Can we learn to be ourselves?

Many people are familiar with these words from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "This above all: To thine own self be true ..." Yet even finding out who we are can seem elusive. It's so easy to get caught up in imagemaking! Maybe we do something because everyone else is doing it or because given factors point in that direction. "I studied law for eight years, so I'm supposed to be a lawyer." "I've always behaved this way, so this must be who I am."

At some time, however, this kind of estimation of our life catches up with us. We gradually—or suddenly—find there's something missing. We're unsatisfied, frustrated, unsuccessful. Perhaps we're behaving toward others in ways that we don't like. We wonder if we've missed something along the way about who we really are, about why we're really here. We've probably had enough of the world's answers. In fact, we've probably found that these answers, well, they haven't answered anything. Perhaps we're beginning to feel that only by finding something deeper about ourselves are we going to bring the fire of purpose, commitment, and love back into our lives. But is there really more to know about ourselves?

The good news is that there is something more to know. Christian Science teaches that we do not have to live with worldly views of ourselves, which drag us down. It shows us how to learn who we are from what Christ Jesus taught. For instance, Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matt. 5:48). Apparently he knew something more about who we are, because he didn't say, "Be ye therefore temperamental, unfulfilled, dishonest, stubborn, unsuccessful—in a word, mortal." In demanding no less than perfection, wasn't he implying a very different kind of identity from what the world thinks of as man? Through this striking contrast, we can begin to see the difference between man as God knows him and the notion of an imperfect mortal that tends to be mistaken as man. To find more about ourselves as God knows us, we need to abandon the view of ourselves as mortal and begin to identify ourselves as God's man.

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Single parenting under God's care
July 18, 1994

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