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Don't condemn yourself

HAVE you ever done something so stupid that you felt you were justifiably stuck with the consequences and could hardly dare hope for healing? Many of us probably have. But no matter how foolish we may have been, or how severe the predicament we may have landed in, we won't be helped by brooding over our mistakes and continually condemning ourselves. That only obstructs healing. Instead we need honestly to face up to mistakes, then turn from them -- see that they're totally separate from our real, God-created being -- and do right. When we're selflessly humble in acknowledging mistakes and turning away from evil of whatever kind, the lessons learned can become indispensable steps in our spiritual growth. And healing comes.

I had an experience many years ago that clearly proved this for me and has remained a valuable reference point ever since. I had joined some college friends in buying an old car. Although it had almost no brakes, we drove it anyway, and I was the official driver. (I was very proud of how well I could compensate for the poor brakes by shifting down as we stopped.) Then one night another girl drove. She missed a turn, couldn't stop, and plunged us into a drainage ditch. While my friends sustained only minor injuries, I suffered a broken nose and painfully bruised ribs. ``Serves you right,'' I muttered to myself when the police took usto the emergency hospital. ``You knew it was wrong to be on the road in that car. And now look!''

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But even with all the confusion and pain I thought of something I had once read that had to do with changing from a wrong course and doing right. So when I got home (my mother had arranged my release from the hospital), I looked it up in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.1 The sentence reads, ``If you believe in and practise wrong knowingly, you can at once change your course and do right.''2 Clearly, the first right thing I needed to do was to start thinking and acting in a way that expressed my true selfhood, created in God's image, as the Bible tells us. The man of God's creating is spiritual, not material; not bound up in a material body governed by a brain, by a mortal mind that in my case had been willful and thoughtless, disobedient both to God's law and the law of the land.

Then I read further on that page, applying the spiritual concepts to my own situation: ``Matter can make no opposition to right endeavors against sin or sickness, for matter is inert, mindless. Also, if you believe yourself diseased, you can alter this wrong belief and action without hindrance from the body.''

How encouraging it was to glimpse this truth that the body could not hinder healing! So despite the fact that when I first came home there was such severe pain that I could barely straighten up, I kept on praying and clinging to the perfect, spiritual concept of my being. When I was tempted to look back and condemn myself for being involved with the old car, I was comforted by St. Paul's assurance to the Romans: ``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

Little by little, I became convinced that I could be free. Free from the sin of willfulness and from the pain that was interfering with my activity and grace. When we're able to accept the spiritual reality of man as God's perfect idea, His perfect image, we gain more and more authority in claiming our freedom from discord. And when we exercise this spiritual authority through prayer, with the absolute faith that a firm understanding of God's love for us brings, we do find healing, as I did.

So face up to wrongdoing but don't brood, no matter what you've done. Redemption and healing are possible when we refuse to legitimize evil by continually condemning ourselves for it, and thereby opposing our own desire to make the needed change and to go forward. We should see it as never any part of our real being, powerless in the face of God's love for His children. Then we can turn away from wrongdoing, whatever it may be, ``and do right'' -- and be healed.

1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 253. 3Romans 8:1, 2.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: ...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14

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