Thy Perfect Neighbor

God has given man dominion over all the earth with the right to be free, happy, and loving at all times. But this dominion often seems to be very far away when one is confronted with what appear to be the imperfections and limitations of himself and his fellow men. Mortal mind goes to one of two extremes. It either accepts all of human consciousness as good, and so worships and idolizes the human concept, or it becomes so aware of the human short-comings that they become fixed realities and shut out appreciation of the good reflected in human consciousness. In either case a man is bound by mortal sense and is robbed of his dominion. Christian Science saves him from these extremes and brings him onto the safe mental ground, where erroneous beliefs are recognized and deprived of reality, and the spiritual idea is revealed.

The truth about our fellow man is that he is now perfect—not the human sense which we entertain of him, and which we think he manifests—but the spiritual idea, his true identity, which has always existed in and is maintained by Mind. That is all that is real about him, and it is our right to be conscious of that spiritual identity. He, the real man, manifests every beautiful quality of divine Love, and we cannot help loving him. The belief that error is real, that it is person, would claim to rob us of that fact and the joy of loving our brother.

On page 346 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy writes: "It is sometimes said that Christian Science teaches the nothingness of sin, sickness, and death, and then teaches how this nothingness is to be saved and healed. The nothingness of nothing is plain;but we need to understand that error is nothing, and that its nothingness is not saved, but must be demonstrated in order to prove the somethingness—yea, the allness—of Truth." When we realize that our neighbor is now perfect, we can see his seeming imperfections as nothingness. We do not have to save or heal that nothingness. We only need to realize that its nothingness is plain. Mortal mind would say that in order to see our brother perfect we must make him see his errors and reform him. But as long as we follow such a course, his errors will seem to be something instead of nothing. The spiritual idea does not need to be saved, changed, healed, or made over. Error destroys itself. Our brother's freedom from error will come to him as Truth uncovers the error for him, and the self-destruction of error completes the work. We can always be ready to help when called upon, but in the meantime let us see that "the nothingness of nothing is plain." All we really have to be conscious of, associate with, live with, is the spiritual idea. Others' errors are not our responsibility. It is our privilege to be ever conscious of the presence and companionship of perfect man with all the joys and freedom that such consciousness brings.

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October 12, 1935

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