It has become generally accepted that there is a connection between one’s thinking and one’s health. That’s certainly understood to be the case by anyone who has ever had a healing in Christian Science. But some may wonder: Since thought and health are connected, if we have a physical or mental problem, is it our own fault?
When Christ Jesus’ disciples came across a man blind from his birth, they asked him a similar question (see John 9:1–7). They wanted to know if the man or his parents had sinned to cause his blindness. Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” And then he healed the man of blindness. A Christlike view reveals man (the true, spiritual identity of each one of us) as innocent and pure. And understanding our spiritual faultlessness brings healing.
The Bible reveals that God is Love, and Christian Science is the Science of Love, God. So it’s imperative that Love be reflected in love, in the way we see ourselves and others. As the disciples learned, we can turn thought away from fault-finding, which is not natural to who we truly are. We can see ourselves and others as Christ Jesus did, because we reflect God, who doesn’t know any fault in us. The consciousness of Love prepares thought to see healing unfold.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes, “A mental state of self-condemnation and guilt or a faltering and doubting trust in Truth are unsuitable conditions for healing the sick” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 455).
To experience healing ourselves or help others find healing, we must let go of fear and all its related states of thought, including fault-finding, pride, guilt, judgmentalism, and condemnation. Christ Jesus healed by understanding that God is only Love, leaving no room for Love’s opposites—sin, disease, and death. These are no part of man’s genuine selfhood made in God’s image and likeness.
Suppose after gardening you notice debris on your clothes. You wouldn’t conclude that the dirt was now part of your identity. You’d simply shake it off. Likewise, an illness is never part of one’s identity. The Bible tells us to “shake [ourselves] from the dust” (Isaiah 52:2). We can shake ourselves from the false view of man as made “of the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7), or matter, and see that man is not subject to anything that God does not cause or create.
Before healing the man of blindness, Jesus spat on the dirt, made clay of it, smeared the clay on the man’s eyes, and then told him to wash it off. Perhaps Jesus was symbolically asking him to wash off a false, matter-based view of himself. So, the Christ invites us to let go of the faulty view of man as formed of dust or mortality, and to exchange it for the spiritual model found in Genesis 1, where God made everything “very good.”
The idea of our spiritual faultlessness is not a ticket to do nothing—or anything we want—but an invitation to see more clearly what’s true. In Jesus’ parable of the tares (weeds) and the wheat, a question arises about where the weeds came from. The farmer in the story says: “An enemy hath done this” (Matthew 13:28). Jesus showed that evil is not actually person, place, or thing, but simply the suggested opposite of good; he described the devil as “a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
But saying evil has no power is not enough. It is still imperative to see its powerlessness in the light of God’s all-power. Our healings come more readily when we choose not to give evil life or place in our thinking. Then we see that nothing evil can attach itself to God’s child, because God is All.
There is one God, one Mind—not God plus a person with a second mind that’s to blame.
Mentally drawing the line, refusing to see error as part of God’s child, is the place to start when letting go of fault-finding, blame, guilt, or human judgment. Christian Science shows that animal magnetism (anything that seems to pull thought away from God, good) or any error (the supposed opposite of God, Truth) is not personal to ourselves or others. The First Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), indicates that there is one God, one Mind—not God plus a person with a second mind that’s to blame. It’s a distorted view to see man as controlled by a mortal mind or material brain, separate from the divine Mind.
So, if the ailment is not personal, how do we overcome it? Science and Health instructs that we must first handle the fear of the ailment, and that “disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed” (p. 411). If we accept what appears to be discordant as real and a part of our identity or someone else’s identity, not attributing it to a “false sense,” we will feel stuck with the problem. But if, in humility, we accept that we are the spiritual image and likeness of God, and that the discord is merely the result of a false sense of our identity that we have been entertaining, then we are free to dismiss that false view of ourselves or others and replace it with the true, spiritual facts of existence showing man as whole, pure, and incapable of sin or sickness.
One day my dog retrieved the ball I’d thrown him and came to me bleeding from his mouth, apparently from running into a wall or some other hard object. As I prayed, I was filled with a sense of this dog’s sweet innocence. I started to blame myself for causing the injury, playing with him in the house rather than outside. But, just as it would be unthinkable to blame my dog for the situation, I saw I could hold myself to the same standard of innocence. In that moment, all of the bleeding stopped and my dog was free and playful again.
We can naturally see ourselves and others as pure, just as we view the purity and innocence of Love’s creatures. The only thing worthy of blame is imperfection itself, which is belief, not God’s creation or truth. When presented with a challenge, it can feel difficult to shift our view. But it helps to affirm that what the material senses report is not what man truly is.
Mrs. Eddy posed an important question: “Is the sick man sinful above all others?” (Science and Health, p. 318). In God’s eyes we are faultless, always. However, if a sin is undetected or justified in our thought, it’s vital to see and acknowledge it to ourselves. Otherwise, we are inviting it to continue. “Usually to admit that you are sick, renders your case less curable, while to recognize your sin, aids in destroying it” (Science and Health, p. 461).
If we ever feel ill, does that mean we should put our healing work for others on hold? Mrs. Eddy was once asked a similar question, and noting Paul’s tremendous record of healing despite having a “thorn in the flesh” (II Corinthians 12:7), she replied, “It is unquestionably right to do right; and healing the sick is a very right thing to do” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 71). It’s helpful for healers to see that God is the only healer. Then, they won’t judge their own or another’s spiritual understanding, healing abilities, or receptivity to Christian Science treatment.
Once, when suffering from a form of contagion, I had people reach out for prayerful help regarding the same disease. At first I was tempted to feel helpless, but prayer pointed to my God-reflected purity, and I accepted those cases. Thanks to divine Love’s all-power and all-presence made plain in prayer, those individuals were quickly healed, and my healing came shortly after.
As we see Christ’s view—what Jesus understood—a false, impure view is washed away. When we see what’s true, it’s impossible to blame ourselves or others for a problem. As God’s spiritual reflection, we can see only what Christ, Truth, does—God’s faultless image.
Interested in more more Journal content?
Subscribe to JSH-Online to access The Christian Science Journal, along with the Christian Science Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science. Get unlimited access to current issues, the searchable archive, podcasts, audio for issues, biographies about Mary Baker Eddy, and more. Already a subscriber? Log in