It's been said that to err is human. All of us have made mistakes of one kind or another. Experience may have taught us that either we can learn from our mistakes—and so redeem them to some extent—or merely suffer from them. Most wise people would agree that if we're willing enough we can learn useful lessons from past misdeeds and so minimize future mistakes.
But Christian Science teaches a far larger lesson. Mary Baker Eddy explains that "omnipotent and infinite Mind made all and includes all. This Mind does not make mistakes and subsequently correct them." Science and Health, p. 206;
God is divine Mind, and man is His immaculate reflection. The action of man, God's full representation, is always blameless. Divine Mind's man never makes an ethical slip, is never cruel or selfish, violent or criminal. He never errs. In reality there is no kind of man but the man who is the unchanging expression of mistakeless Mind. Man, imaging his origin, "does not make mistakes and subsequently correct them."
This is the rationale for rectifying apparent mistakes conscientiously and thoroughly. Man's sinless nature is our true nature. Christian Science gives us the spiritual grounding from which we can illustrate this in the daily round. Man, as defined in Christian Science, is complete and perfect, incorporeal and spiritual. He is never the object of animal-like urgings that lead to acts later regretted and needing to be expunged. Nor is he the victim of gnawing incompleteness escalating to dishonesty and greed.
A big mistake we make is that we do not claim and live the truth of our real selfhood. We let a material, personal sense of man govern us. A common argument from this source is that we're mortals jostled by crowds of other mortals who live together with us in a competitive society in which wrongs must be done—and suffered—as each follows an almost jungly impulsion to survive and progress materially. Scientific Christianity helps us recognize and rectify the damage that results from this false argument.
To begin to see things as they divinely are and always were is to begin rectifying past mistakes and forestalling future ones. Our mistakes need to be recognized as a preliminary to adjustment. But to be morbidly obsessed by one's misdeeds confirms that we're viewing our past through the distorting haze of personal sense instead of through the clear air of Science.
The Christ is the true idea of God. Man's real selfhood and man's true experience are to be found in this true idea. As our thought is purified by the Christ, we view our life in a more spiritually realistic way. Nothing has actually occurred in that life but Mind's unfoldment of pure good. As we perceive the real man, we can acknowledge without any hesitation that our experience has never been soiled by mortal sense nor our nature twisted by materiality. Our real being includes no past, no phase of suffering nor any action that merits suffering as a penalty.
Knowing these truths of our real identity, we learn that there are no mistakes that cannot be undone. We can rectify the errors of the past because, in Christian metaphysics, what is most significant about our past—in fact, what constitutes it—is our current thinking about it. Mrs. Eddy states emphatically, "We own no past, no future, we possess only now." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 12;
Hence the mistakes of our past can never slip outside the possibility of Truth's healing adjustment of them today. If, in our thinking now, we concede that there was a time when we were embroiled in sin, then we have not effectively rectified past mistakes and are leaving ourselves far more open to future erring than we ought. We are in effect continuing the mistake, perpetuating our own penalty and perhaps the suffering our mistake seemed to impose on another. Only as we understand and accept the divine fact that in our true being we have always lived in and responded to sinless Soul, God—only then are we fortifying ourselves against taking false steps in the future.
When Christ Jesus refused to condemn the adulterous woman, he lifted his thought above that misleading definition of her, and he denied that specific instance of the belief that man is a mortal with a mistake-filled past. Then he said, "Go, and sin no more." John 8:11. Unquestionably this demand carried with it Jesus' conviction that the woman in her real selfhood had never been a sinner and his certainty that this pure selfhood, once seen, would not allow her to act out sin in the future.
Christian Science assures each of us that no matter how dark our past may seem, mistakes can be rectified through a recognition of the Christ. We must purify our present concept of ourselves as human beings with a past by realizing the true idea of God. Then we can see that our immortal being has never ceased to be the sinless idea of Soul, God. God's man is not a sin-prone mortal personality but a spiritual individuality whose real identity is unimpeachable, being maintained by God.
Geoffrey J. Barratt