As a rebuke to the pride, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy which appeared to dominate the thinking of the religionists of his day, Christ Jesus related the parable of the publican and the Pharisee who "went up into the temple to pray" (Luke 18:10-14). We are told that the Pharisee, apparently oblivious of his faults, thanked God that he was not sinful, as were other men, and boasted of his strict observance of fasting and tithing. The publican, acutely conscious of his shortcomings, turned his thoughts to God in a humble, fervent plea for mercy. The Master ended his parable with the comment, "I tell you, this man [the publican] went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

As the student of Christian Science progresses in his understanding of the spiritual perfection and harmony of his real identity, made in God's likeness, he inevitably becomes aware of the errors that claim a place in his thinking, and these may include some of the selfish, unlovely traits typified by the Pharisee. Becoming deeply repentant, the student humbles himself before God, Truth and Love, even as did the publican, and finds release from error's domination. In "No and Yes" Mary Baker Eddy writes (p. 7), "Sooner or later the eyes of sinful mortals must be opened to see every error they possess, and the way out of it; and they will 'flee as a bird to your mountain,' away from the enemy of sinning sense, stubborn will, and every imperfection in the land of Sodom, and find rescue and refuge in Truth and Love."

The Bible admonishes us (James 4:10), "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." Repentance for one's errors is requisite in order that one may win his freedom from them. However, to remain continually in a state of self-condemnation and discouragement does not help one to overcome his faults, but tends to pin them more firmly upon him. In another of the Master's parables (Luke 15:11-32) it is noticeable that when the prodigal son "came to himself," he did not linger in a state of uncertainty, self-condemnation, and despair; he at once journeyed to his father's home, there to receive a loving, joyous welcome. True repentance impels one to relinquish the belief that he is a discordant, sinful mortal and to recognize his spiritual sonship with the loving Father-Mother, God. He realizes that his true spiritual selfhood has never been absent from all good, and finds blessings right at hand, ready for his acceptance.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

November 21, 1953

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.