What Miriam can teach us

Moses' job certainly was not always an easy one. And at one point his sister made it even less easy. What Miriam did to Moses, and her suffering that resulted, might provide an important clue if we're seeking healing.

Miriam was healed, and that's a vital fact. But she needn't have suffered at all had she been more alert. She, along with her other brother, Aaron, lost sight of Moses' distinct role. Moses' understanding of his closeness to God gave him an unmistakable purpose. Miriam called into question this unique role.

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Wasn't God speaking just as effectively to her and Aaron as He was to Moses? Of course God was close to each of His children. But the important point was that her view of Moses' calling to voice God's Word became obscured. Although Miriam suffered for this, an important lesson was learned. See Num. 12;

Such an incident may seem like a small item in the Bible—although it probably didn't seem so small to Miriam. When we err as she did, we too may run into difficulties. But the story shows we can be healed. We can grow spiritually by learning from the challenges that come to us. Miriam had downgraded her estimate of Moses. Yet when that estimate was set straight by God, she was soon cured.

The Bible is filled with examples of people who were forced to revise their appraisal of another. Naaman, for instance, needed to learn something of humility. But he also needed to reassess his perception of Elisha, a man he originally thought would simply sweep his disease away. See II Kings 5; The lame man at the temple learned that Peter was a far different person from the ordinary passer-by willing to give a handout. See Acts 3; People who were able to rightly evaluate Christ Jesus found this an essential element in their healing.

Today people sometimes suffer from their wrong assessment of others. And today people can have harmony restored by gaining a right estimate of another. But sometimes healing can be slowed when we want freedom from a physical discord more than we want to acknowledge the God-given role another is filling.

To destroy inharmony, we must accept Christ Jesus' statement, "The kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:21; This kingdom is heaven; it is the presence of divine harmony. Mrs. Eddy, referring to our aim of gaining the true idea of heaven, harmony, tells us, "This goal is never reached while we hate our neighbor or entertain a false estimate of anyone whom God has appointed to voice His Word." Science and Health, p. 560.

Many of us may feel there isn't any problem on that score. Our study has given us a fair estimate of Bible characters. We recognize and love Christ Jesus' role. We understand that he is the very Son of God—and in a supreme way he understood that God is perfect and that man is God's pure expression.

Mary Baker Eddy deserves to be recognized for the unique role she filled in human history. As the world's most successful follower of Christ Jesus in modern times, she leads us, through her writings, to a better understanding of the Christ, Truth—to the reality of being itself. She has helped us see that the Christ is universal; that the true nature of every individual is Godlike; and that a grasp of this fact enables us to heal just as Christ Jesus expected us to. We owe Mrs. Eddy a great deal for this discovery, and for the movement she established to preserve and extend it. People have sometimes been healed of longstanding difficulties by relinquishing prejudice toward her or by outgrowing a lack of appreciation for her.

Gaining a right estimate of one "appointed to voice His Word" has implications in a wider sense. When we attend a church service, we can view the Readers and the soloist in this special light. And our response to a Christian Science lecturer can be equally perceptive. If we go to hear the Word of God spoken with a proper appreciation for those whose mission it is to speak His Word, we will be more likely to feel the healing influence inherent in that Word.

How about the post of Christian Science practitioner? Suppose you are the practitioner—praying for yourself as the patient. Do you see yourself as discouraged, uncertain, uninspired? If so, then you are obliged to accept a better estimate of yourself because you've been appointed to voice God's Word on behalf of your own case.

And what of that testimony we're not too impressed with at a Wednesday evening church meeting? Then there's the neighbor who tells us something that we'd rather not hear. Obviously, the other fellow may have room for spiritual growth. But if we let what he has to tell us be obscured by how little we think he knows, or how much more we think we ourselves know, we're liable to be playing Miriam's game—carrying a faulty assessment of another's honest effort to express God's Word. And that would be our loss.

On the other hand, if we have enough insight to recognize the spiritual nature of every individual, our right estimate of him may save us from discomfort; or if we are uncomfortable, such discernment may be what is needed to heal us.


Love's protection
July 28, 1980

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