That the question of forgiveness is a vital doctrine of Christianity, no student of the New Testament can deny. Early in his ministry Jesus declared that he had not come "to destroy the law, or the prophets," but he immediately announced the great difference between his sense of their moral and spiritual requirements and that popularly entertained. He challenged the law which demanded "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," and instead declared that we must not merely forgive our enemies, in the ordinary sense of this word, but that we must love them and do good unto them. As a reason for this he cited the impartial love of our heavenly Father, who sends rain and sunshine upon the just and the unjust alike, little as mortals avail themselves of the divine beneficence. We further find, that as Jesus carried forward his mighty redemptive work for humanity, and instructed others how to continue it, he laid greater and greater emphasis upon forgiveness. On one occasion Peter asked how often he should forgive the trespasser, and the Master replied that seven times was not sufficient, but that the forgiveness should extend to "seventy times seven." Well might his disciples say, after such teaching, "Increase our faith"!

From the view-point of Christian Science the question of forgiveness is greatly simplified when we learn that evil is not of God, hence its unreality. The one who is guilty of an offense against God or one of His children, grievously wrongs himself through ignorance of divine law, and needs our pity, and likewise our help if he is ready to accept it. We are not, however, called upon to love either sin or sinner, since neither is of God, but we are required to maintain unwaveringly the ever-presence of God and His idea, the real man, and to love this idea with an intensity great enough to dispel the whole of the mortal illusion of sin and sinner. If we truly love God and His idea, as revealed in Science, we shall readily see how the erring brother must also love the same, could he but awaken from the false sense of separation from God.

February 8, 1913

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