"Come now, and let us reason together," saith the LORD. "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;" (King James Version, Isaiah 1:18 to ;).
"…there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding." (King James Version, Job 32:8).
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (King James Version, Luke 23: 34).
"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (New King James Version, Matthew 6: 14, 15).
Our daily lives in this human experience are rarely full of joy or free of stress. Yet, to the best extent we can, we'd all love to live joyful, stress-free lives. But, consider this: putting aside (for just a moment) the troubles we may have with other people, we probably make more than a hundred mental decisions a day just about the 'I' and 'me' of our own being (i.e., I'm good at this and bad at that; I'm smart, I'm dumb; I'm weak, I'm strong; abundance doesn't belong to me, etc.). For this reason, it does us well to realize that almost all traits and conditions we've attached to ourselves are based in and on the false material sense of ourselves, not the truth of being. We are infinitely more than we can behold from a fleshly-mind-and-body perspective.
Most of these daily decisions we make about ourselves and others are so minor that they don't impact our lives much. It is the other decisions and subsequent actions (especially the negative ones) that can steal our joy for years to come—if we continue to carry them forth into each new day.
One of these stealers of joy can be any particular guilt we carry, from day to day, year to year. Guilt is a specter that haunts us from within, sapping joy from our days and producing sleepless nights. Hanging onto guilt over something we've done in the past, (as well as resentment over the guilty things that other people have done to us) are two major contributors to the burdens of depression and stress load we carry. In our quest for more joy and less stress, we really don't realize how much mental house room we're giving to negative emotions of resentment and anger (guilt we assign to others) as well as self-guilt against ourselves. As we're thinking ourselves through each day, the negative thoughts we allow to take us over will continue to rob us of our God-given joy and peace of mind, each new day, as well as each new year.
Spiritual enlightenment, even in tiny doses, is required to really change our life experiences from the negative to positive, and erase our depressions in favor of joys. Full enlightenment comes with a re-awakening of the true 'I' and 'me' of being, which is pre-existent in Spirit, never entombed in matter. This awakening eventually comes to all who mentally sleep in the material sense of identity. It, at least, does its best to break through the material beliefs and laws we've developed here, in this human experience. Usually this re-awakening comes forward to our human consciousness in a gradual way, because the full impact of such an awakening involves too much information to be absorbed, all at once, in our human state of mind.
This enlightenment is the infinite realization of the spiritual Truth we have forgotten at this lower level of consciousness, where we believe our being, as well as the being of others, to be based in physical form. Awakened thoughts come forth from our innate remembrance of the spiritual 'I' and 'me' that is the image and likeness of God, our true Source of being. This enlightened awareness begins to tell us the Truth of our being, which gradually erases all other beliefs about the 'I' and 'me' that we've accepted of ourselves as material beings.
This higher awareness, which knocks for attention at the door of our human consciousness, is actually our higher Self talking to the false sense of material self, which bases all conclusions on materiality. It is our Christ identity, our Christ Consciousness, speaking from within the core of our real being, telling the false Adam or Eve sense of identity the spiritual truth about the 'I' and 'me' of true being. It speaks to us of our spiritual being and God's forever, invisible Kingdom, even while we seem to exist in a solid, finite reality of a physical universe.
And it is within our higher, spiritual realization of Self, that the 'I' and 'me' of our true being shows to each of us our spiritual innocency of all wrong—our perpetual holiness as God's image and likeness, which has never done any wrong, nor caused any destruction to any one or any thing in God's spiritual creation.
Our spiritual holiness is maintained, whatever we've done humanly, because this higher, spiritual Self has never been deluded by the false sense of physical being, nor any behavior that has resulted from such a false, mental state of being. In other words, there is a you and me that have never done anything wrong or destructive to our own self or anyone else. Nor has any one of God's true children ever done anything bad to us.
This spiritual innocency which lies within the true 'I' and 'me' of our being was characterized by Christ Jesus who said of his would-be destroyers, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." (See 3rd quotation at top of article). It was this altered state of consciousness, the material state of what we believe constitutes reality, which prompted so many to destroy the individual who came to show us our true Selves, and our Sonship and Daughtership to God. Jesus brought this truth of spiritual being to us, to enable us in transforming the material world of form (the physical scene) into wholeness, health, abundance, and even our real, eternal lives. But humanity didn't perceive this. It tried to kill him anyway.
Under the delusion of material existence, no one really knows "what they do". All are acting out from a false premise of whom they are and where they are. They know neither their true, loving Self nor the true, loving nature of all other sons and daughters of God.
Under a false sense of assessment, wrong can often seem right. And in this human dimension, or lowered, altered state of conscious awareness, we think and act as beings other than we are. The physical-form 'I' and 'me' (which we refer to when speaking and thinking of ourselves) has a long, human history. It begins in the womb, where (as spiritual beings) we can actually hear others speaking of us before we are birthed. In babyhood, we become aware of what others think of us. As we go through the years of childhood, we are already making many decisions about who the 'I' and 'me' of our physical-form being IS. We also make these decisions about others.
We all do it. We condemn the false sense of those who do wrongful things against us, and we may even 'pay them back' with some type of punishment; but we can also be our own worst enemy, by punishing our own human sense of self with guilt over something we did in the past, or present.
Oftentimes, if we're trying to live as a 'good' human being, the human side of our emotional make up seems to demand that we live in guilt as emotional punishment. Sometimes a past incident of guilt or shame can become a never-ending debt to someone that we keep trying to repay. It's hard to shake these emotional burdens off. We feel that, although we'd like to put the past behind us, we just can't do it because our true feelings won't let us.
Yet, the truth of the whole matter is that, as human beings, whatever our sins, we are all the same—none of us 'know what we do' while still under the material illusion of identity and being. This false sense of being (not our true selfhood) causes us to do all manner of wrong; that's why forgiveness is essential to balance all scales in our lives. We forgive others for whatever they've done against us while under this false sense of existence, and we forgive ourselves for whatever past offenses we now regret, but did while under this false sense that seduced us into doing wrongful things.
Not perceiving the spiritual 'I' and 'me' of true being, we are under a mental delusion of how things really are. This false sense of material being is the veil over the mind referred to in the New King James version of the Bible, "But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ." (2 Corinthians 3: 14). The veil over the minds of humanity is the false belief in materiality which hides from us the universal Christ identity (our spiritual identity, individualized).
Recently, in trying to shake off a few of my own mental burdens of guilt that persisted in the false sense of myself, I finally admitted to myself that, in order to accept my own true innocency, I had to behold the true, spiritual innocency of all humanity.
More precisely, in turning more to God's wisdom and truth within my true being, I realized that, in order to really SEE my own freedom from guilt that I carried over with a couple of incidents in the past, I must see the innocency of anyone who has or will do something destructive to me. I had to rise above the human sense of being and justice that holds me back, and, instead, realize what Christ Jesus said about forgiveness being a two-way street (See Matthew 6: 14, 15 quotation at beginning of article). To receive our own forgiveness from God, for every bad thing we've thought or done in this human experience (whatever we do out of the inadequacies of a fleshly rather than spiritual being) we must turn our thoughts to those individuals who have done wrongful things against us, and forgive them for all of it.
That's the reasoning-with-God, I think, which makes our own sins "white as snow" (see 1st quotation at top of article). What we want for ourselves, we must freely give to others. In this celestial logic, we all win; for, once forgiven by God for whatever we wish to be forgiven for, our spiritual innocency is restored.
A few years back, another time when I struggled with forgiveness of both myself and others, I remember that the phrase 'altered state of consciousness' came into the picture. Just as someone under the mental effects of alcohol or drugs is not in his or her right mind, but are rather under an altered state of consciousness (where they do not perceive the fullness of reality) so are we all in an altered state of consciousness, as we go through this human experience believing that we are separated from God, our spiritual Source. The belief in materiality as 'all there is' leads us to our own ways to survive when our human environment turns hostile. We mentally shut off our spiritual link to the Almighty; thus, we then have no expectation or trust in any invisible, divine help or healing. We turn our back on God; the infinite, loving Intelligence never turns Its back on us.
This material state of mind that believes in our separation from the ever-presence of God and our spiritual home (the kingdom of God's everlasting, loving harmony) convinces us that the evil we do in this material-seeming reality is often necessary to protect ourselves. Materially speaking, we can justify almost any destructive thing against others.
So, here's one good reason for forgiving others every time we are humanly harmed by them: These individuals to whom we don't grant forgiveness are really our spiritual brothers and sisters, who, when in their Right Mind, would never have trespassed against us in the first place. They don't know who they really are, or they wouldn't be acting this way; but we know. It is only the false, material sense of them, and ourselves, that ever do destructive things against anyone. Because God knows and sees only our true identities, and not the Adam or Eve identities we assume in this human experience, the Almighty Intelligence holds nothing against us, when we release all others from our own grips of guilt upon them.
Along with the reason for forgiveness above, the sting of what wrongful things take place with us, materially, are all replaced when we realize that Spirit, God, is our only Source. The false sense, acting out through people, can do nothing about God's continuous stream of all good toward us. We are always invisibly present with our divine Source, and Spirit is all-in-all to us. We emanate from God in body, soul and mind. We are always at one with our divine Source. We are always being renewed in body substance, which is spiritual, and always being supplied with our inexhaustible provision of all good from God. Whatever lack another causes us is only temporary. Likewise, God will show us the way to recompense our wrongs when we repent of them. Only by ignoring this truth of being do we continue to experience lack of any kind.
The first chapter of Genesis gives the spiritual facts of creation. In Genesis 1:27 we read, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." And in Genesis 1:31 we read, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."
Only in Chapter 2 of Genesis is a different story told, of a material (dust) base of creation. This is the story of the Adam dream of flesh, sin, and separation from God that has hidden the invisible kingdom of God from humanity since its earliest time of acceptance. We are the human descendants of this false belief, for Adam never woke up from his deep sleep. It has been passed on, mentally, to all of us in this human level of thought. All who enter and exit this human dimension of lower awareness (asleep to spiritual reality) must awaken from the dream of having lost our spiritual bodies, minds and souls. The first line in Acts 17:28 tells us, "For in Him, we live, and move, and have our being". This 'Him' is God—the infinite Spirit and Creator of the only creation that exists.
The life we're living in matter, right now, certainly feels real. But I always give this analogy to show that the human condition is a lower level of perception, in the category of dreaming: When we are sleeping in bed at night, we often dream. Sometimes we can remember two or three dreams in the morning when we awaken. Yet, while in the lowered level of conscious perception we call sleep, our mental awareness and perception of reality is shut down, or reduced drastically. It often takes a loud noise to awaken us, when deep in sleep.
In this level of conscious awareness, we believe and feel the dreams we are having. We often believe, in our night dreams, that we are in peril; when actually, we're safe and sound, sleeping in our beds. It's only upon awakening that we recognize that our peril was only in the dream, not reality. Each level of conscious awareness is bounded by how awake or asleep to reality we are experiencing. In this same way, life in matter is a lower level of perception. It does not perceive God or those who have left the material scene. Yet, they most likely can perceive us. We probably appear as sleepers on a bed might appear to someone who is awake, walking past the bed.
I won't go any deeper into the dream analogy. But to the early followers of Christianity, Paul the Apostle wrote to the Ephesians who were still quite alive in the flesh, "…Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." (Ephesians 5: 14). Paul, here, is speaking to the Ephesians of the universal Christ identity of all God's spiritual children, not just Jesus.
Jesus was our brother, showing us our true selves. In our real and awakened, spiritual identities, we are each truly the image and likeness of God. God's purity, holiness, and life everlasting are within us, in our real, Christly identities. In our true selves, there is no need or necessity to sin, against God, ourselves, or others; thus, there is no need for forgiveness. All needs are met for eternity. Our own divine innocency is known to God, who freely forgives all who are still sleeping in the dream of materiality, but who seek to be free of the human guilt often produced in the material state of mind. When fully awakened, we will see the glory of God that characterizes us all.