DO the effects of mistakes have to go far into the future? Not necessarily. Even though we may have made serious mistakes, much can be redeemed and corrected if we're humble and willing enough to allow some spiritual light to shine on our thoughts. Christian Science provided this light for two people I know. They had both made mistakes that threatened to limit their prospects for the future. One is a girl who was caught shoplifting. The other is a fellow who got into disciplinary problems at school and was threatened with suspension and the loss of the chance to enter a particular education program. In both cases the individuals were sorry for what they had done. Both could see the wrongness of their action and the suffering they had inflicted on themselves and others because of it. But they felt trapped in their mistakes.
Remorse for doing the wrong thing can be good, especially if it has brought us to the point of realizing what the right thing is, of realizing why we need to do the right thing. But we have to go forward beyond remorse and bitterness.
There is no terrible situation we can be in where God's love cannot reach us and help us. That's because His love is omnipresent and we're inseparable from it. We are the children of God, created to express His nature. So no matter how bad things may seem, we need to remember that we are God's and can never truly be separated from Him. If our desire is to do right, we can face up to whatever we need to learn and receive a blessing from our experience. A blessing. Not a bleak, limited future.
Mary Baker Eddy,1 a woman who helped many people out of dark experiences, writes: ``Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.'' 2
Actively seeking God's guidance, we wouldn't resist the effort needed to turn to the Scriptures for that spiritual light we want to feel shining on us.
The girl mentioned earlier felt embarrassed and ashamed when she was caught shoplifting. She didn't want to face the consequences, but she knew she had to. She was encouraged to go to a Christian Science Reading Room to spend some quiet time thinking and reading. While she was there, she found this Bible verse, which was a big help to her: ``There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.'' 3
In the days that followed, she realized that the more she identified herself as God's flawless child and walked ``after the Spirit,'' the freer she felt from the mistakes and the fear that so seemed to trap and condemn her.
A basic premise of Christian Science is that we are created as the sons and daughters of God, and not as helpless strugglers. To realize that in truth you are the perfect child of God, to think and live this truth, isn't always easy, but it is possible; and the possibilities for being good and doing good expand as we really turn our hearts to this guidance.
The girl who was caught shoplifting was given another chance, and her record was kept clean. She remained free of trouble and is doing well.
The young man whose behavior at school had caused him so many problems had a good experience, too. He began to apply to his own life ideas he learned while attending a local Christian Science Sunday School. His conviction of God's guidance, and his willingness to work at seeing himself and others as the children of God, had wonderful effects. He devoted himself to establishing a reputation for honesty, reliability, and good manners. His grades came up appreciably, too. This change was so noticeable that he gained one of the few openings into a special college preparatory program. The same teacher who had been on the verge of recommending suspension recommended him for this.
No matter how bad a mistake seems, we can still take steps forward into a better life and put the mistake behind us. Christian Science can help. It will show you the real you that you already are-- the child of God--and show you how to live as the offspring of God that you really are. You can do it!
1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 149-150. 3 Romans 8:1, 2