Recently I signed up with a new trash removal service which requires each rural customer to mark their address on their garbage cans. I bought a can of white spray paint, etched my street number on the plastic can, and drove it to the end of my road where I left the garbage. When I got home I was irked to notice that some of the white paint had rubbed off on the back of my seat; apparently it had not fully dried. I tried to remove the paint, but could not it was stuck fast.
Over the next weeks and months, every time I noticed the paint marks on the back of the seat, I felt foolish; the voice of judgment chided me, "If you had paid closer attention and left more time for the paint to dry, this wouldn't have happened. Now you have ruined your car seat, and every time you look at it, you are to be reminded of your carelessness." (Do you know this voice?)
Then one day I was in a hardware store with a friend who was looking for some paint. On a shelf I noticed a small can called "Goof Off," a remover of paint and other hard-to-get-out stains. I grabbed a can, took it home, and applied it to the defiant stain. To my delight, it worked.
Goof Off! A Symbol of Forgiveness
I now see this product especially its name as symbolic of forgiveness. The name acknowledges that you made a mistake ("goof") but it also acknowledges that it can be undone ("off").
If you have been subject to the tyranny of guilt, this offers an especially important lesson. A Course in Miracles distinguishes between a sin and an error: a sin requires punishment, but an error simply requires correction. The Course goes on to tell us that we have made many errors, but we have never sinned. All of our sins ("Self-Inflicted Nonsense") are undone the moment we step into the healing light of love.
What Sin Did I Commit?
The story is told about a woman named Josephine who claimed to have daily conversations with Jesus. A cynical priest heard about this woman and sought to debunk her. He went to Josephine and asked her, "Is it true that you talk to Jesus every day?"
"Yes, I do," she answered affirmatively.
"Then the next time you talk to Jesus, would you ask him what was the sin I committed when I was in the seminary?"
The priest left smugly, certain that he had cornered the charlatan into exposure.
A week later the priest returned and asked Josephine, "Did you ask Jesus what was my sin?"
"Yes, I did," she answered.
"And what did he say?" asked the priest.
"He said, I forgot."
Love Has No Consciousness of Sin
There is no sin so heinous that it cannot be undone by regarding it through the eyes of compassion. Love has no consciousness of our sins; God sees us only as pure and innocent souls. It is we who have fabricated the concept of sin and crushed our life force under it. A Course in Miracles tells us that "God does not forgive because He never has condemned." In the inspiring movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon, the Pope tells St. Francis, "In our obsession with Original Sin, we have overlooked Original Innocence."
All self-judgment can be undone by recognizing that we deserve only love. I met a man who, during his senior year in college, was walking past the college bookstore where he saw a large display of yearbooks just outside the store. As this fellow had no money, he grabbed a book and kept walking. Over the next few days he began to feel guilty about his theft, and he decided to return the book and confess. He went to the bookstore manager and guiltily admitted, "I stole this book."
The manager smiled and told him, "Come with me." The manager led the student to the display where there was a sign that the young man had not seen: "Free please take one."
Always In Love's Embrace
I am not suggesting that you go out and steal anything or hurt anyone. This true story serves as a metaphor: for every sin you can find about your life, God can find a way to forgive it.
For every way you have separated yourself from love, higher consciousness reminds you that you have never for a moment been outside of love's embrace. And for every paint stain that you berate yourself for leaving, there is a can of "Goof Off!" to remove it.
"Take a deep breath of life, and consider how it should be lived". This quote from Man of La Mancha sets the tone for this book, which offers daily inspiration for heart-centered living. Alan Cohen has touched the hearts and lives of thousands of people seeking more authenticity and creative self-expression in their lives.
About The Author
Alan Cohen is the author of many inspirational books, including the newly-released Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment. Join Alan for in-depth Life Coach Training beginning September 1, 2013, to become a professional life coach or apply coaching skills to your career or life. For more information about this program and Alan's other books and free daily inspirational quotes via email, visit www.alancohen.com, email email@example.com, or phone 1-808-572-0001.