Over the desk of a Christian Science practitioner in one of our large cities appears this precept : "Never judge or condemn any one; but watch also that you do not chide others for doing so. Let others do as they please. Show them an example by your own life." It has been demonstrated time and again that the one who is chary in his criticism of his fellows, enjoys to an unusual degree the esteem of his acquaintances, and is generally pointed out as a model. I have a friend who is not a Christian Scientist, but whenever another's conduct is up for discussion, he always has something good to say. No matter how serious may have been the lapse from ethical standards of the person under discussion, this friend always pleads the possibility of extreme provocation, or the existence of mental phases the critics know nothing about, as a mitigation of the seeming dereliction, and ends by saying, "Now you know so and so"—narrating something good he knows about the other. This friend is universally beloved and trusted, simply because of his charity, and though it has been his lot to experience considerable misfortune, he has maintained a uniform attitude of hopefulness.

It is a strange perversion of human nature, however, to rest content in mere admiration of the estimable traits another may possess, and, even though admitting that happiness to oneself follows their practice, never attempting to do likewise. This is because it is generally believed that such traits are inherently natural, and not to be attained through voluntary effort, unless one should exercise years of tremendous self-restraint. Accordingly there is apt to be more striving for material possessions than for the moral improvement of oneself, but despite this common opinion to the contrary, the returns from a sincere effort to be charitable in thought and act are sure to be immediate and unexpectedly uplifting. Let any one honestly strive to live up to the teaching of Christian Science with respect to the judging of others, and at once he will perceive a real transformation going on his nature. Soon after he has suppressed his first impulse to speak ill of another, he will be conscious of a sense of healthy gratification, and if he continues in his endeavor, this will grow till he finds a real joy in seeing the good, rather than the evil, in his fellows.

Anyhow, what right have we, as fair-minded beings, to pass judgment upon the motives that influence the personal opinions and acts of another? How do we know what evil influences are being manifested,—what peculiarities of temperament, what home surroundings and provocative influences? We cannot condemn the sin too strongly, but we cannot be too charitable in our attitude toward one in bondage to it. The worse the deed, the more need has the sinner of our love and help. It may be that the wrongdoer was beset with an uncontrollable impulse, or what is generally considered extreme provocation, at the critical moment, and, temporarily bereft of self-control, committed a deed that will cause him lifelong regret. It may be that he was the victim of the environment in which he lived, and had neither the strength of character nor the understanding of Truth needed to rise above it. All such are in dire need of every charitable thought that can be sent out to them. and it is only the thought of good that can help them. The law may punish, society may frown, but the good Samaritan, with helpful thought and word, will sow the seed that later will ripen into reformation and good citizenship.

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July 27, 1907

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