Active students of Christian Science are sometimes confronted with the questions: "What duty and responsibility devolve upon me for correcting error when it seems to be evident in church affairs or in business relationships? Should I rush in to correct another's wrong thinking, wrong speaking, and wrongdoing, even when it is not specifically my concern? Is open condemnation or secret criticism ever justifiable?" Mary Baker Eddy answers these questions on page 249 of "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," where she writes: "You may condemn evil in the abstract without harming any one or your own moral sense, but condemn persons seldom, if ever. Improve every opportunity to correct sin through your own perfectness. When error strives to be heard above Truth, let the 'still small voice' produce God's phenomena."

The word correct means, according to its Latin derivation, to make straight. The instruction of our Leader is clear: we are to correct sin through our own perfectness. Loving, timely rebuke of error in another has an important place in Christian Science, but such rebuke can proceed only from a heart which through correction has itself become impartial, just, and wise. The last thing an indignant mortal wishes to do is to start correcting his own mentality. It seems so much easier to indulge in complaint or personal condemnation, or perhaps to attempt, unsolicited, to correct by human methods another's actual or fancied wrongdoing.

Christian Science teaches that man, made in the image and likeness of God, is now spiritual and perfect. He is therefore incapable of experiencing sin, disease, or error of any nature. Our duty then as Christian Scientists is to turn from mortal mind's misconception of man as a sinner and see and acknowledge his selfhood to be the image of God. As we improve every opportunity to correct sin, not through condemnation or retaliation, but through our demonstration and understanding of man's perfectness as the reflection of God, the spiritual enlightenment thus gained will be found potent to heal ourselves and others. We must remove the beam of resentment, indignation, or fear from our own eyes before attempting to clear another's vision.

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February 16, 1952

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