JUDGING AND SPEAKING EVIL OF OTHERS

Mrs. Eddy says that "we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; ... with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world's evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it" (Miscellaneous writings. p. 224). plutarch reports Simonides to have said that he never repented that he had held his tongue, but often that he had spoken. Except as "the law of kindness" is in our tongue, this is also the experience of us all. The habit of voicing evil suggestions, while not so universal as the practice of entertaining them, is an error that none of us has wholly escaped: and. at the same time, it is an evil that has to be overcome before we can have the sweet peace of a deservedly good conscience. St. Peter says, "He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil." It is bad enough, and sad enough, to think evil: it is still worse to voice it. unless we voice it to the one. and to "him alone." of whom it has been thought. In a much larger way than we realize. it is by our words that we are justified and by our words that we are condemned. "Out of the word springs the deed, and out of the deed springs life. And every one who speaks a good word creates a deed and fosters life" (Frederick Van Eden in "The Quest," p. 512). Hence the wisdom of the admonitions, "Speak evil of no man." and speak of (as well as think on) "the things" that are just, pure, lovely, and of good report.

That we should speak evil of no man, but tell our brother what we judge to be his fault, "between thee and him alone," is not only an admonition of Jesus and of those who understand him best, but also a law of conscience, reason, and love. The natural and inevitable punishment that comes to us as we violate this law. as well as the blessings that invariably and necessarily come to us as we obey it. is of itself sufficient proof not only that it should be obeyed, but that it will at length be universally obeyed. Indeed, all laws or ways of God are so beneficent, reasonable, and right, and all violations of these laws so contrary to the happiness and well being of ourselves and others, that sooner or later they will be universally loved as well as obeyed. The very punishments that come from the violation of divine law. as well as the reward that comes through conformity thereto, should make us see and rejoice that, if we are condemned at all. we are—to quote one of Shakespeare's fine lines—"condemned into everlasting redemption." And, if by everlasting punishment we mean the punishment that exists so long as divine law, the law of love. is transgressed rather than conformed to. and that this punishment is for the reformation of the guilty as well as for the protection of the innocent, then everlasting punishment is one aspect of everlasting redemption.

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GIVING-THANKS TIME
November 30, 1907
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