"Rebuking sin"

While pondering over the "Rule for Motives and Acts," as given in our Manual (Art. VIII, Sect. 1), which is read in all Christian Science churches on the first Sunday of each month, that we may be reminded to act daily upon it, these thoughts came to me as to what the rebuking of sin, as given in the rule, means: "A Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness." I looked up the word "rebuke" in the dictionary, and found it thus defined: "To check, silence, or put down with reproof; also to reprehend sharply and summarily, i.e., quickly." The question then arose, How are we to rebuke sin, and when and where are we to do it? Manifestly it means something quite different from telling one's brother of his faults, though on occasion it may mean this too. It seems to me it means the conscientious and quick denial of sin and the scientific declaration of the omnipotence of God, good, whenever sin presents itself to our consciousness, either in our own mentality or through the word or deed of a brother.

We must at once mentally meet all claims of sin, no matter how we become cognizant of them, as Jesus did when in the words "Get thee behind me, Satan," he rebuked a material sense of things voiced through Peter. And we can but believe that this command cast out that particular devil or evil sense from Peter. The point to be noticed particularly, however, is that it was not Peter who was rebuked, but error, or Satan. If at all times we could rebuke error in this impersonal way, never for one second seeing it as personal, either as ourselves or as our brother, surely then this one little sentence lived in its entirety would fulfil the whole law of Love. Sin would be conquered, and with this victory would come also the victory over "animosity" and "mere personal attachment" (against which we are also warned), over disease, and even over death itself,— a wonderful vista, and worthy of our best efforts to attain.

The habit of rebuking sin in this impersonal and instantaneous manner is not gained in a moment. Like everything worth while, we must cultivate it and watch our thoughts, lest we see sin as part of our brother instead of as an evil belief attacking him. Sin is never any part of man's real being, it is merely in belief; and we conquer belief with the knowledge that God gives of Himself, together with a knowledge of man in His image and of God's perfect, harmonious universe. This knowledge is revealed to us through the life and works of Jesus, and of all the prophets and teachers of whom we read in the Bible.

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Quiet Work
July 24, 1915

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