Forgiven as we forgive

Someone you love has done something wrong. Not criminal, but serious. Forgiving seems impossible. Yet to follow Jesus' example, you know you should. You want to.

To understand the difference between forgiveness as mankind generally perceives it and as Christ Jesus practiced it is important. To the human mind forgiveness means: (1) Believing there is a sinful person, (2) deciding to excuse him, (3) trying to feel peaceful about it. This sort of forgiveness may smooth things out for a while, but it doesn't really heal. Based on the false belief that man is a sinner, it still leaves the forgiven and forgiver with a wrong sense of man. There may be no actual repentance, and motives may remain unpurified. Mrs. Eddy reminds us, "A magistrate's pardon may encourage a criminal to repeat the offense; because forgiveness, in the popular sense of the word, can neither extinguish a crime nor the motives leading to it." No and Yes, p. 32;

Forgiveness, as Jesus preached it and lived it, is based on the understanding that man is spiritual, the expression of Spirit, God. There being no element of sin in God, there is no element of sin in His expression, man. Jesus recognized God's man as the only man. Whatever appeared to contradict the spiritual sense of man had no reality for him. The apparent contradiction of truth, called error, is the only sinner. Error is not excused; it is annihilated by spiritual Truth. Destruction of error is the only pardon, the only effective forgiveness. The individual who would feel the peace of Christly forgiving must himself repent—dismiss his erring concept of man. Distinguishing the man of God's creating from the mortal counterfeit, he is then himself reformed, his consciousness enlightened by the Christ. He is more vividly aware of man in God's likeness. This Christly awareness wipes out the false sense of man and blesses those in its presence.

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Stuck in the middle?
June 2, 1980

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