Rein in willful insistence
We can learn to allow any misguided or overly strong desire to be tempered or reined in.
There’s an aphorism that states, “The wildest colts make the best horses,” implying that once the colt is reined in and trained, it willingly obeys.
Like a wild colt, I’ve had numerous times in my life when I’ve jumped the gun and have come out of the starting block too early—speaking out of turn in a moment of enthusiasm, inserting myself into a conversation, out-yelling someone in order to drive home my point, or prematurely correcting another in advance of the lesson being learned.
I could go on, but I’m certain you get the point. Many times this was done good-naturedly, or with good intent, but there were also times my actions were based on willful insistence.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states, “Strong desires bias human judgment and misguide action, else they uplift them” (Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 9). This in no way implies that it’s wrong to have strong feelings about something or that inspiration should be stifled. But like a colt, we can learn to allow any misguided or overly strong desire to be tempered or reined in. The Christ, God’s idea, lassos and corrals strong feelings, bringing them into conformity with God’s plan.
Christ Jesus offered this counsel to his disciples in a parable illustrating the need to face down precipitous or hasty impulses and maintain a calm, clear sense that leads to a harmonious outcome: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. . . . The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:24–26, 28–30).
Even though my motive was pure, I needed to exercise greater discretion and Christly restraint—to develop in spiritual maturity.
Notice that in his parable there is no striking out at the one who acted on wrong intentions by sowing the tares. Rather, Jesus impersonalized the effort to cause harm and advised patience, allowing Truth to uncover and eliminate the sin and its effects. The lesson here may be to resist undoing the good by prematurely attacking the erroneous behavior. Let them both grow side by side until the evil becomes so obvious that it can be easily seen and destroyed.
As we advance in our practice of Christian Science, we are sometimes placed under stressful circumstances and may be tempted to turn to willful ways of addressing them. But, biblical wisdom advises us to turn the other cheek, give beyond what’s demanded, and walk the extra mile in our devotion to and example of Christian healing.
One time, after performing what I felt was a noble, unselfed act, I was wrongly accused. At first I was shocked and did my best to defend my motives and actions, only to encounter skepticism and resistance. After several attempts to point out the error, I resigned myself to learning a lesson in humility and to making certain my heart was right with Truth and Love. I came to see that the only enemy was that which would separate me from a present sense of Truth and Love. I remained in quiet reflection, trusting God with my concerns and turning away from reacting.
Ultimately, over time and through others’ actions, my motive was found to be innocent and my intentions honorable. However, I continued to ask questions of myself as to why this experience had even occurred. I came to understand that even though my motive was pure, I needed to exercise greater discretion and Christly restraint—to develop in spiritual maturity.
Mrs. Eddy alerted her students to guard themselves from others’ immoral, uninformed, or envious attempts to undo or cast a wrong light on their work that has been well done. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she writes: “Motives and acts are not rightly valued before they are understood. It is well to wait till those whom you would benefit are ready for the blessing, for Science is working changes in personal character as well as in the material universe” (p. 238).
I certainly haven’t learned this lesson all at once, and I continue to practice obedience to the persuasions of the divine Mind, God, including listening, pausing, reflecting, and comforting. By doing so, I have found a definite lessening of willful impulse, and a deeper trust that God is providing a perfect place, platform, and opportunity for me to fulfill His purpose, sharing and performing intelligent good.