journey without distance to a goal that has never changed.
The whole crux of the solution then is to understand the perspective that ACIM is teaching us. And the answer is closer to us than our breath. It is truly our own BEING. It is the Love that we ARE.
When we choose to come from our Right Mind, which is actually a definition of ‘Forgiveness’, then we are literally coming from the part of our Mind referred to as the Holy Spirit, Higher Self, or Guidance. And this MIND shows us what is REALLY going on, past the limited perception of the ego which is based on separation. And that vision is what Forgiveness truly is.
From the perspective of LOVE [aka Holy Spirit, Higher Self, Guidance, whatever you may call it], blame is impossible. It’s impossible because there is no condemnation. And there is no condemnation because there is no belief in separation. The Course asks us many times who would we attack if we truly knew the ‘other‘ as our Self?
In order for attack to even take place we must first separate ourselves from the other. We must first think that we are different from them; that they are truly separate from us and then we decide whether they deserve either punishment or forgiveness.
From the alternate perspective of UNITY, there is not only no condemnation, there is no separation between the person ‘perceiving the other’ and the ‘other’. This alternate perspective allows us to ponder the idea that what is truly going on is so much more than what our limited minds are showing us. It allows for the idea that what our limited minds are showing us is not Reality. We are not different from our brothers. We are Spirit having a human experience and we are ALL facets of the ONE.
The Course is teaching us that MINDS are JOINED; That we share One Mind with God although we have divided that One mind in separate, warring parts that do not remember their Oneness. Our thoughts create the separation and then we react to it as if it were real.
The SHIFT away from the view that perpetuates ‘separation’ to one that allows the Reality of UNITY to come forward is the MIRACLE. The Course tells us that the miracle is when we remove the blocks to Love’s awareness. The Course tells us that everything that comes from Love is a Miracle.
Now, the next part of the question tells us that the questioner admits:
“I still see in the Course amongst its teachers that the person who was hurt must then forgive by ‘accepting that what you thought happened, didn’t’….”
In this statement we first of all see that the person ‘was hurt’ and then the person who ‘was hurt’ is being told they MUST FORGIVE by denying that it happened. This truly sounds ludicrous and yet there is more here than meets the eye.
If we first look at the idea that the person is HURT, it is agreed that the appropriate reaction is NOT to deny this person’s experience. That would be something the Course calls: ‘denying the DENIAL’ and the Course urges us NOT to do this. So what is DENIAL? DENIAL is occurring when anyone DENY’S their perfection. But our healing will never occur if we continue to deny that we are in DENIAL. J
Yes, the person is hurt. Or yes, I am hurt. We should not deny that feeling. But the HEALING of the DENIAL and the pain which the DENIAL causes is what the Course is teaching us. We hurt. Yes. But in Reality we are still as God created us. We are not the weak and vulnerable and separate person our egos want us to believe we are. That concept of ourselves can cause us to feel hurt but that is not who we are.
Actually, there is nothing outside of us. In reality there is One Mind and that Mind I share with God. Everything else is a call for help and healing, whether it’s from me or from the other person. Any concept of who I am that does not include my perfection and Eternal Being, is a concept supported by my vulnerable ego and will suffer pain.
The Course tells us “I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.” We learn this so beautifully in Lesson 281 as He teaches us this prayer:
1 Father, Your Son is perfect. When he thinks that he is hurt in any way, it is because he has forgotten who he is. And that he is as You created him. Your Thoughts can only bring me happiness. If ever I am sad or hurt or ill, I have forgotten what You think and put my little, meaningless ideas in place of where Your Thoughts belong and where They are. I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts. The Thoughts I think with You can only bless. The Thoughts I think with You alone are true.
ACIM Lesson 281
Nothing outside of us can hurt us or change our eternal Reality in any way. The Course is teaching us that we can ALWAYS choose again when we are in pain. No one can hurt us unless we give them the power to do so. In the very last few paragraphs of the Course, we are gently reminded that:
87 Trials are but lessons which you failed to learn presented once again, so where you made a faulty choice before, you now can make a better one and thus escape all pain which what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, “My brother, choose again.” He would not leave one source of pain unhealed nor any image left to veil the truth. [He would remove all misery from you, whom God created altars unto joy.] He would not leave you comfortless, alone in dreams of hell, but would release your minds from everything that hides His face from you. His holiness is yours because He is the only power that is real in you. His strength is yours because He is the Self that God created as His only Son. ACIM OrEd.Tx.31.87
This is what we are learning. It is the concept that, as soon as we are feeling anything but JOY, there’s a RED FLAG that is there, letting us know that we need to ‘choose again’ and this time we choose for Reality and not what we thought was going on.
That’s where the next part of this question comes in: Once the person perceives themselves as hurt, it was thought that they must then
– “forgive by ‘accepting that what you thought happened, didn’t’….”
There’s that pesky word ‘FORGIVE’ again.
Forgive, in the Course’s use of the word, does not mean that we make some action or thought real and then forgive it so we can be absolved or the other person can feel better.
Forgive means to ‘see’ the action or thought with our Right Mind. It means to see it with the Mind of Christ. We will then know what is Really going on. What ‘didn’t happen’ is anything that could change our Eternal Reality as LOVE. Nothing can change that. When we identify with WHO we Truly ARE, nothing of substance has changed.
Yes, we make mistakes while we are coming from the perspective of separation and ego, but what is REAL cannot be changed by those mistakes. It’s as if they never happened. You thought that someone hurt you but they cannot. The only thing that can be hurt is a limited sense of who you are, which is the ego.
The Course tells us that our mission here is to demonstrate that we are not an EGO. And we demonstrate that by Knowing that no matter what anyone says or thinks or does they cannot change my Reality as a perfect Son of God nor change their Reality as a perfect Son of God.
“It didn’t happen”. 😉
The last part of this questions is:
“..and realizing that one “chose to hurt oneself through the abuser” and other concepts.”
When we use this new ‘perspective’, that we are learning as Course students, and view the ‘abuser’ we do not see anyone different from ourselves. We don’t continue to perpetuate the idea of separation which is not Real. They are the Son of God as we are. And they are either coming from Love or calling for Love, as we are. While they are calling for love, their Reality as the Son of God hasn’t change. That is their Eternal Being. It hasn’t changed even when it is not recognized by themselves or by others. The Love that you ARE waits on welcome, not on time. It will NEVER change.
Only our Thoughts can hurt us in anyway. How we ‘see’ our brother and how we ‘see’ ourselves will either be through the eyes of illusion and separation or through the eyes of Christ/Holy Spirit/Love. And this is our choice. We choose to hurt ourselves if we are choosing to ‘see’ our brother as an abuser and if we ‘see’ ourselves as someone who can be abused.
If I see someone as an abuser then I must be coming from the perspective of ‘separation’. If I am ‘hurt’ then I must be coming from the perspective of ‘separation’.
It all comes down to who I identify with and the Course is teaching us that we are LOVE. Nothing we have thought about ourselves has changed our True Identity as the Perfect Son of God. Nothing we have thought of anyone else has changed their identity as the Perfect Son of God.
When we keep coming back to Forgiveness, which is ‘seeing’ with Right Perception; with the eyes of Christ/Love, then all things fall into place. “Love doesn’t conquer all things but it does set all things right.”
Nothing REAL can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
~Reja Janaki Joy Green