You may have wondered, as I have, just what more the Apostle Paul could have said in order to convince King Agrippa of the Christ. In describing the dramatic events involving his own conversion, Paul must have spoken with a compelling fervor. And the king's heart must have been touched. "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."Acts 26:28. Almost. But not quite.
Yes, I've wondered what more Paul might have conveyed because, perhaps like you, I've shared Christian Science with my fellowman, and I've yearned to see him grasp this promised Comforter. And some have. But others—well, like Agrippa, not quite.
Have you felt this longing, felt a deep wish that the world would more quickly awake to the blessings of this Science of Christianity? Maybe you've invited a neighbor to a lecture, or at work given a copy of the Christian Science Sentinel to a friend, or asked your spouse to read through Science and Health. If your efforts have lighted in someone's thought an initial interest in Science but that interest has dimmed or disappeared, you may want to pray about what more was needed.
The key to helping someone truly find Christian Science lies in fostering his spiritual sense. But too often, I suspect, we neglect enough nourishing and encouraging of that faculty; our desire to share may slip into what could be described as an appeal more to the human senses. It may be a noble appeal—one strong with logic or persuasiveness or earnest desire—but only by awakened spiritual sense in individual consciousness will a friend be able to grasp divine Science and maintain his interest in it.
Conveying to another our love of the Christ, Truth, calls for a dimension much beyond the way we would share our enthusiasm for football or ballet, a political position or a special place we've visited. Nor is our goal one of pressuring someone into a change of mind—a goal that others sometimes may aim for in their active efforts to proselytize.
The change in your friend's mind is more the effect than the cause of spiritual awakening. This true awakening is impelled by the Christ. Your role is to be a witness to the presence and activity of Christ, Truth. No, our need isn't really to make our fellowman believe Christian Science—as if it were just another religion vying for his allegiance. In answer to the question "How would you define Christian Science?" Mrs. Eddy writes, "As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony."Rudimental Divine Science, p. 1.
And so we are encouraging our friend's ability to perceive God's law. Such a goal calls for a deeply spiritual motivation; something much more divine than the imposition of one person's views on another. What, then, is involved in fostering and supporting someone's spiritual sense? How can our convictions be conveyed effectively?
An important beginning is a genuine love for the real identity of those you wish to help. The more we discern someone as the child of God—instead of an unreceptive or even antagonistic mortal—the more effectively we ourselves will be able to see that he possesses spiritual sense. And every single individual does have this pure and good element of consciousness; it's fundamental to one's true nature. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy explains what this means to us: "Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God."Science and Health, p. 209.
What you are appreciating, even cherishing, in another is his or her inherent capacity to discern God and His law of infinite perfection. Now, that approach reveals quite a different motive from merely trying to get someone to accept your religious beliefs. We simply can't talk material sense into spiritual sense. Paul insists, "The natural man [material sense] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."I Cor. 2:14.
Yes, we surely can appeal to spiritual sense. And in cultivating a thorough conviction that no one lacks the capacity to discern God, we will sharpen our ability to specifically recognize this fact in a friend. We might be surprised, as we begin to see hints in his life and actions of how truly active, not dormant, a spiritual sense he does have.
The world would try to dull the "conscious, constant capacity to understand God." With violence and fear, materialism and apathy, mortal mind would claim to crowd out or obscure people's ability to recognize and feel the truth of being. Christian Science describes such resistive influence as animal magnetism. Science shows animal magnetism to be hypnotism— mesmeric mental suggestion. The evil that would silence spiritual sense is not a power. And as we rejoice in the presence of the Christ, the divine influence urging perfection, the human mind's preoccupation with its substanceless dreams is broken.
How defeating it might seem if our job were to convince a mortal mind—or a dozen or a billion of them—of God and His law of good. Our work is a joy; it is to champion and discern and appreciate the spiritual sense our fellowman already has. The better we do this, the less often he will almost be persuaded of Science. Instead, he will feel the outreach of our Christliness and will increasingly love what his spiritual sense reveals to him.
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