It's one thing to know that man is the spiritual image and likeness of God, who is the divine Principle of reality. It's quite another thing to make a commitment within oneself to live according to this divine standard and to exercise the vigorous self-discipline such a commitment entails. But, to keep one's own heart and conduct in constant agreement with the spiritual truth of God and man, is to illustrate the ethics of divine Love in healing. That prospect should be enough to give anyone cause to relish the endeavor. And daily life gives every one of us plenty of opportunities to do so, not the least of which is in our relations with other people.
Personally, and by way of various types of media sources, we come in contact with many people—family members, colleagues, public servants, friends, neighbors (near and far), fellow church members, individuals on the streets and in the stores, people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. And people are at all different stages of moral and spiritual development. What are we to do when the words and deeds of others seem to us to fall short of God's standard for man? It can be so easy to slip into the trap of judging people, when we could be unselfishly bringing our own thought and conduct in line with Christ, Truth, which makes clear to human thought a higher course of action, and inspires people to want to follow it.
One time when my husband, our youngest child, and I were going to be visiting our daughter, her husband, and their three children for a long holiday weekend, I came across this passage in Mrs. Eddy's autobiographical work, Retrospection and Introspection: "Mere historic incidents and personal events are frivolous and of no moment, unless they illustrate the ethics of Truth."
Ret., p. 21. I pondered that statement over and over during the days just prior to our trip. As with any family gathering that would naturally be held in memory and talked about during subsequent family visits, this one too would become a "historic incident" in our own family history. I prayed to understand what I could contribute throughout the trip and the visit that would help this event to "illustrate the ethics of Truth." The answer was that I could keep guard over my own consciousness from moment to moment to be sure that my thoughts, words, and deeds carried conversation and activity in directions that would bring out the good to be found in the past, present, and future.