Innocence: found, not lost
WE don't usually think of innocence as something that can be found. We usually think of it as inevitably lost by just living in what has been called this ``sadly corrupt world.'' We credit the youngest children as being brief possessors of innocence, only to sell it for the price of growing up. Then as adults we long to have the innocence of childhood back. So the story goes. And how easily and often we tend to view ourselves as following this path that grows less innocent and more worldly by the day. But if this view of man is true, how did Christ Jesusheal sinners, and with divine authoritydeclare them free to ``go, and sin no more''?1 Shouldn't the Master's healings of sin make us question the assumption that man is hopelessly corrupt? If sin is an inevitable condition that is somehow permitted by Deity, then Jesus could never have healed it. But he did, and so banished its claims on those healed.
We all need to face and heal moral weakness -- be it bad temper, dishonesty, selfishness, greed, addiction, sensuousness. We need to heal the elements of carnal thinking that mankind tends to believe are a natural part of adulthood. We can begin to heal any one of these (no matter how chronic the condition) if we are willing to follow Christ Jesus' example. Didn't the Master heal sinners through a clear understanding of their actual, spiritual individuality as forever pure, expressing the nature of the creator, God? Jesus' profound love for God and for the man of His creating freed others to express their pure identity. His tremendous example was given as a promise and possibility for each of us.
The healing of sin is inevitable -- even if at times it is an immense struggle, as the Apostle Paul so knowingly described when he wrote: ``The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.... O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.''2 The healing of sin is inevitable because sin has no legitimate, God-created reality. It is no part of His creation. God is wholly good and could not create a quality or condition unlike Himself. So the man of God's making, which is our only true selfhood, never sinned.
But this needs to be understood and proved through a humble and continuous willingness to turn away from sin and from what worldly thinking has taught us to believe is our identity, and to learn from God alone how He has made us to be. And the very power and authorityof God enable us to do this. We can prove in greater and greater degree thatwe're masters of moral weakness andcorruption.
Progressively to overcome sin is to find genuine freedom and happiness. It's to enrich our lives, not to make them dull. It's to place our health and well-being on a more secure foundation.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Sooner or later the whole human race will learn that, in proportion as the spotless selfhood of God is understood, human nature will be renovated, and man will receive a higher selfhood, derived from God, and the redemption of mortals from sin, sickness, and death be established on everlasting foundations.''3
Every healing of sin further helps us to see that, even as the sin was not a part of our true identity, so our innocence was never the product of material conditions and was never truly lost because of them. Innocence must be found by discerning our spiritual individuality -- that which cannot be corrupted. The fact of man's spiritual innocence does not allow us to overlook or condone unhealed sin but helps us to heal it. We never have to resign ourselves to educated worldliness. We are free to turn wholeheartedly to God to find out how He is causing us to be -- to find our innocence.
1John 8:11. 2Romans 7:19, 24, 25. 3Unity of Good, p. 6.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person. He shall deliver the island of the innocent. Job 22:29,30