Healing Sympathy

In the sixth chapter of Job we read, "To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend." The desire for sympathy is universal. To many, sympathizing means doing as did Job's friends—sitting down with him on the same plane of mournfulness, and with him bemoaning his affliction. We learn in Christian Science that the more we think and talk of evil the larger the proportion it will assume in our thought. Thus human sympathy begets self-pity and does harm. It does not fulfill its claim to make the inharmony easier to bear; on the contrary, through encouraging self-pity it seems to magnify the error.

The word "sympathy" is derived from a Greek word meaning fellow-feeling. It is important to know the highest and best way to show this fellow-feeling, and thus truly to comfort our brothers. Our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, had the utmost compassion for those around him. We cannot imagine him devoting his entire life to other without having a heart overflowing with love for humanity. And yet, not once do we find him commiserating evil.

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 211) Mrs. Eddy writes, "Sympathy with error should disappear." If we are to help another with our compassion we must not sympathize with error, but must declare the perfection and harmony of all real being. If a friend were at the bottom of a well we could not get him out by jumping into the well. Only by remaining above and outside could we hope to pull him out. Thus, truly to sympathize with our brother we must remain above the belief of inharmony, serene in our conviction of the allness of God, good, and of the nothingness of evil, steadfastly knowing the truth. Such compassion heals.

November 30, 1929

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