Mental Breadth

The term "broad-minded" has been applied to many mental states; but though one's idea of the meaning of this term be indefinite, he is a rare person who does not like to hear it applied to himself. Not uncommonly, however, error tries to argue to the young student of Christian Science that this Science, working as it does on a basis of absolute, uncompromising truth, must make its adherents intolerant and narrow in their dealings with their fellow men. Yet when we study the life of our Master, the greatest of all Scientists, what do we find in this connection?

Let us consider, for instance, Jesus' manner of treating the sinful woman. He, the purest of mortals, was able to look upon her without scorn, because he realized how real the claims of error may seem to the unenlightened human mind. He realized too that this woman's sin was merely one of the workings of the lie that has deceived, in one way or another, the whole human race. No one can deny that this was an example of true mental breadth,—the ability to assume another's view-point, though differing widely from his own, and to be compassionate and just where superficial observers were merely scornful. Because the Master thus understood and refused to condemn the woman, he did not fail most emphatically to condemn the error which had enslaved her. Indeed the command "Go, and sin no more," was more than a condemnation of error; it was a declaration of the powerlessness of error to hold one who wished to be free. He did not say, If possible, sin no more. He did not imply that because the woman had been wicked she must continue, for a time at least, to be so. Because God is omnipresent and omnipotent, and because He is the Principle behind every sincere effort for reform, Jesus gave the uncompromising command "Go, and sin no more," knowing that it could be obeyed.

There was surely nothing narrow-minded, nothing of prejudice or intolerance about the great Teacher's attitude in this case. And what do the sentiments appear to have been which impelled him to deal thus with the case? First there was the reflection of divine Love, which destroyed in him all desire to condemn the woman; and next there was spiritual understanding, which enabled him to know that the error was without real foundation, consequently that reform was possible from that very moment. We thus see that if the exercise of two of the qualities which the Christian Scientist most earnestly desires, resulted in such breadth of thought in dealing with human affairs of the first century, they must bring about like results today. No life could be more free from narrowness and intolerance than that of Jesus, whom Mrs. Eddy characterizes as "the most scientific man who ever trode the globe" (Science and Health, p. 313).

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Love and Patience
November 6, 1915

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