February 27, 2003
Love metes not out human justice, but divine mercy.
Our readings made clear that any attempt to resolve problems spiritually should not include retaliation.
One member briefly toyed with the statement: "Living well is the best revenge,"but realized that letting his attitudes and actions result from vengeful thoughts — themselves motivated by painful memories — was not Christian Science. This exchange followed: "But it could give you a lift."So could a shot of heroin!"He quoted Mary Baker Eddy: "Mind is its own great cause and effect,"(Miscellaneous Writings, p. 173) and added, "We don't so much work out from God as we just let Him be the substance and action of all."
The group then discussed "A Rule for Motives and Acts"(see Readings from the Manual of The Mother Church). One of the "sweet amenities of love"is to rebuke sin. Could that be stretched to include retaliation? No one present thought so. Rebuking sin with Science is an impersonal activity, denying in prayer any validity, operation or presence to sin or dual thinking. Retaliation on the other hand is a highly personalized action of paying someone back in kind for their violations. "It's day and night. Rebuking reduces sin to nothing, while retaliating builds it up,"is how one member saw the difference.
Do we then love our enemies? Yes and no. As one member put it, to love an enemy might be to embrace what a mortal appears to be doing. What's really entailed here is to behold man in Science where the material belief called a mortal seems to be. One member added, "By the way, this material belief of a mortal could show up as either friend or foe — so proceed carefully and with spiritual vision."Anyway,"added another, "why treat a foe better than a friend by seeing the foe's divinity while we relax into dualism with our friend!"
We moved on to a much grander idea. All the energy involved in avoiding retaliation (from roots meaning to lift, support or weigh) or undertaking rebukes (from Old North French for chopping wood) might better be expended in joyously bringing spiritual consciousness to all venues of our lives. Why wait around for something awful to happen and then rebuke the sin? Why not go forward proactively proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven on earth? "Is that our version of a pre-emptive strike,"asked a member. He read this from Science and Health: "The prophylactic and therapeutic (that is, the preventive and curative) arts belong emphatically to Christian Science, as would be readily seen, if psychology, or the Science of Spirit, God, was understood."(p. 369:23)
This led naturally to a brief discussion of the second UN resolution covering intervention in Iraq. Here are a couple of reactions:
- "Mortal mind has been weighed and found wanting. I keep my focus on reports from divine Mind about the situation."
- "The introduction of a second resolution with all the negotiations, support and opposition is dualistic language for the oneness and allness of divine being taking control of the human belief."
1) A member was doing some prayerful work to support the health of his brother. He was having trouble getting a clear vision of what to address. At a Christian Science branch church Wednesday testimony meeting he heard readings about the brothers Esau and Jacob. (see Genesis, chapters 25, 27, 32 and 33) and Mrs. Eddy's comment on the story (Science and Health, pp. 308-309). It's all about Jacob's trickery to wrest Esau's birthright from him, the ensuing fear and hatred between the two and their eventual reconciliation after heartfelt appeals to God. After the readings from the desk a branch church member gave a testimony of how she'd been healed of a fierce tussle with a credit card company by realizing the divine birthright of everyone involved.
After pondering what unfolded at the church meeting our member realized that he and his brother had gone through a kind of Esau-Jacob role reversal in their youth and were still carrying some largely unconscious wounds from it. But the needed Science was clear — they and all, whatever the human roles and wounds, were of divine birthright. Instantly all confusion and fear departed from our member and he was able to see the reality of being for himself, his brother and all.
2) A member telephoned in his testimony. He was grateful for relief from a longstanding problem of judgmentalism, which had subjected interactions with friends and even walks along the street to a constant stream of very unkind observations about himself and others. Recently he discussed Christian Science practice with another student and came away with some helpful pointers about praying universally for the whole congregation of mankind. He was encouraged to see God as doing the praying and constituting the being of everyone. His false views of people have more or less evaporated.
3) Another member found during the week that he was carrying around some five pounds of "winter fat". Having recovered from mammoth obesity 25 years ago, he was unsettled and planned draconian measures to reduce food intake and increase exercise. As he went on and on to another member of the group about the threatened return to corpulence, this member said he thought our prospective dieter seemed caught in a time warp — treating himself now as he might have all those years ago before he had any real understanding of Science, not to mention proper food and exercise management.
Our member bearing the extra weight had to agree and did feel some relief. He could manage this crisis and be kind to himself in the process. Then underneath all the alarms and calls to action he found the real culprits. It was a bunch of voices, particularly from his teenage years, of his peers and even parents taunting him for his overweight and yes his queerness as well. All the abusive memories needed eradication. This he's now doing based on the Science of true substance and action.
4) Last week a member reported the healing of some bad memories of a slippery lawyer who had just passed away (see [#topic=20030220#]). This week the lawyer's son called our member, reaching out for warmth and comfort in his grief. Our member regards this as further evidence of the extent of the healing.
For next week our topic is Prophecy.
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Students are advised by the author to be charitable and kind, not only towards differing forms of religion and medicine, but to those who hold these differing opinions. Let us be faithful in pointing the way through Christ, as we understand it, but let us also be careful always to "judge righteous judgment," and never to condemn rashly. "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." That is, Fear not that he will smite thee again for thy forbearance.
Whosoever believeth that wrath is righteous or that divinity is appeased by human suffering, does not understand God.
Justice requires reformation of the sinner. Mercy cancels the debt only when justice approves. Revenge is inadmissible. Wrath which is only appeased is not destroyed, but partially indulged. Wisdom and Love may require many sacrifices of self to save us from sin. One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner's part.
God is not the creator of an evil mind. Indeed, evil is not Mind. We must learn that evil is the awful deception and unreality of existence.
The spiritually unscientific definition of mind is based on the evidence of the physical senses, which makes minds many and calls mind both human and divine.
The human mind will sometime rise above all material and physical sense, exchanging it for spiritual perception, and exchanging human concepts for the divine consciousness. Then man will recognize his God-given dominion and being.
With tender tread, thought sometimes walks in memory, through the dim corridors of years, on to old battle-grounds, there sadly to survey the fields of the slain and the enemy's losses. In compiling this work, I have tried to remove the pioneer signs and ensigns of war, and to retain at this date the privileged armaments of peace.
With armor on, I continue the march, command and countermand; meantime interluding with loving thought this afterpiece of battle. Supported, cheered, I take my pen and pruning-hook, to "learn war no more," and with strong wing to lift my readers above the smoke of conflict into light and liberty.
Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception?
Do we yet understand how much better it is to be wronged, than to commit wrong? What do we find in the Bible, and in the Christian Science textbook, on this subject? Does not the latter instruct you that looking continually for a fault in somebody else, talking about it, thinking it over, and how to meet it,—"rolling sin as a sweet morsel under your tongue,"—has the same power to make you a sinner that acting thus regarding disease has to make a man sick? Note the Scripture on this subject: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
Proportionately as the people's belief of God, in every age, has been dematerialized and unfinited has their Deity become good; no longer a personal tyrant or a molten image, but the divine Life, Truth, and Love, —Life without beginning or ending, Truth without a lapse or error, and Love universal, infinite, eternal.