Forgive and Forget

ON page 12 of "Miscellaneous Writings" in an article entitled "Love Your Enemies" Mrs. Eddy says, "If you have been badly wronged, forgive and forget." Through all Christian times we have been taught to pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors," and it may perhaps happen that, having been wronged, with these words on our lips we have thought it sufficient to ignore the matter; so with a pat on our own backs for our charity, we have taken no further trouble. But have we really done our part? If error presents itself to us in any form it is our duty to destroy it, not to ignore it, and we must set to work. It may therefore be well to consider what rules we have to guide us. The first surely is that we cast error out of our thinking, as we are taught in Christian Science. This is not a process of self-condemnation, as mortal thought would so often have us believe, nor do we need to say, "Perhaps it was my fault; I must not be too hard on so-and-so," and thus reach a frame of mind of sham humility. We must find true humility and understand clearly that we can do nothing of ourselves, that we have no righteousness whatever belonging to us as mortals, and that "there is none good but one, that is, God." Then we need to know that the child of God, divine Principle, is incapable of feeling hatred or revenge and can only reflect divine Love. This done we are ready to see more clearly how to apply the Golden Rule, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to separate the tares of mere condoning from the wheat of true forgiving.

Unless one is a coward, one does not wish one's faults watered by a false kindness and allowed to grow. One has no right to do so to another. To excuse error is to believe that there is a real something to excuse. If we were asked to treat a patient for sickness, we should not say, "Poor body; it cannot help feeling sick and having pain; it is made like that, and moreover it was not considered and was left in a draught." We should declare right away that in place of the seeming material body there is really only man, expressing Principle. In the same way we must uncover the error and face it for what it is—an erring mortal trying to make us accept him as God's child, hatred pretending to be power, when all power belongs to Love, a lie asserting itself as the truth. When faced in this way, the utter unreality of the whole distortion that tried to gain admission becomes obvious and is not only forgiven but forgotten; for how can we remember that which never was? There is, however, one more step to complete the work; namely, to put the true idea in the place of the false, to see not mortal man but the Christ-man as the only reality, and therefore all we ever need to take cognizance of. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy tells us (p. 476): "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." In the process of our work we shall be guided as to whether it is wise and helpful to point out the fault in love, or whether it is our work silently to bear fruit. Nor need we be disturbed at any seeming upheaval following upon our acitivity. If a seeming chemicalization occurs we need only rejoice that error is being destroyed. On page 296 of Science and Health we read, "Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind, and regenerate material sense and self."

We often think of the Master's love for John but we may forget he also loved Judas. His love for John was manifest in the most beautiful, spiritual friendship the world has ever seen. But the sharing of spiritual joys was of no use to Judas, and only after the betrayal did error destroy itself, through his unspeakable remorse and ultimate suicide. So we see that the most unloving thing we can do is to condone sin, should an offense dare to show itself to us either in our capacity as parents, friends, or citizens; and the most loving thing we can do is to "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good" (Science and Health, p. 393). Divine Love takes care of the consequences, for we have obeyed the Golden Rule, and in this way only can we truly forgive and forget.

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Make Room
May 28, 1921

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