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In reference to T-9.III (The Correction of Error), does forgiveness mean to just sit idly by if a brother is about to commit a heinous crime?
I am new to "A Course in Miracles," so please understand my confusion in attempting to come to grips with it. I accept—and can implement in my thinking—the principle of forgiveness and non-condemnation. In fact, I want to—because my failure to do so will lead to a life owned by my ego's production of resentment, fear and selfishness. I know from sad experience that this can produce no serenity or joy, which is what I seek.
What does one do if I witness a brother or a sister attempting to commit murder or some other heinous crime? Do I sit idle and simply watch because "Your brother's errors are not him" and then rationalize that what is happening is OK, because "The Holy Spirit in Me forgives all things?!" I am now at a standstill in my understanding and I need some guidance.
Thanks for your sincere question. Most of the Ten Commandments were given as guidelines for behavior: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Some were aimed within: Love the Lord Thy God with all Thy heart, soul and might. Love Thy neighbor as Thyself. Thou shalt not covet. Yet what you do comes from what you think, and that is why ACIM aims at changing one's loyalty from the ego's thought system to the Holy Spirit's Thought System. Perception arises from the thought system you choose to think with, and as these thoughts are changed, so is the perception that they seem to produce. Projection makes perception, and attack thoughts seem to produce a distorted world. This is the "lens" which forgiveness corrects, for the mind asleep and dreaming has a perceptual problem. Forgiveness sees the world from the Holy Spirit's Perspective, and the perception is peaceful and calm. Any action which is inspired by thinking with the Holy Spirit will be helpful. Any action which springs from ego thinking is harmful. The mind which learns to hear and follow only the Holy Spirit has learned to be truly Helpful.
` Much of the inner work in Awakening I call mind watching. As you notice and watch your thoughts, initially there is the realization that they are mostly ego thoughts. That is why perception initially seems so clouded and distorted. You are asked to apply the lesson of the day as you go through each day, and asked to try not to make exceptions to the lesson. This is the practice. Whatever you seem to witness in the world, apply the lesson to what is perceived. If there is any action to take you will be told by the Holy Spirit. Be assured that any such action will flow from Inner Peace and you will have no concern about future consequences or outcomes. Peace is its own reward and looks not to "form outcomes." Actions which flow from thinking with the Holy Spirit inspire Joy, and there is no cost to anyone. A blessing is bestowed on everyone and everything.
In this world errors seem to be in behaviors and forms. Murder is the example you have used. Yet I assure you that the only problem was a perceptual problem, and this problem has already been Solved or Answered. Forgiveness is simply the acceptance of the Correction to all errors. They all disappear at once, for one problem was every problem. This is another way of saying that there is no order of difficulty in miracles and no hierarchy of illusions. There are no big problems or small ones, no vast illusions and tiny ones. As you advance in your mind training, it will become more and more obvious that nothing real can be threatened and nothing unreal exists. For Who You are as Spirit remain invulnerable and innocent, and the world can never dictate your state of mind.
Let the Holy Spirit Guide you in all thoughts and actions. Willingness for just this will produce immediate peaceful results.