January 2011 – “I have a function God would have me fill.”

“Forgiveness gently looks upon all things unknown in Heaven, sees them disappear, and leaves the world a clean and unmarked slate on which the Word of God can now replace the senseless symbols written there before…” Workbook p.365, Lesson 192.

So many people these days are searching for their divine purpose. Put the words “divine purpose” into Google and you will be given over 900,000 results. Those on a spiritual path are determined to live more meaningful lives by serving God in one way or another. We ask ourselves: “Maybe I should try to channel God’s Word or maybe I should teach or write a book or run a spiritual development workshop?” We rack our brains to find something more significant than our normal, everyday jobs maybe because, at some level, we know that there is an important function that God would like us to fulfil.

A Course in Miracles also speaks about our divine function. It is a good place to look when trying to figure out exactly what we should be doing with our lives in this meaningless world, so that we don’t waste our time here and have to come back to live yet another life here after death. One sentence in Lesson 192 tells us exactly what our function is: “Forgiveness represents your function here.” It’s as simple as that. We don’t all have to go out and write mind-expanding books, become a life coach, follow a guru, meditate for days on end, etc., unless we want to. We can do those things and they certainly seem helpful, but the overriding, most important thing of all that we can do is forgive.

Lesson 297 explains why forgiveness is our only function. “Forgiveness is the only gift I give, because it is the only gift I want. And everything I give I give myself. This is salvation’s simple formula. And I, who would be saved, would make it mine, to be the way I live within a world that needs salvation, and that will be saved as I accept Atonement for myself.” Workbook, p. 447. The world needs salvation because it is unreal and is simply a tiny, mad idea that resulted in the world of form; only that didn’t really happen, so that’s why we need forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves for thinking that we are actually living in physical form in our dream world. We have to forgive everyone we come across because we are all in this together, and as there is really only one of us, when we forgive another, we also forgive ourselves. Hence the sentence above: “And everything I give I give myself.”

There is one key sentence in the passage just quoted, which proves that forgiveness is a function that makes sense: “This is salvation’s simple formula.” In other words, forgiveness will give us salvation. It will set us free — free to remember God and awaken from our dream world. That’s why forgiveness is our divine purpose, our special function and the way that leads to enlightenment. If we remember that the Atonement means recognising that the separation from God and Heaven never actually took place, then we can see that by accepting the Atonement through forgiving ourselves for dreaming, and releasing all the guilt in our wrong minds, not only will we be saved, but the world will too because we are all one and our minds are joined.

In Lesson 330, we read: “Let us this day accept forgiveness as our only function. Why should we attack our minds, and give them images of pain? …The Self which God created cannot sin, and therefore cannot suffer. Let us choose today that He be our Identity, and thus escape forever from all things the dream of fear appears to offer us.” Workbook, p. 466. This passage deals with forgiveness of our illusions and our identification with the ego because it is the identification with the physical body, miscreated by the ego, which makes us feel weak and vulnerable. If we could identify with our higher self, which is in our right mind, these feelings of vulnerability and of suffering would be overcome. This is not an easy thing to do because we have spent all our lives and previous lives identifying with our physical bodies, which are subject to change, disease and eventual death.

The renowned teacher of A Course in Miracles, Ken Wapnick, had the following to say about our divine function: “Whenever you feel you have important work to do in this world – e.g., a specific function Jesus has given you – you should smile knowingly and gently, realizing your ego has done it again. Your only function is to forgive…. No one has any important work they are supposed to do that differs from anyone else’s. It would make no sense to think otherwise about a world that does not exist. Our only important work is to change the mind that thinks there is a world, let alone something important that needs to be done within it….The only way you should think of yourself as having an important function is to realise everyone else has an important function, too: forgiveness.”Note 1

Forgiveness, according to A Course in Miracles, means overlooking what did not happen. We forgive all those who seem to have offended us in one way or another; we forgive difficult situations that we find ourselves in; and we forgive ourselves because we know that we are, in reality, holy Sons of God and cannot sin. Yes, we have made a serious mistake by allying ourselves with the ego and believing that we are our physical bodies, but we can forgive ourselves for this and make a different choice this time; now it is time for us to align ourselves with the Holy Spirit instead of the ego.

In Chapter 25 of the Text, once again we find reference to forgiveness being our function: “…Forgiveness is the only function meaningful in time. It is the means the Holy Spirit uses to translate specialness from sin into salvation. Forgiveness is for all. But when it rests on all it is complete, and every function of this world completed with it. Then is time no more. Yet while in time, there is still much to do. And each must do what is allotted him, for on his part does all the plan depend…” Text p. 530. Once we have all completed all our forgiveness lessons, then the world of time and space will simply disappear and we will be aware that we are at home in Heaven, as we always have been. But as long as we believe we are here, then forgiveness is our function – our special function. The last sentence in this passage shows us that all of us separated beings need to practice forgiveness. So, it could well take thousands and thousands of years until the forgiveness process is completed and the ego’s world disappears. But we can begin, here and now, by resolving to fulfil our own special function of forgiveness. What better way is there to start a new year?

“Forgiveness is my function as the light of the world.” Kenneth Wapnick, The Healing Power of Kindness, Volume Two, pp.108, 109, Foundation for A Course in Miracles, Temecula, CA.

Workbook p.104, Lesson 62.

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