Offending God

On page 425 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says: "Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew. You will never fear again except to offend God." To one whose early years have been darkened by the old concept of a terrible and jealous God, ready to visit with arbitrary punishment even the unwitting offenses of erring mortals, these words are not at first sight encouraging, since the exception seems to set a hopeless task. But here, as in so many other cases, we are helped by realizing how just and right Mrs. Eddy constantly was in her choice of words. The whole aspect of the passage is altered when we remember that the Latin verb offendo means to strike against. It now becomes easy to connect this sentence with that other on page 36 of Science and Health: "It is useless to suppose ... that the hand of Love is satisfied with giving us only toil, sacrifice, cross-bearing, multiplied trials, and mockery of our motives in return for our efforts at well doing." It has a close relation also with those intensely yearning utterances of the Master in which he strove to express the unfailing tenderness of the Father's heart as he knew it.

Divine Love never strikes against us, and the only way by which we can offend our Father is by leaving His house,—denying the consciousness that "in him we live, and move, and have our being,"—and going away into the far country of false beliefs and seeking to satisfy false desires. Their falsity once realized, and the impulse to return acted upon, the offense no longer exists; we are no longer striking against the Love which is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever," and which has never ceased to keep in readiness for us the best robe and the ring. To come once more into this consciousness is to begin to realize in humble and grateful amazement what it means to be "heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ," to an inheritance which is our inalienable right, because we are the children of infinite Love.

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June 13, 1914

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