Posted by Roberta Grimes • March 02, 2024 • 12 Comments
Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

God hath not promised skies always blue,
flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
God hath not promised sun without rain,
joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
toil and temptation, trouble and woe.
He hath not told us we shall not bear
many a burden, many a care.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
unfailing sympathy, undying love.
– Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932), from “What God Hath Promised” (1919)

The best way to better understand anything is to attempt to teach it to others. And as we are moving through our first course on using the teachings of Jesus to make this your last necessary earth-lifetime, which by the way I am very much enjoying, I am struck by how much better I can now see the way that Jesus’s teachings on forgiveness and His teachings on love fit together. Indeed, now I would say that until you first understand and can apply Jesus’s method of prevenient forgiveness, for you to love as Jesus wants us to love is probably impossible.

I invite emails from those who have questions or problems, so I hear from many people. And in answering thousands of emails over the years, I have been struck by some consistent strains. Nearly everyone I hear from is a lifelong Christian who has left daily church attendance and has a problem that in earlier years they might have taken to a clergyman; but since they have become un-churched, they think of me as the next best thing. What strikes me, though, is that these people generally have little to no spiritual resources. In all their lifelong church attendance, most of them have learned little of what Jesus taught beyond “love your neighbor.” They have learned almost nothing about how to reach out to God beyond The Lord’s Prayer, and they never have been given the spiritual depth to cope with earth-life’s many problems. Religions are supposed to be all about spirituality, and yet from what I can see there is little if any useful spirituality taught by any Christian denomination.

Your first thought will be that, well, this is a deeply un-spiritual age, so no wonder. But isn’t this something of a chicken-and-egg situation? If the world’s most prominent religion better taught its followers the importance of acquiring the basics of living a spiritual life, and how those basics can support us in times of trouble, then surely ours would be a far more spiritual period in human history! And sadly, modern Westerners who hear the word “spiritual” too often think we must be referring to Eastern religious practices. Or if we are talking about Christianity, they imagine that we are discussing mostly hymn-singing and after-services conviviality.

But our spiritual aspect is the most deeply human aspect of our lives. We eat and sleep and procreate, but so do all the beasts. The only thing that any of us has that the animals around us do not have is the core certainty that we are part of Something much greater than ourselves. And in accessing and dwelling in and feeding that certainty, we strengthen and empower its role in our lives. Our innate personal spiritual aspect then can be steadily nurtured, to the point where we rise spiritually beyond the need to incarnate on the earth ever again. And that, my dear friends, in secular terms is what spirituality is. There is nothing woo-woo about it. Best of all, growing spiritually makes you happy! Beyond anything else that the world has to offer, growing spiritually fills you with joy, and with a peaceful certainty that rights your whole life.

For each of us to do this spiritual work is our fundamental need as human beings. A Course in Miracles tells us that the Course itself is required; it is only the decision about when we are going to take it that is up to us. And ACIM is in fact just a much more elaborate version of the basic teachings of Jesus. Indeed, ACIM was channeled to us by Jesus. But whether we do it with ACIM or with a simpler version of the same thing such as the course that I am presently teaching, using the teachings of Jesus is the easiest way for us to achieve rapid and sustained spiritual growth. And we must do it. Until we do, we will keep returning to earth-lives – or “turning on the wheel,” as the Buddhists say – until eventually we decide to finally attend to our own essential spiritual needs.

And yet, growing spiritually is not difficult. In fact, growing spiritually as Jesus taught it is easy and enjoyable. Our primary problem is that the Christianity that the Romans designed at First Nicaea in 325 CE gives no thought at all to spiritual growth, and in fact its awful notion that Jesus was born to die for our sins only works to depress us spiritually. Christianity as the religion has been practiced turns the teachings of Jesus into just the nice thought that we should try to love and forgive. What a tragic waste! When instead, the real reason why Jesus was born was to bring to us the most effective means of rapid spiritual growth that ever has been taught by anyone.  

And the first, key step in the process is forgiveness. Not just everyday forgiveness, mind you, but an extreme type of forgiveness that is based in what scientists are only now learning are deep characteristics of the human brain. How Jesus two thousand years ago so clearly understood the inner workings of the human brain is something that I cannot fathom! But Jesus’s prevenient forgiveness trick absolves everyone and everything automatically; and in so doing, it deeply frees us, too. What I am coming to ever better see as I teach this class is not only how forgiveness and love are tied, with forgiveness necessarily coming before love; but also that our properly learning universal forgiveness in the aggressive way that Jesus taught it is essential if we are ever to get past the petty and selfish ego-based issues that too often keep us from learning to perfectly and wholeheartedly love our fellow man. Until we can forgive as Jesus taught us to forgive, instead of our being able to love as Jesus taught us to love, we always will have a kind of  “yellow light” step that requires that we first make sure that the person before us is in fact worthy of our love.

So to properly love, we must forgive everything! And this includes possible membership in a culturally disfavored class or race; a personal history that might include crime or other unsavory behaviors; and other things, right down to whatever negative interactions might have happened between us and the person we are trying to love. Jesus insists that we must forgive it all! When Jesus’s disciple Peter asked Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (MT 18:21-23). Or in other words, every single time.

Does our practicing universal prevenient forgiveness mean that we then will never feel anger? Not at all. But more spiritually developed people feel anger much less often. They will tend to feel it for great causes and for others being wronged, but usually not for wrongs against themselves. They also can quickly kill any angry impulse that might arise as they automatically forgive whatever might have provoked it. Even Jesus, who while He was on earth was  an extremely spiritually advanced being, did feel and act upon anger; but His was always appropriate anger, and very well controlled. Everyone knows that He had no use for clergymen, calling them hypocrites and false prophets. He treated them so differently from the way He treated everyone else that personally I think He may have literally despised them. But despite His sometimes fiery words against the clergy, Jesus’s anger was always under perfect control.

Jesus’s most notable bout of rage was what is called the cleansing of the Temple. “The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And within the Temple grounds He found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.  And He made a whip of cords, and drove them all out of the Temple area, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away from here; stop making My Father’s house a place of business!’” (JN 2:13-16) My own spirit guide Thomas was Jesus’s friend in that lifetime. His role for Jesus was to go out among the people and report back what they were saying. And wonderfully, Thomas now tells me that he actually was there for the Temple cleansing. He saw it happen! He says that Jesus was then entered Jerusalem for His final Passover and His crucifixion. His work on earth was nearly done, and this was primarily a burst of frustration that He had been able to do so little to end these disrespectful practices. But his anger was mostly at the fact that He had run out of time, Thomas thought. And Jesus made the whip just to drive out the cattle. He didn’t hit the people!

Jesus taught an exercise that makes our obeying His command to practice prevenient forgiveness much easier. This exercise cleverly relies on innate characteristics of our minds, but it is physical so a how-to for doing it never made it into the Gospels. When I was trying to learn to forgive more aggressively back in 2011, Thomas taught it to me. And it works so amazingly well! It’s a way to force your mind to reverse the process of becoming angry, and to teach it never to be bothered by anything again. So using His method, you really can reprogram your mind to forgive beforehand everything that ever might happen in all the rest of your life. Later on I asked Thomas where that amazing exercise had come from, and that was when he told me that Jesus had taught it. Wow. So that was the reason why Jesus could so easily insist that people forgive everything, every time, even if some specific wrong was committed by the same person over and over again.

Having learned that the Apostles must have been teaching the making of forgiveness balls, just as I teach the process today, makes that first three hundred years after Jesus ascended feel more real to me. Here is my favorite passage from the Book of Acts, which is the fifth book of the New Testament. In some Bibles it’s called The Acts of the Apostles. This scene showcases the Apostle Paul, a man who began his career as a persecutor of the followers of Jesus, but then was recruited by Jesus Himself soon after His resurrection to become a great crusader for Jesus’s Way. Paul is the author of most of the letters that make up the bulk of our Bible’s New Testament. Given the adverse conditions under which he had to operate, it is lovely here to see Paul in action before a Greek governing council! Through him, we get a further delightful glimpse of what Jesus actually taught. And Paul clearly loves doing this, advocating for Jesus and the all-encompassing identity of the one true God:

Paul stood in the midst of the Council of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you! The God who made the world and everything that is in the world, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His descendants.’ Therefore, since we are the descendants of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and thought. So having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now proclaiming to mankind that all people everywhere are to reform their minds, because He has sent a Man whom He has appointed to teach the world in righteousness, having furnished proof to all people by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:22-31).

This is what Christianity should have been! With a heavy stress on celebrating the one true God “in whom we live and move and have our being,” and on God’s mastery of all creation and His centrality in each one of our lives, Paul announces that God has sent Jesus to teach and lead the world in righteousness, having first proven Jesus’s dominion by raising Him from the dead. Paul was speaking here just a decade or two after Jesus’s ascension. This was three hundred years before the Romans destroyed Jesus’s love-based Way and attached His name to their own fear-based religion.

Still, these years depicted in the Book of Acts were a time of persecution for Jesus’s followers. The courage that it took for Paul and the other Apostles repeatedly to speak so boldly and so publicly as they advocated for Jesus and His Way, even in Rome itself, is astounding. Every one of Jesus’s leading first followers died a martyr’s death, with many of His Apostles being crucified or beheaded. Paul was beheaded in Rome by the Emperor Nero around the year 64 CE; and Peter was crucified in Rome in the same year, having insisted upon being nailed to the cross upside-down, since he considered himself to be unworthy to die in precisely the same way that Jesus had died. Those in the next generation were often burned alive, either in coliseums or to provide light along roadways. Following Jesus in those early years was an occupation not for sissies. Even now, incredibly, there are people in this world being martyred for their refusal to renounce Jesus. And all of Jesus’s martyrs even to this day have one precious thing in common. With their last breath, they forgive their tormentors. In whatever language they speak, they often use the same words that Jesus used as His executioners were pounding nails into His wrists and feet. He said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (LK 23:34).

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
– Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932), from “What God Hath Promised” (1919)

Roberta Grimes
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12 thoughts on “Forgiving

    1. Thank you for this my dear! There are a number of good books which make ACIM easier to understand, and I’m glad that this one helps you. Alternatively, you can do the Course with a Unity Church study group, which was the way that I did it. But frankly, ACIM is primarily about undoing the ego, and the “Miracle” it teaches is forgiveness. And once you understand the Gospel teachings of Jesus the way that He actually taught them, you can get to the undoing of the ego in maybe three months, rather than in the nearly two years that it took me with the study group.

  1. Is awake people and non-awake people duality in our 3D world, and when everyone has awaken, would we be in 4D or 5D?

    1. This sounds like a cheeky question, but actually it is a good one. We are told that it actually has happened at least once before that an entire species of human-class beings have ALL ascended. That was on the planet Arcturus, which now has no incarnated beings. And the Arcturians now serve God, which in their case means that they are among the guardians of this planet, where human vibrations have sunk so low at this point that without their protection, very evil entities which feed on negativity would be plaguing us.

  2. Brain and mind, or, body and soul. The body and its brain are mortal and function with powerful motivation to keep the body alive, to avoid pain, and seek whatever makes the body feel good. Mind is powered by the soul, is immaterial, and eternal; we may also term the individual’s soul the individual’s consciousness.

    We need also consider that that the higher order animals, such as whales, dolphins, horses, dogs, cats, and birds, also have souls; their mortal bodies may suffer terrible pain and suffering. Just as we naturally nurture human children, so to ought we nurture the well being of animals.

    Any strong emotion may block out others. In particular, anger and rage empower the body to disregard the soul’s morality. We simply cannot flow kindness, much less love, to any who are the object of our anger, rage, hate. Professional warrior and police do not act out of anger, as any strong emotion interferes with effective, rational decisionmaking.

    In the field of clinical therapy for the obsessive compulsive disorder, an effective therapy has been developed in which the individual feeling a disfunctional compulsion is trained to deliberately replace the impulse with a happy thought and action; eventually the counter habit is formed blocking the compusion, but in addition, the brain itself physically modifies to strengthen the blockage and weaken the compusive impulse ( see a text by Jeffrey Schwartz, MD, and Sharon Begley, The Mind and the Brain, and a follow on text by Begley).

    Ordinarilly, our body and brain run our mortal lives–if only to keep us alive, with our soul at times interceding for morality, and thereby creating inner conflicts (I’ve explained this situation in a paper titled, “Evidence of the Body Possessing a Form of Consciousness Beyond Its Soul,” published in 2021).

    Mortal life is a struggle, and that is by design to create opportunities for spiritual development. When we return to Heaven, we can enjoy the bliss.

    1. Oh my dear Jack, as always, so beautifully said! Thank you!!

      And yes, it is fundamentally true that this mechanism in the brain which makes us respond at once with anger and fear is self-protective, and until recently it was essential. For most of human history, if we didn’t feel fear/anger right away if we thought someone we met seemed fishy or if we spotted a lion, then it was probably curtains for us. But Jesus came to quite literally transform the world by elevating humankind spiritually; and in order to do that, He first had to disable our once-useful fear-and-anger reaction. The way that He taught us to do it is only partially preserved in the Gospels, and we read it now as just a nicey-nice suggestion that we love and forgive. But when you understand where He was attempting to take us, and you put His whole course back together, the result is amazing!

  3. I’m just confused about something. I believe the Bible completely. And I love people no matter what they believe because that’s what Jesus taught. And it says set your sights on things above, and trust me, I feel like I’m trying constantly to live in the spirit world. How did you meet Thomas but the rest of us can’t see or hear in that realm. And why do we need a spirit guide if the Holy Spirit is within us? I love you and pray for you. Just wondered if you’d take the time to explain.

    1. Oh my dear wonderful Amy, thank you so much for asking these questions! You may have felt that you were walking into the lion’s den, but in truth I wish that many others who feel torn about the fact that I am teaching about Jesus in this very different way would speak up as you have. I’m going to answer your questions in order and with the love in which you asked them – I only wish that I had the time to write longer answers, but all those longer answers are there on and in my books, Liberating Jesus and The Fun of Loving Jesus. Here goes:

      1) My dear one, I am an educated Biblical and Gospels scholar who has especially studied the early period, when the Bible was assembled primarily by the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and when the Romans under Constantine created Christianity, and I can tell you as a certainty that the Christian Bible is not the inspired, inerrant word of God. Parts of it are clearly divinely inspired, and the Gospels can be largely relied upon to have come from Jesus, but a lot of the Bible is outmoded, even barbaric, and internally contradictory.

      2) Good for you for making a sincere effort to love everyone! But there is so much more that Jesus taught than that, and if you love Him, as you clearly do, then I can only say that the more you study all that He taught, the better you will truly know Him!

      3) It is wonderful that you are trying to live spiritually, but my dear one, you simply cannot do it through the Christian religion. It does not follow what Jesus taught at all, and in fact the only things that it carried over from those glorious first three hundred years before the Romans wrecked it all were (a) “love and forgive” and (b) Jesus’s name, and the bogus idea that He had to die for our sins. The whole religion is a fear-based means of control, which was what the Romans set out to create. But my dear Amy, you still can follow Jesus’s Way in joy!

      4) When Jesus told us that God is Spirit, He was telling us the truth. God never takes a human form. And the term “Holy Spirit” just refers to the fact that God is Spirit. The notion of a Trinity was big in other religions at the time that Christianity was created, so the councilors basically said, “Hey! We’ve got a Trinity too!”

      5) Every one of us, including you and everyone you know, has one or more spirit guides. These are people who are past incarnating and more spiritually advanced than we are, and now they serve God by coaching each of us as we try to gain as much spiritual growth as possible in this lifetime. It was probably your spirit guide who made you curious about my work, and prompted you to ask me these questions. Most people work smoothly with their spirit guides without ever knowing them as separate people.

      6) My Thomas and I apparently agreed to work together this way before my birth, although of course I don’t remember that now. We all accept amnesia of our pre-birth planning. Thomas steered me for most of my life to become a Biblical and Gospels scholar, an afterlife expert, and a writer, even as I lived my life as an attorney, wife, and mother. Then when I was in my early sixties he prompted me to give the rest of my life to God, and in early 2015 he came out to me, told me who he was, and got me going on my present track.

      7) My ability to remember my trips to the astral plane, primarily those made in the summer of 2022, and actually to recall my meetings there with Jesus, are entirely because Jesus and Thomas wanted me to remember what they were telling me. I was working on planning and writing Jesus’s website at the time. But my dear Amy, EVERYONE has been to the astral plane while our bodies sleep! You just don’t remember it. Our bodies need to sleep, but our minds never sleep, so we go out of body just about every night to confer with our spirit guides, our deceased loved ones, and so on. We might even take some astral classes.

      – I hope this answers your questions, dear Amy! And if you have more, of course, please ask away 🙂

  4. Great blog post Roberta.

    It’s great to know that Jesus felt some anger while he was here. Helps to know we can still be making progress even if we experience some anger or frustration.

    I’ve been working on programming my own thinking.

    This may sound weird, but I am weird so it goes with the territory.

    I want to drive home that I don’t care if someone judges me or thinks badly of me. I don’t want to feel the same towards them which would be a natural response. I also understand that their reactions towards me isn’t who they truly are.

    Since we are wired in a particular way, I realized we can change the way we think through repetition. I have been listening to a song over and over again while I work. “I Don’t Care Anymore” by Phil Collins. Yeah, I am old. 🙂

    It has worked surprisingly well in changing the way I react or think. I may feel bouts of frustration from time to time. It seems to go away a lot faster. Especially if I crank up this song.

    1. Oh my dear Thomas, you are right in saying that our key to improving our lives and rising above our daily stresses is to reprogram our minds. So if you have found a way to do that for yourself, that’s wonderful! Jesus taught what may be the easiest way to do it, but He Himself said that there are many ways to get to the same destination.

  5. Here’s what I feel: LOVE is the only true feel
    ing,action. Love heals Love is powerful and sweet. The Trinity is 100% Love. When Jesus loves me and I can’t feel it, it’s time to dump more false understanding
    Love is the universal language. Love is all there is- absence of Love is suffering.
    The miracle of Love is a GIFT It is up to us to receive it, make room for it.
    I want only one Reality: LOVE
    No details , no deals no rules no wrongs
    they are not real.
    I dont want timetables
    I want to Thank God everyday I wake up
    And only 1item on my List :LOVE.

    1. Oh my dear Erica, nicely said! For many people, though, it really isn’t so easy to simply love, especially if life has damaged them emotionally. Here’s hoping that your testimony can be an inspiration to them.

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