The Need of Forgiveness

When Paul said, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief," he was wise enough to be willing to view his human experience from the standpoint of the awful enormity of the belief in a supposed existence apart from and ungoverned by God, divine Mind. He tells us, also, that in his zeal to carry out his own misconception of right, he had persecuted the Christians of that time. He had done this because he believed he had a mind of his own, on which he could depend to show him the difference between right and wrong. When the truth awakened him to the evil basis of such thinking, his own cooperation with it seemed so revolting that he was enabled to call himself the chief of sinners. Speaking of this experience, Mrs. Eddy says in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 326) that Saul of Tarsus, afterward called Paul, "beheld the way—the Christ, or Truth—only when his uncertain sense of right yielded to a spiritual sense, which is always right. Then the man was changed."

When Christian Science knocks at the door of human consciousness, it does not always find mortals in Paul's mental attitude. They are not always ready to acknowledge immediately that their past concepts have been based on a totally mistaken sense of things. They are not immediately prepared to yield their "uncertain sense of right." to "a spiritual sense, which is always right." Even though they may think they are quite ready to receive this wonderful truth which promises redemption from all evil, although they may more or less quickly accept Christian Science theoretically, understaking in considerable measure the practice of its method, still they often apparently fail to grasp the necessity of changing their standpoint completely from the material to the spiritual. They are not quite willing to see the deformity of all belief in a mind and an existence apart from God, the only Mind, but are more or less inclined to recognize only partially the distinction between the human and the divine. They are not willing to say with Paul that as mortals they are chief among sinners.

May not this be one great reason why progress in the demonstration of Christian Science sometimes seems so slow? Jesus once said, "To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." If one fails to recognize the grievous error of all belief in an existence separated from God; if one fails to see clearly that to believe in matter is to dishonor, to deny, and to defy the God who is Spirit, may it not be that he will be slow to win the "bliss of blotted-out sin," of which our Leader speaks on page 35 of her Message for 1901? If one does not recognize the total falsity of a material existence, how can he be expected to work unremittingly to free himself and others from the beliefs in a false selfhood? How can he be conscious of the need of being forgiven much, and so have the way opened to his loving much?

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January 6, 1923

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