IT'S wonderful when we can avoid doing something wrong in the first place. But once we've made a mistake, acted in a way that can't simply be reversed or apologized for, what then? The Bible certainly has examples of people who made mistakes, big ones. For example, the Apostle Paul, before his conversion to Christianity, stood by and did nothing when an innocent Christian was stoned to death. Afterward Saul, as he was then known, actively sought Christians and arrested them for their faith. And while it's a different situation, think of Peter who, when Christ Jesus was facing trial and execution, denied any association with the Master. The Bible gives some insight into the struggl es that people like these faced as the consequences of their decisions dawned fully upon them.
There is reason for hope, however, in these people's lives. Because of the magnitude of their errors, the redeeming power of God was needed all the more, and it was manifested in their lives. The authors of various psalms in the Bible also glimpsed the power of God to redeem and heal. Over and over the psalms reiterate concerning God that His ``mercy endureth for ever.''
God's mercy doesn't leave us mired in the slime of remorse, self-hatred, and hopelessness. God, who is man's true Mind, Soul, and Spirit, destroys evil. But in the process of evil's demise, man as His spiritual child is revealed as wholly worthy of His love.
When we feel forsaken and anchored to our own stupid and sometimes harmful past decisions, we need a way to the deeper understanding of ourselves as God's people. Christian Science shows that this understanding is within reach and that to come to know oneself as God knows man is to find a new selfhood, a spiritual life and being that is wholly worthy and God-created.
This spiritual self-knowledge is very important today. It does seem that failed marriages, abortion, sexual promiscuity, dishonesty in business, conflict in families, can all leave deep and hurtful marks on our memories. And these memories aren't erased simply by the passage of time or verbal apologies.
Nevertheless, the knowledge of God that first uncovers sin and then overcomes it is inherent in our very personhood. Maybe it seems to us that it would take a miracle to redeem our lives after some wrong we have committed. Perhaps so, but a spiritual view of our relationship to God shows that what may seem miraculous to us isn't miraculous to divine Love. Writing in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, speaks of the infinite ability of God, divine Love. ``The miracle of grace,'' she writes, ``is no miracle to Love. Jesus demonstrated the inability of corporeality, as well as the infinite ability of Spirit, thus helping erring human sense to flee from its own convictions and seek safety in divine Science.'' The ``divine Science'' of which she writes is nothing less than the law of God that corrects and redeems.
The promise of Paul's and Peter's experiences is that as they responded to God's leadings and committed their lives to His direction, they were able to become instruments of His grace and liberating love. For them, even the darkest days of their lives worked toward their spiritual awakening, not to their destruction.
People who have been caught up in things they've not fully understood the later consequences of can take heart in the fact that the redeeming power of divine Love is at work even now to free men and women from evil. The only truly irreversible fact is that divine Love can't be denied its healing purpose in human life.