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Love corrects

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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Recently, Bill Thomas, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, offered an apology for what he and others considered inappropriate behavior on his part.

In this public apology he noted that his intensity sometimes served a good purpose, but implied that a more moderate action would have been better in that particular situation. With a tearful voice he explained, "As my mother would have put it, 'When they were passing out moderation, you were hiding behind the door.' "

To me, one of the thrilling facts of life is that bad behavior, honestly examined, can be corrected. Though this may not always be easy, I'm convinced that errors in judgment and action are correctable. The congressman's action has reminded me of an earlier propensity on my part to react with inappropriate intensity.

This was learned behavior, as my father explained to me. When I was a baby, he would often jerk the bottle out of my mouth to watch me react quickly and intensely. Later, he was most contrite and ashamed because he felt he was responsible for having created in me a volatile disposition that had earned for me the nickname of Dynamite!

Sometimes an intense response is necessary and more beneficial than a moderate one. It is not productive, however, for a particular kind of behavior or personality trait always to dominate our responses. The individuality of God's creating, our true identity, isn't entrapped in an inherited or environmentally conditioned disposition. Turning to God and seeking our actual selfhood brings freedom from unwanted propensities.

"Divine Love corrects and governs man," observed Mary Baker Eddy in her spiritual, practical, and behavior-changing textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," on page 6.

Most of us don't have the opportunity or necessity to declare publicly our shortcomings. But when others confess their faults or we see flaws in another, we can share in the opportunity to annul those flaws. We can do this by separating the fault from our concept of the individual.


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