We can experience healing that truly wipes the slate clean.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is one of the Bible’s most dramatic accounts of God delivering His children from peril. As the book of Daniel relates, the three Hebrew captives were bound and thrown into a fiery furnace as punishment for refusing to worship the Babylonian king’s golden idol. But the fire did not touch them. To the king’s astonishment, the three came out of the furnace unharmed, with their clothes and hair unsinged, and not even “the smell of fire had passed on them” (3:27).
The fact that the men did not smell of smoke seems to indicate that their faith in God had protected them so thoroughly that no fear or resentment from the experience remained.
Recently I read an article about this story in The Christian Science Journal titled “ ‘The smell of fire’ ” (Louise Knight Wheatley, March 1920). It discusses several kinds of mesmeric thought that would keep us clinging to the memory of past challenges—pride, self-pity, sympathy, self-condemnation, and blame.
Yet, as God’s spiritual expression, man reflects only God’s thoughts. Our true memories are entirely good and are held in the divine Mind, where there is no room for anything unlike God. In pure moments of Christlike illumination, when we awaken to God’s eternal peace and harmony, both evil and the memory of it disappear. I like to refer to this important component of healing through prayer as spiritual forgetting.
Healing that wipes the slate clean is achieved by refusing to accept the false suggestion that evil is real. God is infinite; therefore, evil never had any actual presence, power, or intelligence, so there is no point in brooding over it. The tendency to keep talking or thinking about a disease, an accident, or some other problem would only delay a complete healing.
One day a relative asked me to pray for her about a difficulty with a coworker with whom she’d had a disagreement; tempers had flared, and harsh words had been spoken. I prayed to see that the only one communicating to each of us is God—divine Love, the one and only Mind—and that one child of God cannot impose his or her will on another or express anything but love. Soon the coworkers apologized to each other, and all seemed well.
Not long afterward, however, I received a call from my relative letting me know that there had been another angry dispute, more heated this time. As we talked, it became clear that even after the first argument had been resolved, she had continued to ruminate on what had been said. Lingering resentment between the two had bred further discord.
I prayed to see that our loving divine Parent would never require us to walk through a fiery situation in the first place, much less torment us with memories of past hurts. God, our only real Mind, is ever unfolding fresh views of His goodness. There is no evil memory loop in this Mind, or in our reflection of Mind, that can keep us mentally rehearsing negative incidents. Each child of God is free to know and express Christly qualities, such as purity, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. That is our divine right and our very purpose for being.
Two days later, my relative called to say that the discord was completely healed. Years later, their relationship remains peaceful and harmonious, with no lingering “smell of fire.”
When we see ourselves and others as God sees us, as His own spiritual reflection, we understand that nothing we seem to have gone through can mar our perfect selfhood. Not even the smell of fire can be detected on us, because the fire was never really there.