HAVE you ever bitterly regretted something you did? It can be very difficult for someone who habitually tries hard to do the right thing to face up to the fact that a mistake has been made. A woman suddenly realized that some of the actions she had recently taken had been wrong. At the time they had seemed right; she had even been congratulated on them by others. But now bitter remorse came as she admitted her mistake. How could she have done this? That circumstances seemed to have pushed her into it was no excuse.
She prayed to God, divine Love, to open her eyes to the sin in her consciousness and to strengthen and comfort her so that she could overcome it. She resisted the temptation merely to try to forget the subject or to think of the good things she had done in the situation as a sop to her conscience. She wanted the mental processes that had caused the mistake tobe fully uncovered and corrected, not glossed over.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``However keenly the human affections yearn to forgive a mistake, and pass a friend over it smoothly, one's sympathy can neither atone for error, advance individual growth, nor change this immutable decree of Love: `Keep My commandments.' The guerdon of meritorious faith or trustworthiness rests on being willing to work alone with God and for Him, -- willing to suffer patiently for error until all error is destroyed and His rod and His staff comfort you.''1
There are many comforting passages in the Bible which tell us that God, our loving Father-Mother, forgives us of our sins, when they are given up. For example, ``Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.''2 And Christ Jesus said, ``God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.''3
The process of recognizing and giving up sin can be a painful one. But whenwe are totally dedicated to overcomingsin, we come to see that we are not meant to keep writhing in the mire of selfrecrimination. Our true nature isn't asinful mortal, either condemned or self-condemning. God created man spiritually pure and upright, and that's our actual status, which is brought to light through purification of thought. The fact that man is spiritually perfect now is what makes such purification possible and inevitable.
The woman realized that her continued self-condemnation was preventing her from glorifying God and from discerning her genuine, sinless selfhood. It was preventing her from vigorously knowing that He is loving and caring for all His creation and that His good is the only power. Determined to gain from the experience, the woman made more efforts to purify her thought. She saw the need to be more alert to God's will, to pray with total spiritual commitment, before rushing into decisions. Actions she took as a resultof this eye-opening experience benefited others considerably. Also she became less self-righteous, and more understanding toward others who had made mistakes.
If we've done something wrong, we need to admit it. But we also have to give up the tendency to sin, feel God's healing mercy and forgiveness pouring into our thought, and then leave the episode behind. Listening through prayer for God's guidance, and obediently and joyfully following it, diminish the number of mistakes we make. And since, as the Bible says, God made us in His own image, this is a natural process, for it is our true nature as His offspring to be sinless.
In our daily efforts to realize and demonstrate more of our likeness to Him, we might glorify our creator as did the New Testament writer who affirmed, ``Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.''4
1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 118. 2Isaiah 55:7. 3John 3:17. 4Jude 1:24, 25.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. Hosea 12:6