WE'VE probably all done things that we wish we hadn't done. Sometimes a feeling of being mistake-prone lingers. While we do need to correct mistakes, we shouldn't let feelings of self-condemnation blind us to the love God has for each one of us. Failure and self-condemnation come about because we are seeing ourselves in material terms: as getting old, as being stupid, exhausted, unhealthy, sad, or frustrated. This material view of ourselves tends to shape our expectations and our decisions. Such an attitude can lead to more mistakes because it keeps us from seeing our spiritual identity and the opportunities for good that come to us daily from God.
These opportunities from God are open to each one of us, and they have practical effects on our lives. If we seem mistake-prone, they can help us overcome this tendency by showing us our relationship to God, Principle, who is the source of divine law. This law is the basis for right actions because it is all-loving and infinite. We learn to accept this law as we turn away from the belief that we are limited, mortal beings and start to think of ourselves in terms of our relationship to God. To understand this relationship, we can find sure guidance in the Bible.
Christ Jesus' teachings make clear that we can never be separated from our loving Father, divine Mind, who is actually the source of all good. Since God is Love, we can never lose divine Love or be abandoned and alone. And God's love is not a passing thing that will go away if we make a mistake. This eloquent promise of God in Jeremiah tells us what we can expect of Him at all times: ``Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.''
A certainty of God's love can do much to change our lives. A knowledge that we really are loved will give us inspiration and confidence to correct mistakes and to change our circumstances for the better. While Love is actually always with us, we improve our perception of it as we endeavor to lead more Spirit-based lives. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, succinctly describes what this involves in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ``What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.''
``Growth in grace'' and ``good deeds'' can take different forms according to our individual situations. But as we strive to be more God-oriented, we make more efforts to express wisdom, intelligence, and foresight -- because these are qualities that come to us from God, Spirit. Then, instead of thinking of ourselves as limited, we will take advantage of our spiritual nature and actively strive to prove that intelligence -- not stupidity -- is what governs us.
Each time we make the choice for Spirit and not matter, we are affirming our true nature to be fully spiritual. And we are identifying ourselves with our genuine identity as the offspring, or idea, of God. This not only helps us to feel more confident and conscious of His love and of the guidance of divine law; it also enables us to overcome mistakes or character traits that would limit us or hold us back.
As we learn to turn more consistently to Spirit, we will begin to feel God's government in every part of our lives. And we can actively look for Love's care in small ways -- in the beauty of nature, in the kindness of a friend, in help from a stranger -- as well as in the large ones. Each of these things helps to magnify the good and true in our experience and reminds us that Love loves us with ``an everlasting love.''