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.
The main metaphysical concepts that impelled my efforts before, during, and after the trip were simple; I thought: Truth is true now; error has never been true and never will be; if I bear active witness to the truth of God and man in my consciousness, and conform my conduct thereto, the love of God will be felt tangibly by my family.
I remembered the words of Christ Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount "Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil,"
Matt. 5:37. 3. and determined to silently say "yes" in my thought to whatever would affirm an individual's true nature as the reflection of divine Principle, Love, and "no" to whatever would negate it. I had a wonderful time prayerfully embracing my loved ones in their Godlikeness, while at the same time firmly and vigorously discarding from my thought anything (arising from my observation of human behavior or characteristics) that could be felt as criticism. This mental activity kept me busy, and out of trouble, and greatly added to my own and everyone else's enjoyment of the event.
Doesn't it make your heart sing to know the good that divine Love can bring out in others as you discipline yourself in accord with the ethics of love!
When we got ready to leave, one family member (who had not on previous occasions found it easy to enjoy family gatherings or to make them pleasant for others) said it was the best time we had ever had together. It was. Doesn't it make your heart sing to know the good that divine Love can bring out in others as you discipline yourself in accord with the ethics of Love!
My heart sang all the way home that Memorial Day, even though the normally five-hour trip took twelve hours because of car trouble that kept my husband and son busily tending to an overheating radiator in pouring rain. I joyfully and decisively continued my silent affirmations of Truth, and denials of error, as we plodded along. Good humor never ceased. Not a complaint was uttered. We had a Love-filled trip with only happy aftereffects. I remember that holiday trip as a landmark event in my practice of Christian Science—one that showed me more clearly than ever before how our skill as spiritual healers is developed as we work diligently to illustrate the ethics of Science in our daily lives.
In the chapter "Teaching Christian Science" in Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says, "The teacher must make clear to students the Science of healing, especially its ethics,—that all is Mind, and that the Scientist must conform to God's requirements."
Science and Heallh, pp. 444-445.
Today, in a society that seems in many ways to be losing its bearings morally and spiritually, people are groping for a reliable standard of universal values upon which to base human conduct. The Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, make God's universal standard clear to any sincere student. These books explain the true nature of God and His creation, they elucidate the spiritual laws by which God governs all things harmoniously, and they show how you can bring healing into every aspect of human life through adhering to these laws. Through learning the ethics of Science—the allness of divine Mind and the need to discipline yourself to conform to God's requirement to work as He works—think what you are doing to lift up Love's standard for others to see and to be inspired by!