Innocence—man's true heritage

He cried bitterly. He had been caught stealing. At the police station, the boy spoke of his childhood: When his mother went to the outdoor market, she balanced a basket on her head and carried him in a pouch on her back. Passing stands piled high with food, she would bend down to look at some items. That's when the little boy picked up whatever he fancied and threw it into the basket. Unaware, his mother paid only for the food she had selected. The child's wrong behavior was not corrected and continued as he grew up. He excused it because he was poor.

When I heard of this incident, I knew how important it was for the boy to acknowledge his wrongdoing and not to repeat it. But I thought, "Didn't his tears speak of his rebellion against dishonesty? Didn't his spiritual innocence call out to be recognized?"

The Bible tells of an occasion when tears especially signaled a deep yearning for change. Luke reports that Christ Jesus was a guest in the house of a Pharisee, called Simon. "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment" (7:37, 38). Commenting on this event in Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy raises the question "Did Jesus spurn the woman? ... No! He regarded her compassionately." Further on Mrs. Eddy asks, "Had she repented and reformed, and did his insight detect this unspoken moral uprising?" (p. 363). The Master's purity enabled him to see what others did not, and he could say to her, "Thy sins are forgiven" (Luke 7:48).

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Satisfying the search for spirituality
May 29, 1995

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