Rebuking Sin

In Article VIII, Section 1, of the Church Manual, appears the statement: "A Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness, and forgiveness." Usually, the sinner has been condemned rather than the sin rebuked, and the wandering one driven farther away into the wilderness of error instead of being encouraged and guided back into the path of holiness and peace. As the dog which is at bay snarls when threatened, so resentment toward the sinner has been answered with resentment by the sinner, until sin has been declared to be a condition extremely difficult to heal, and often the chronic sinner is labeled "beyond hope," even by many earnest Christian people.

Æsop, in one of his fables, tells of an imaginary contention between the wind and the sun, each declaring itself the stronger. A human being was selected for the test of strength, the object being to compel him to remove his cloak. With this purpose in view, the wind raged furiously, but failed, for the man only drew his cloak more closely about him; then the sun beamed warmly and he was glad to remove it. The moral implies the better results of kindness, typified by the warmth of the sun, as against the brute force of human will, symbolized by the raging of the wind. The condemnatory method of dealing with the sinner may be compared to the action of the wind in the fable referred to. Censure, instead of loosening the claim of sin, tends to make sin more real to the erring consciousness and causes the sinner to cling to it more closely, either through belief in his inability to give it up, or through a sense that it is his own business and he is free to do as he may see fit.

March 13, 1920

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