Divine Mind—the source of our sinlessness and health
God establishes in His creation an intelligent moral stability that draws us only to what is good.
As a teenager I learned an important lesson in healing physical pain, and this lesson has stayed with me and deepened over the years. Following an injury to one of my eyes, a Christian Science nurse was called upon to bandage me.
Seeing that I was suffering, she shared this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Banish the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body. No law of God hinders this result. It is error to suffer for aught but your own sins. Christ, or Truth, will destroy all other supposed suffering, and real suffering for your own sins will cease in proportion as the sin ceases” (p. 391).
Wait a minute, I thought. I am not the one who sinned here! I was still pretty angry at a friend who had goaded me into doing something stupid, which had resulted in a scratched eye and a lot of pain. Of course, the Christian Science nurse didn’t share this passage to hurt me. She was reassuring me by sharing something Christian Science teaches about suffering that she felt might help.
I came to see that the innocence in me is permanent and good because it is sourced in divine Mind.
I understood from my earliest lessons in Christian Science that God is the one divine Mind, creating and caring for us all. And I had learned that this healing and saving Mind leads us out of sin and suffering through Christ, Truth. The Bible’s book of Isaiah puts it this way: “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King. . . . I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let
us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified” (43:15, 25, 26).
I’d had many healings of childhood injuries through turning to the Christ, Truth, to banish pain and cure me. I had just never considered the sin factor before. Was I really sinning somehow? And how does sin relate to pain? Well, I conceded, I was angry with my friend. I blamed her for leading me astray. I hadn’t really considered that I had some responsibility, too. I had naively followed her misguidance, against my better and reasonable judgment. Both my naiveté and my attempt to pass the responsibility to my friend were, in effect, sin—giving in to self-limiting beliefs and acting on them.
The discomfort produced by sin often impels us to wake up in order to do better. In my case, I saw the pain as a wake-up call to let Mind, God, rule out of me any naiveté and reaction.
The life, words, and works of Christ Jesus teach us that we are to see ourselves and others through the lens of God, Mind—the lens of divine intelligence. This correct perception elevates us to an understanding of ourselves as children of God. More than once Jesus told someone he had just helped to sin no more—not as a condemnation, but as a way forward, as if to say, “Now that you know what you are, be it!”
I came to see that the innocence in me is permanent and good because it is sourced in Mind and therefore can’t be turned to stupidity. The divine Mind that is God establishes in His creation an intelligent, moral stability that draws only good to us and draws us only to what is good. I also understood that the goodness in my friend couldn’t be changed into evil—in this case, in the form of manipulation or human will.
In effect, I had been suffering from a misidentification of what God makes us to be. Once I understood this, the entire scene shifted: I forgave my friend, released the anger, and was healed of both the pain and the eye damage.
Christian Scientists find strong encouragement in the Manual of The Mother Church to pray each day, “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 41). I have found that staying alert to the subtle nature of sin is important to eliminating its influence.
A particularly crafty form of sin appears in the tendency to neglect the essential daily need to pray for oneself. A number of years ago I began experiencing a painful foot condition that made standing or walking for long periods a great challenge. While the pain was inconvenient, I tended to just plow through it from day to day, being preoccupied with other things. You could say that this neglect of caring properly for myself and healing the problem was a sin—I knew how to address this problem but hadn’t done it.
Two years later a friend who has a medical background noticed my difficulty, diagnosed it, and recommended a regimen of physical therapy, and possibly surgery, to ease the pain. That awakened me to realize what an imposition the condition had been in my life. I had let myself be seduced into thinking of myself as an aging, limited, increasingly unhealthy mortal.
I knew I could treat this condition and heal it through turning in prayer to God and the true idea of His creation. To find health would involve becoming better acquainted with myself as an idea of Mind, God—as perfect, spiritual, sinless, ageless, good. Interestingly, the more I identified with the spiritual attributes of divine Mind, the more aware I became of the subtle way I had been accepting and excusing pain.
In another book by Mrs. Eddy, Rudimental Divine Science, I read, “Health is the consciousness of the unreality of pain and disease; or, rather, the absolute consciousness of harmony and of nothing else” (p. 11).
As I prayed consistently, I became keenly alert to habits of thought that inclined me to measure and limit myself and my health by considering merely physical factors. I stopped consulting the body to measure my pain level. I wasn’t ignoring the pain but was striving to overcome it by looking for something better than just a deadening of bad sensation. I felt myself awakening by degrees from a false, sinful sense of myself as a sensual, limited mortal—awakening to man’s true status of health at every moment.
About a month after my friend’s visit, I left home for a trip that would require much standing and walking. I was completely well, and there has been no recurrence of the problem.
I now see that daily prayer to understand the kingdom of divine Mind within us, including the petition that all sin be ruled out of us, effectively protects us from and prevents pain and discord of every kind. It keeps us awake and alert to the absolute consciousness of God’s goodness and harmony, which establish and maintain good health.