‘Charity begins at home’
As he found a more spiritual way to think about others, today’s contributor found a richer relationship with his dad and saw him freed from alcoholism.
In college, I came in contact with Christian Science teachings for the first time. The idea that we are lovingly cared for by God, who created us as His spiritual offspring, was eye-opening to me. As I better understood these ideas, I witnessed the resolution of all kinds of problems through the power of prayer alone. It was so exciting! And I thought my dad could really benefit from this spiritual view of life. He had been an alcoholic for as long as I could remember. But he mistakenly thought that Christian Science was a cult, and we started to have bitter fights over it.
At one point I realized that if what Christian Science teaches is true, then we are so much more than flawed mortals who are prone to mistakes, because that is not how God has made us. And I saw that my need was not to convince my dad of this but to change my own perspective – to recognize the spiritual reality of his, and everyone’s, real nature. To really understand it.
There’s a line from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” written by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, that really speaks to me in this regard. It’s about the Christ, God’s message of love for everyone, that brings reformation and healing to all who are willing to receive it. The line reads in part, “… mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship” (p. 316).
Again, I saw that this wasn’t something I had to persuade my dad to do. It was what I started consciously doing when thinking of my dad: seeing him in the light of these ideas. I started to see a new man, a spiritual and wholly good man, a man whose relation to God had never been broken and could never be broken. Shortly after this he stopped drinking for good, and with that he became more appreciative of Christian Science. Our relationship became even richer.
There’s an aphorism, “Charity begins at home,” and I think that applies especially to our own thinking. When we strive to see the individual of God’s making, this inevitably helps us and others to experience more of our God-given health and purity. And we find ourselves in possession of life’s finest moments and memories.
Adapted from the May 3, 2018, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.