My most significant experience of forgiveness was accompanied with an appearance of betrayal.
It was a very powerful lesson in forgiveness but also in letting a person go from my life.
Becoming A Course in Miracles (ACIM) student, in which the Course’s main teachings are to extend love and to forgive, changed me in all aspects of my life including my work. My shift from being all about me to helping and supporting my peers resulted in a promotion managing my own sales team.
It was an extremely rewarding time in my career – the blend of my business knowledge, sales experience and applying the Course principles brought a sense of true caring to the role. My team was highly successful, and my VP knew that my team respected me and followed my leadership.
During this time I became close with a fellow salesperson, Susan. Our lives clicked beautifully together, and we spent many hours sharing our personal thoughts and dreams.
Our two families shared many events together including the monumental New Year’s Eve 2000 celebrations. I remember her saying that our friendship would endure forever and that we would be sharing in each of our children’s weddings together some day.
Then suddenly the sharing and the being together stopped.
Susan and three other female colleagues filed charges with human resources against a close male friend and colleague of mine, Matt.
I was caught in the middle of a very messy emotional situation and my friendship with Susan was severed overnight.
The charges were never proven but it cost Matt his job. The company let him go without cause with a healthy severance. It didn’t seem fair to me, but I think our VP felt that the work conditions would become too toxic if the five of them were to continue working together.
It took the Course’s teachings, and much praying and asking for guidance to rise above wanting to be angry and blaming these women for how their actions had affected our lives.
I had to keep working with these women and pretend like nothing happened. I was not permitted to talk about the issue to them or any other colleagues.
I felt like I was back in high school and the cool girl group had kicked me out of their club.
Over the next six months I made sure to prepare myself for every business meeting I attended with one or more of these women by asking God for His strength to accept the situation and to see them as perfect children of God.
Over time and through the Course’s teachings, I was able to get to the place where I no longer needed to forgive them. As the Course summarizes:
Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God’s Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go. What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God. W-pII.1.1.
By now, I had learned and believed at my core that all situations were in God’s divine right order and this one would be no exception.
The miracle would unfold six months later.
Susan, my once close friend and the ringleader of the group, was let go for stealing funds from her sales budget. Some would say that this was karma for her previous actions.
The same VP, who let Matt go and now Susan, brought me into his office to tell me he was retiring. He then shared something very personal with me; he said he couldn’t leave until he knew I was safe from Susan as he suspected that she was after my job.
I was too shocked then to respond with how I felt. Twenty years later it still brings tears to my eyes; in my VP I had manifested the best combination of a father and big brother who protected me and kept me safe.
That man died several years later and although I never was able to thank him for his kindness, I told his wife my story so she would know the legacy of his love and caring.
This seems like a dramatic way to let a friend go, but when you know there is a bigger plan there is no drama in it.
This lesson laid the foundation for me to accept people in my future who would also fall away. Holding on to past hurts prevents us from experiencing Love in the present moment.
Forgiveness sets us free, and is the only way to live a peaceful and joyous life.
Heather has been A Course in Miracles (ACIM) student and teacher for 25 years and facilitates several weekly online ACIM study groups. By applying the ACIM principles, she has seen her life transform in all aspects of her work and personal life. She loves sharing forgiveness stories and holding space for those who are seeking to let go the barriers of fear in order to experience the peace of God in all areas of their life and relationships.