Conforming to Love’s design

Recently, I was listening to a CD recording of hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal. Hymn 315 caught my attention. It entreats us, “Speak gently to the erring ones,” saying, “it is better far / To rule by love than fear.”

It reminded me of Christ Jesus’ responses to “the erring ones”—those who had erred, sinned, by not living in accord with the spiritual and moral laws of God, divine Love. For example, when the scribes and Pharisees brought to him “a woman taken in adultery,” and asked if she should be stoned, Jesus simply said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (see John 8:1–11). Those very potent, gently spoken words, turned the woman’s accusers toward facing sin in themselves, instead of condemning the woman, and no stones were cast. Then Jesus told the woman that he didn’t condemn her, but he did tell her, “Go, and sin no more.”

Jesus’ response to sinners—“the erring ones”—served to condemn sin, not the individual. His purpose was to awaken people to their true identity and value as the offspring of divine Love, and to enjoy the freedom that comes with living sinless lives. He knew that a person can find true and lasting freedom, harmony, health, satisfaction, and final salvation only by obeying the spiritual and moral laws of Love. As Mary Baker Eddy noted in the Christian Science textbook, “The design of Love is to reform the sinner” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 35).

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September 14, 2015

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