"As we forgive our debtors"

Jesus taught his followers to pray, as a part of that sublime prayer which we know as the Lord's Prayer, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Mary Baker Eddy interprets this petition in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" as follows (p. 17): "And Love is reflected in love."

The Bible informs us that God made man in His own image and likeness. Christian Science declares that man is God's reflection. It follows that man provides the evidence of what God is. The real man witnesses to the fact that God is Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love. Therefore our whole duty is consciously to express the divine nature, to show forth His goodness, righteousness, intelligence, to manifest true spirituality, immortality, divine Love. This is our debt to our creator, and in Science the real man fulfills this obligation, for he is the true reflection of God and cannot deviate from his original perfection.

In Science one individual cannot be in debt to another, as the term is ordinarily understood, for our Father-Mother God sustains with impartial love every member of His spiritual family, and one spiritual idea does not need to borrow from another. The omnipresence of good and divine Love may be typified by the universal availability of sunlight and air, which no one can monopolize and no one needs to borrow. A child of God can no more cease to love than he can cease to live. To human sense, however, man seems very far from this divine reality. The divine demand is, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect;" hence this perfect state of being must be entirely possible, for a just God would not demand that which could not be fulfilled. But one who confuses the false, mortal sense of self with man's spiritual selfhood, or is blind to his own faults but painfully conscious of the faults of others, perhaps even willing to claim for himself the redeeming and perfecting grace of God while holding his brother in the bondage of condemnation, is not forgiving his debtors in the way that Jesus taught. His own debts will not be forgiven him until he fulfills the conditions of the petition. The love which reflects Love honors the Father and the son; it acknowledges no Mind apart from God, and sees this one infinitely good Mind reflected throughout the whole creation. Steadfastly to maintain this attitude lessens evil's claim to presence and power, and while one works out his own salvation he helps to lighten the burdens of the world.

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Finding Good
May 30, 1942

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