Is It Cruel To Forgive When I See Others Suffer?

By Linda Leland

This week I’m going to answer a very important question sent in by Sylvia.

Is it cruel to forgive when I see others suffering

When you’re asking this question, know that you’ve come to a turning point. When I asked myself this same question, it was the day everything changed for me.

It’s about being able to forgive when you see someone else is suffering.

Here goes…


My question is about forgiveness and ACIM Lesson 29: God is in everything I see.

I’m sure that forgiving people and things that push our buttons totally transforms our lives for the better but I have a lot of difficulty dealing with things that happen to others around us. How should we act when harsh reality hits our face? For example, seeing your mother trapped in a wheelchair due to stroke, unable to move or speak properly. I feel like a bastard forgiving something that’s not happening to me. Also, seeing the violence that appears on TV. Is God in everything I see?


First of all, ACIM workbook lesson #29 clearly states that this is just the beginning. There are 365 lessons. Lesson #29 is a springboard for Real vision (aka: ability to see God in everything). Starting from here, the world will open up for you. You’ll begin to see what you’ve never seen before. Through practicing each workbook lesson that follows, you WILL gain Real vision. Jesus is not talking about vision with the body’s eyes, He’s teaching us Christ Vision: Oneness with God is the only reality.

A Course in Miracles doesn’t define forgiveness as a means to pardon someone’s wrongdoings. It uses Jesus’ definition of forgiveness. True forgiveness recognizes that what you thought your brother did has never occurred. Not in the Real world, that is. Only in your dream world. Nothing you see happening here with your eyes effects the Truth of us. Nothing here can shatter our Oneness with God. Our only purpose is to get back to that Truth and forgiveness is the only thing that stands for Truth in this world.

Is It Cruel To Forgive When I See Others Suffer?

If you’d like a “coach” to walk with you through the workbook lessons of ACIM, 365 morning messages to help you understand each workbook lesson and keep you going, I suggest ACIM 365 with Lisa Natoli. She has a way of taking each already beautiful lesson and placing it gently and forever in your heart.

So, let’s become masters at true forgiveness.

Mastery starts by understanding that our outer world is a reflection of our inner world.

Translation: How you see yourself is how you see others.

There are only 2 options here.

  1. If you see yourself as a spiritual being, one with God and one with everything, whole and perfect, having a human experience, then that’s how you’ll see everyone else.
  2. If you think this dream is real and you see yourself as an individual body, separate from God, vulnerable and temporary, then that’s how you’ll see everyone else.

Let me ask you, which one of these options describes you?

Only one of these options can be real. Each one discounts the other one entirely. So you need to consciously choose.

This is the most consequential decision you’ll ever make. Your whole world is shaped by this decision. THIS BECOMES YOUR REALITY.

Which reality do you want to hit you in the face?

You see, this is about healing your mind. Will you choose to let the Holy Spirit show you Real vision (option 1) or do you want to hang out in the dream of separation (option 2)? You can’t see the Holy Spirit with your eyes but it is VERY REAL and once you join Him, you will be guided the rest of the way. You can relax. You can Trust. You can heal. GUARANTEED.

So, how does forgiveness fit into all of this?

Forgiveness is a tool we use for looking beyond the dream of separation that we see and think is real.

It’s a tool! You DO it. You can’t keep the tool in the drawer. You’ve got to bust it out and use it!

Forgiveness is a choice to look past what the eyes see and remember our wholeness instead. It simply overlooks what’s not there and opens the way to truth that’s been blocked with our thoughts of fear and separation.

So, Sylvia, when your eyes look upon the dream and see someone suffering, and you remember how whole and perfect and Loved they are, it does not make you a bastard! It makes you a healer.

This by no means says we don’t help out on a physical level. YES! We’re all here to help each other and be in service in any way we’re called to but it’s how you hold them in your mind that makes ALL the difference!

When you see your Mom in a wheelchair or victims of violence on the news you must start by asking yourself what the truth of your brother is. Is it option 1 or 2?

Are you looking at a powerful and creative Child of God or a weak and temporary body identity?

Which would be Truly helpful?

Whole and perfect or damaged goods? Can’t be both.

How do you want to see yourself?

Would you see Jesus this way?


Guess what? Your Mom, you, people on the news, me, Jesus, SAME THING!

SAME EXACT THING! Let’s let that reality hit us in the face!

It’s just that Jesus doesn’t hang out in the illusion anymore and that’s where you’re headed!

Forgiveness is just a means to remember this. It’s your power-tool. You’re not saying the small self is real anymore. Forgiveness is ONLY relevant to illusions.


Jesus gives us this short but beautiful prayer of forgiveness: You don’t even need to verbalize it. Holding it in your mind is all that matters.

“My Brother, what I see with the body’s eyes is not the truth.”

This releases you both. It is the greatest gift you could ever give. By using forgiveness where you see suffering, now you are the bringer of the light. You are the great restorer of Truth. You are certainly no bastard.

Actually, these situations are only there for you to learn forgiveness. They are healing opportunities wrapped in difficulties.

“Forgiveness does not support illusions but collects them lightly with a little laugh and gently lays them at the feet of truth. And there they disappear entirely”.

“When you see the truth instead of illusions, you light the way for the both of you. Your step becomes light and you leave a star behind to light your brother’s way.”W134

You’re leaving a star behind to light your brother’s (Mother’s) way. Now, you’re helping! It’s the most loving thing you could possibly offer.

Jesus goes on to say that,

“Forgiveness is a deep relief to those who offer it and a quiet blessing where it is received.”


Forgiveness would only be cruel and irresponsible if the illusion were real. And, Baby, it’s not.

Jesus also says that if we join our brother in the illusion, we’ve chosen “Ponderous amour that keeps you stuck in fear and misery.”

Uhhhm…..NO THANKS.

Nothing is as it appears here. God is all there is. Be willing to be shown that this is True. Start leaving stars behind wherever you go.

Question: Will you take this journey with me? Please let me know by leaving me a comment and telling me you’ve chosen Real Vision. Together our strength is multiplied. When the tide raises an inch, all boats are lifted up. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

It starts by offering forgiveness to everyone. Don’t hold the tool in the drawer and decide who gets it and who doesn’t. Offer it to everyone and everything, especially where you see suffering. You’re taking both of you back Home to God’s Love.

Please keep going. Keep up with your workbook lessons. They work miracles. (Hmmmm….sounds like a good title for a book ☺). Do one lesson a day for 365 days. You’ll look back on the year and see everything differently. The peace and joy that surely awaits you will extend to all those around you. This is how you become a light in this world.

If you’d like a “coach” to walk with you through the workbook lessons of ACIM, 365 morning messages to help you understand each workbook lesson and keep you going, I suggest ACIM 365 with Lisa Natoli. She has a way of taking each already beautiful lesson and placing it gently and forever in your heart.

I love you,


Linda Leland

Director of Operations and Teacher, Teachers of God Foundation

Do you have a question you’d like us to answer? Click here to submit your question and have us answer it in an upcoming video or blog post. We look forward to hearing from you!

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53 thoughts on “Is It Cruel To Forgive When I See Others Suffer?

  1. Hi Linda, thank you so much for your answer .
    It was very clarifying. I loved it!
    I´ll keep in mind the beautiful prayer from Jesus: “My Brother, what I see with the body’s eyes is not the truth.”
    God bless you.

    • Sylvia, I meant what I said. You asked such a great question and it only means you are at a great turning point in your life. It was so helpful to me and, I’m sure, it will be to many others. God Bless You too my friend.

  2. Hi Linda, thank you for your video, and thank you, Sylvia, for the question! Had a chance whilst seeing a sister in pain yesterday to practice forgiveness – I was able to not get drawn into the story or drama but focused on seeing her as whole and perfect. I am on lesson 325 today, with Lisa’s commentary, and can only say that doing the Workbook lessons has, for me, been a mind-changing experience!! Love and blessings to you and your Mom, Sylvia, and to Linda.

    • Sue, reading these ideas is one thing, but when we get to put them to use, like you just did with your sister, this is mastery. This is where we transform both. I’m so glad you’re loving the workbook lessons. I’m doing them again too, with my prayer partner. We are on #138. Heaven is a decision I must make. It’s all about decision. I love it and I love you. <3

  3. Your beautiful message really helped to clarify things as I had a similar question. You are so correct that forgiveness doesn’t mean we don’t help out at the physical level, however we if join with their suffering in the illusion we are belittling them and ourselves by shielding us from our true all-powerful, all-loving and perfect nature.
    Thank you Linda for sharing your deep wisdom

    • Nicky that’s exactly it!! You said it so concisely! We are belittling them and ourselves. Thank you. You should be a writer. <3

  4. Thank you so much Linda for this powerful sharing. It has helped me understand forgiveness at a whole new level. I CHOOSE OPTION ONE!!!!!

    • Ha! ME TOO MARIAH! Option 1 all the way. Thank you for being here, for doing this work with us and for your awesome feedback.

  5. Love this linda!!!! You explained it perfectly and I am going to post the forgiveness quote from this on my wall. Love it!….Leaving the star behind to guide your brothers way…so good!!!

    • I loved that so much too Jen. Jesus has such a way with showing us the affects of our loving responses. Thank you for your feedback!

  6. Hi Linda, I loved this post. I want to add something from my experience to the post. 3 years ago i had brain surgery. Afterward, my mouth was askew and it looked like i had a stroke. I was gifted for a time after the surgery, I had not enough brain power to do monkey mind. I had no concerns re my looks, as i knew it was not me. When people would look at me with what they thought was “compassion for my suffering”, i wished i could convey that they were seeing from their own imagination. If i had joined their perception, I would have gone down a dark road. So your input of seeing the person and therefore ourselves as whole is so crucial for both people. Thank you again for all that you generously give to all of us. <3.

    • WOW Rosalyn!! I wish I had known this before the article! Such a clear and powerful example of this from someone on the other side!! I hope everyone reads this comment from you. Would you mind if I posted it under the article?

  7. You are the Star that is shining the way out of the illusion . Thank you for answering the call…Thank you for sharing the clarinet call. I love you

  8. Thank you, Linda, for staying on “Course” with such clarity and wisdom. Instead of simply spouting platitudes, you gently lead us down the path of compassionate understanding. Love! Sheila

  9. Love your messages Linda and always look forward to what you have to say and the way you say it! Let Real Vision reign today

  10. I am willing….wonderful message! Is there a cost for this 365 day support?
    Am having some real challenges. I moved to Asheville, NC last Sept. To a very
    nice Senior Community. Moved from FL. Non adjusting very well to the cold
    weather. Reacting to different living in 4 story bldg. 120 apt. with addn. -200.
    Mostly older people. Tax credit & gov. subsidy based on income. Not interested in spiritual things…wellness, etc. Into Bingo, board games, crafts….Have exercise room ea. floor, have never seen anyone there. Some really mean, suffering people. Am surviver…75 now. Lots of grief..loss!

    • Hi Wanda! I’m so glad you’re here and that this message was helpful. Yes, there is a cost for the ACIM 365 Program but you certainly don’t need it to start doing the workbook lessons of A Course In Miracles on your own. You just need the book which you can easily get on Amazon or most any book store! I can just see you bringing the light and love into your Senior Community! There is great love here for you. We have free weekly blog posts and tons of great reading and listening on our web-site at Have you taken the Free 40 Day Program? You’ll just love it. Thanks so much for your feedback. Sending you a giant bear hug. xoxo

    • Hi, Wanda,
      I did the 40 day program and it was very healing!
      I am now enrolled in ACIM. It is incredibly helpful to be guided by Lisa.
      Blessings to you,

  11. Thank you. I know in my heart this is true as we have given away to others the power (Energy/Holy Spirit etc) within ourselves to heal our physical bodies.

    • Jessie I love when we know “in our hearts” when something is true. I love when I get “truthbumps”. Thanks so much for your feedback.

  12. Beautiful Linda.
    I could hear the truth when you spoke. That’s true healing for this one. Thank you for showing up and shining your bright light.
    What a gift we are to the Sonship when we desire to Know Thy Self.
    Jewels 💎

    • Jules (or Jewels is more befitting <3) Thank you for your loving feedback. I am so grateful to have you here too.

  13. Beautiful message and so very much needed in our world. I resonates with me powerfully yet a q uestion comes up: It seems to me, that I have forgiven, than when my buttons are triggered, especially if by the same event/person I’m back into unforgiveness. At that point, all the emotions are back: the anger, the guilt for the anger, the blaming self for being in that spot, again!
    How to forgive an individual and once and for all not be triggered? In some situations the solution is to forgive and not allow that person back into our lives. It is a solution that’s painful and sad and necessary in some situations. I would love some suggestions on how to move past these triggers quicker, cuz it is still a challenge. (although I’m on lesson 334 now, with the full intent to read through the entire book at least once. Yes, I’ve moved progress but this forgiveness issue is still so challenging for me) Thank you!

    • Hi Eliz, thanks for writing in. As I said in the article, first step that must be realized is that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. This is about your own healing. Whatever it is that you find unforgivable about this person is what you find unforgivable about yourself. Also, is there a part of you that wants to hold on to this grievance and doesn’t really want to let it go? You don’t have to do this alone. You have a guide sitting ride within you. Take these questions within and you will get the answers you’re looking for. Love your honesty and your question. You’re amazing!!

  14. Thank you Linda for today’s reminder. My daughter is lost to me in her choice of addiction to heroin. I mostly try to see her as healed and whole. Lesson 67 today is perfect too, as she is and I messaged her who she REALLY is. That’s how I connect to the love in her. It was beautiful to hear your words spoken with such love today Thank you so much 💕. Sandra Mills in Lincolnshire xxx

    • Yes Sandra. I too have been through this type of situation with my daughter. Decide who she is…option 1 or option 2. Someone once said to me, “Speak to the King and the King will show up.” Which is exactly what I did. She has been sober 5+ years now. Don’t loose sight of the Truth. This is the best way you could help her. Thanks for your feedback, my friend.

  15. Perfectly said, Linda. Forgiveness is all we are asked to do (our ONLY function given us by God!) I know Sylvia asked because she was ready to know! Blessings, dear One.

  16. For much of my life I have efforted. In the physical world I had accomplished much for my family who were challenged with significant medical and mental health issues. Many felt I had succeeded in my efforts and would offer praise. But I knew something was not right. I had doubts… ALWAYS second guessing (even as a very young child). What I am coming to understand is that all my efforts were driven by fear. Could it be true that if I had conspired from a place of love that this would have improved the outcome? Bringing joy and peace in the process? Perhaps even facilitating healing for me and the loved ones I so desperately tried to help? I have much resistance to the religious references in The Course of Miracles but I am ‘watching myself like a hawk’ and just letting it be. Linda’s message is coming through with such clarity… it’s undeniable. When I notice my fear and let it go I see things that I did not see before. Thank you, Linda, for your bravery, commitment, and unwavering dedication to help others see the truth and to recognize our capacity to heal ourselves and others. As Linda so perfectly pointed out ‘forgiveness’ is a very important tool we can use to cultivate the power of love in all of us. This will be my greatest experiment.

    • Beautiful Susan!!!!!! What you describe is the human condition that we all face which is FEAR! Don’t second guess yourself and all the love you gave and safety you so generously provided to your family! We are all learning to Love more deeply and fearlessly. That is why we’re here! Your journey will not look like anyone else’s. Your journey is the perfect journey for you. You are, seriously, one of the most loving, kind, compassionate, brilliant and giving women i’ve ever known. YOU ARE PERFECT RIGHT NOW AND YOU ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. Whether you can recognize that or not doesn’t change the truth of it. Keep being you, keep opening, keep loving, keep asking and keep giving Trust a chance. I love you. Linda

  17. Hi Linda, I love seeing this lesson and video , it’s very simple really , I can see clearly now , this course is amazing , Thankyou 😁 Love and light 💖

  18. I love what you say in this teaching, as well as many of the other teachings I have read and heard from the Teachers of God. However, I have strong opinions about what is going on in the world today and the direction our country has been going. From the comments I read in the 40-day program, I would say no one is neutral when it comes to the changes taking place. It’s just that my opinions might differ. I’m wondering what the Teachers of God believe about the Bible and what it teaches. Is it possible to reconcile the two?

  19. Thank you, Linda
    It seems that my tool here might be the beautiful prayer, ” You are Christ, whole and innocent. You are forgiven and released.”
    Is that the way I approach this? My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years ago and in a wheelchair.
    I look forward to your response and any other actual prayer you can offer me.

    • Beautiful prayer! YES Sharon. I like “Holy Spirit, help me to see this differently. Show my how to see this situation/person through your eyes. Thank you so much!!!” I always end with a huge thank you, knowing that I asked and it IS ALWAYS GIVEN.

  20. Thank you for this loving and practical guidance. I also love your comment Speak to the King and the King shows Up – wow !
    so therefore,
    speak to love & love shows up
    speak to perfection & perfection shows up …

  21. Thank you Linda for this beautiful explanation. I have complicated forgiveness in the past and now I understand it’s simplicity. This is something I can do. I choose to use Christ Vision to see everyone as whole and perfect. This is very timely as I am doing Lisa’s 75 day Christ Vision Commitment. I love you!

    • Wonderful Chris! I couldn’t agree with you more! Why do we complicate this simply beautiful and healing and loving and joyful choice? It’s either 1 or 2! That’s pretty much it! Thanks for your feedback. So perfect.

  22. Thank you for this wonderful question and response. It was soooo helpful!
    My comment is also about “God is in everything I see” I tended to over analyze it and could not “get it” but what I came up with is that God is in everything I see, when I see truly, because God is all there is to see. God is! Amen for that!
    Thank you Sylvia! Thank you Linda! Love this community!