"FASTING FROM CRITICISM"

When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not heal the lunatic boy he replied (Matt. 17: 20), "Because of your unbelief," and then added, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." A Christian Science lecturer in quoting this answer of Jesus' added, as one way of interpretation, "fasting from criticism." To one in distress, waiting eagerly for a rule for healing, fasting from criticism may seem too mild a remedy to meet his urgent need. Yet the more one wrestles with the habit of criticism in oneself, even if triumphing only in small ways, the greater the depth of meaning one sees in this interpretation of fasting.

Now criticism can be valuable, helpful, for example, in holding to a true standard of excellence in the study of art, music, and literature. It can be useful in determining logical and moral values. But the criticism we commonly apply to persons is not always motivated by an honest desire to preserve high standards in character and conduct for ourselves. It may even have its origin in an unconscious effort to exalt ourselves. Someone has aptly said, "We get the illusion of rising when we are pushing someone else down."

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MAN'S HOME IS HEAVEN
January 10, 1953
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