How Do You View Yourself?
Thomas O. Poyser, C.S.B., of Dallas, Texas
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Have you ever painted by the number? I mean those hobby kits that let you paint by filling in colors on a printed outline. As you paint in the numbered colors, a picture appears. It may be a landscape, a seascape, a person.
In effect, isn't this what we do every time we form conclusions about either ourself or someone else? Think of the mental pictures people paint! What do you see when you look at yourself or for that matter think of someone else? Tall, short — white, black, tan, some other color — blonde or red-head? After all, that's just outward appearance. It's what's inside a man that really tells what he's like. It's here you find beauty, goodness, character. But sometimes we think we see limitation or lack, illness or discord, irritation, anger, selfishness. So just what is the real him or her, the real you or me?
All too often, we follow misconceptions of ourselves, of others, even of things, down the road to disappointment and failure. It's like catching a quick glimpse of someone in a crowd, making a snap judgment about him, and assuming that's his real identity.
Or how about the sort of people TV advertisers suggestively picture us to be? Victim of headache, upset stomach, virus, cold, sun-burn, sleepless night, etc. — etc. and etc.! You'd have to be the sickest person in the world — and so would everyone else — if these pictures were true!
Well, I've a book of pictures of you here, and they're really true. It isn't a photo album of the usual nature, but it presents a multitude of views of you and of me, and of your neighbor and mine. The Bible! That's the book. It really is a sort of a photo album. Its pages contain countless word-pictures accurately depicting in detail your real origin, nature, and destiny.
And here in the beginning is one of the most complete and descriptive views of you in the whole book. It's in the first chapter of Genesis. Let me read it. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis l:26). Now a likeness of anything shares the nature and qualities of its original. And the Bible teaches that God is Spirit. Then His image and likeness — all that expresses God — must be spiritual!
So right here at the very beginning of the Bible, your real selfhood is established as wholly spiritual. In our discussion now, let's see how an understanding of this can greatly improve your view of yourself. How it can make a great difference in your life. How it can help us all realize more of what we might call the fullness of our being.
Man: the Wholly Spiritual Likeness of God
The words "image" and "likeness" in the passage we've just read in Genesis have a special meaning in Christian Science. Perhaps I can illustrate this.
Suppose you could look at yourself through a telescope. What would you see? From one end you'd see an enlarged, magnified view of yourself. From the other end you'd see a reduced, miniature likeness of yourself. But neither of these views would be really correct. They'd both be distorted. One would have you appear inflated, the other deflated. Don't look at yourself through a telescope! Any such views of yourself are no more correct representations of you than the mortal bodies we find populating the earth are the real likeness of Spirit, God. The likeness of Spirit must be wholly spiritual!
The well known physicist, Dr. Vannevar Bush, writes: "There are two aspects of man's being: this I know. . .The process of evolution did not teach us to rejoice in the beauty of nature. Nor did it produce concepts of honor and integrity. . .Those who are most close to the physical order of things judge that they examine only a part of the ancient quest, only a part of man's destiny on this earth (American Scientist, Vol. 59, p. 674, November-December, 1971 Society of Sigma Xi, New Haven, CT 06510)." To the physical scientist, these "two aspects of man's being" — the spiritual and material concepts Dr. Bush considers in his statement may appear equally valid. But Christian Science takes a different position.
This Science contests the biological view of man as merely a molecular structure subject to laws of physical heredity and that can be programmed by a genetic code called DNA. This may be what a mortal appears to be. But man's real identity in the image and likeness of God is something different. He's the wholly spiritual man Christ Jesus recognized and exemplified. He showed that man's actually the offspring of divine Spirit, God.
Jesus was the Son of God. This enabled Jesus to see through the illusion of material existence and to lift others to realize their spiritual identity, their likeness to God, the creator of all. Jesus referred to God, not only as his Father, but as "thy" Father and "our" Father — as your Father and mine. This means that we, too, everyone — are sons of God.
But what does it mean to be sons or children of God? The Bible, and especially the teachings of Jesus, certainly establish the fatherhood of God and sonship of man. And this relationship implies the qualities of motherhood, too. The motherhood of God is also indicated in the Bible. For example, the Prophet Isaiah recognized this when he heard God declare: "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you" (Isaiah 66: 13). Isaiah sensed something of the motherhood of God. When we understand that God is our divine Mother as well as Father, then we can see more clearly what it means to be children of God.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, also discerned God's motherhood. She was led to this by her deep research into the Bible and by her own personal experience. As a child, she'd deeply loved her human mother and appreciated the tender qualities of motherhood. This appreciation carried over into her adult life. Then, as a young mother herself — and as a widow in ill-health and without, means of support — she had her only child taken from her by members of her family. She felt this unnatural separation deeply — as would any devoted mother. Efforts to regain her son proved fruitless; and for long periods of time, she knew nothing of his whereabouts. All attempts to satisfy a starved sense of her own motherhood were disappointing. But gradually her human longing became quieted by an abiding love for children everywhere and by a penetrating perception of God's tender, all-encompassing love for His entire creation.
We find this expressed in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Here she writes: "Spirit duly feeds and clothes every object, as it appears in the line of spiritual creation, thus tenderly expressing the fatherhood and motherhood of God" (p. 507). Understanding our spiritual selfhood as children of our divine Father-Mother God brings assurance that we're cared for. It means having all our human needs divinely met.
God's Father-Motherhood Experienced
For example, there's a young mother and housewife I know. She once lived in a farming community with her children and husband. He traveled on business and she taught school there. Each month was a challenge to make ends meet. In fact one day the cupboards were completely bare! That evening she cried almost all the way home. Her husband was out of town; she was penniless; there was nothing to feed the children.
But as a student of Christian Science, she'd been learning something of man's spiritual selfhood in the likeness of God. She reasoned that if you ask God for bread, He doesn't give you a stone; that Jesus says to ask, and we'll receive. She recalled the response of the father in Jesus' parable: "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." (Luke 15:31).
She turned in thought to God: "These are your children, Father, and you can and do care for them." She remembered how Jesus fed the multitude, not ignoring their human needs: that as well as teaching them spiritual truths, he provided food in abundance for them from a few loaves and fishes.
"When she arrived home, she found on her porch a sack of corn, a sack of onions, a sack of tomatoes — all placed there by a neighbor unaware of her plight. Here was supper! While she prepared it, another neighbor appeared with a loaf of homemade bread, and even some butter. With more tears, but now of gratitude, she couldn't help thinking: "All right, Father, here's the loaf. Where're the fishes?"
Later that night there was a knock on the door. And you know the familiar saying: "God works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform!" For here was still another neighbor, saying that if she'd share her freezer, they'd share some — fish! Her son had just caught over 50 of them! As she and her neighbor took on the job of loading the freezer, she could certainly rejoice in God's goodness — goodness that's continued to appear in her family's progressive experience.
Jesus never ignored human needs. But he showed our most basic needs to be an understanding of God as Spirit and that the things or ideas of Spirit are vital to human experience. He said: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matthew 6:33). Existence is subjective. As the mother really understood the nature of God as a loving Parent caring for His children, her needs were met. This understanding operated to adjust her experience harmoniously.
In other words, our sense of spiritual substance will appear in ways we can see and enjoy humanly. As we realize the spiritual nature of being — our true existence — then progress and substance will appear according to our human need — though not necessarily according to human wants. And let's face it. Our wants often exceed our needs!
The Healing Effect of Spiritual Qualities
But our real need is to know more about what God is. Then we'll experience His care for us. For only as we know God can we really know and be ourselves in His likeness.
Jesus revealed God to be Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love, the Father of all. Christian Science additionally shows that God is perpetual Principle, the origin of all true law and order. It reveals Him as creative Mind, the all-inclusive intelligence of man and the universe, as immortal Soul, the source of all true beauty, dignity, satisfaction.
These words: Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Principle, Mind, each beginning with a capital letter, are synonymous terms, or names, for God as understood in Christian Science. In their infinite shades of meaning, they present His allness and oneness. And they point to your complete spiritual selfhood, constituted of God's divine qualities — such qualities as strength, integrity, understanding, radiance, dominion, vitality, intelligence. These qualities, and infinitely more — all expressive of their divine source — comprise your real being. They reveal the "well-rounded" person that is you, much as the colors complete the picture on the numbered outline. We don't originate these qualities, but we do embody them each in our own individual, original way.
It's rather like certain beautiful butterflies. Their wings present many variations of iridescent colors. These colors come mainly from tiny cells on the wings. These cells reflect and refract light much as a diamond or dew-drop does. What we see isn't so much pigmentation on the wings as glowing rainbow hues of refracted light. In much the same way, your unique spiritual identity shines through the divine qualities you embody.
Paul puts it this way: "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4). In other words, when Christ, the compounded or many-splendored light of Truth, which Jesus so fully and consistently demonstrated, illumines your consciousness, you can see your true selfhood — the individualization of all of the qualities of God's infinite nature.
A friend once wrote me: "I'm finally getting to know myself." Then she told me of this experience. An unsightly growth had appeared on her face. She became self-conscious, resentful, and rather fearful about it. She sought to reject the sense of self as material and to recognize her spiritual identity, without spot or blemish. She sought to get rid of false pride and to see that her true selfhood is the expression of God, including all spiritual qualities as His image and likeness. She sought to embody more of these qualities and to be more loving and compassionate. One day she noticed the growth had loosened slightly and a few days later awoke one morning to find it entirely gone. As she ceased giving it a place in her thought as a part of her selfhood, it ceased to be part of her experience.
A few years ago there was a popular song with the refrain: "Getting to know you. . ." Really, that's what it's all about! Getting to know yourself and others as really the image and likeness of God — spiritual, perfect, complete — as children of one infinite, loving Father-Mother God. We do this as we embody the spiritual qualities constituting man's true selfhood, the individualized expression of Spirit, God. When you recognize your origin to be spiritual, your view of yourself certainly improves!
"The road that leads to life.."
Robert Frost wrote
("The Road Not Taken," The Pocket Book of Robert Frost's Poems, Pocket Books, Inc., New York, N.Y., August 1954):
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
We've considered to this point that our real selfhood is wholly spiritual, the individualized expression of God. But popular concepts often present quite a different picture — that man is material and totally subject to a material, physical environment. Which concept of your identity is really the basis and truth of being?
The two roads are certainly always before us of defining our selfhood in either spiritual or material terms. But by this I don't mean two equally valid choices! For example, suppose tomorrow you must start off on a cross country motor trip, and that it's important for you to complete the trip as quickly as legally proper. Your highway would probably pass through areas where there are cities and towns and would be marked "Business Route" and "By-Pass." The logical choice would be to take the By-Pass. And in much the same way, as we follow the leadings of divine wisdom and Truth, our path will be in the only really valid direction: the way of selfhood that's spiritual — what Jesus once called "the road that leads to life."
Mrs. Eddy found this road. As she pondered the example of Christ Jesus, she saw that it never mattered to him whether the problem he faced was of a moral or physical nature. He wasted no time with the false view of man as a sick or sinful mortal. Instead, he saw the presence of pure spiritual selfhood: healthy, whole, sinless, free. The healing influence and saving power of the Christ was always adequate in either case. It was this same Christly power that healed and inspired Mrs. Eddy. And ever afterward, she devoted herself to the healing of mankind's physical as well as moral ills. She took the spiritual road "less traveled by."
Much of the world's current thinking looks for satisfaction in material pleasure. But the road less traveled by makes a big difference. It's the difference of the all-harmonious way of life taught and practiced by Christ Jesus, the difference an understanding of man's unity with God can make in revealing our immunity to evil and discord.
How can we find and follow this road? First of all, it's gained only by holding in thought the spiritual facts of being, of life defined in terms of Spirit and Spirit's creation. And if we diverge into some other road, if we seem to incur some sort of inharmony — illness, limitation, or other discord — we can regain the proper road by searching out the correct concept of ourselves as spiritual, not material. This requires commitment to the Christ, as exemplified by Jesus. The Christ gives us the power to follow the road of spiritual satisfaction, to see ourselves as we really are, to free ourselves from discord and inharmony. In other words, as Science and Health points out: "The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine son-ship" (Science and Health, p. 316).
Finding Our Highest Selfhood
One of the major problems facing our country today, as well as much of the rest of the world, is drug abuse. Huge amounts of money are spent each year in trying to stop the flow of illicit drugs and eliminate their dangerous misuse. But these efforts, though well intentioned, haven't been very successful. They don't get to the real core of the problem of drug abuse, to the deeper problems of drug addiction. These stem basically from mental attitudes — a low self-esteem, an unsatisfying image of oneself, a feeling of something missing in one's nature or experience, a mental addiction to escapism, fantasy, or greed. What's really needed, it seems to me, is education — moral and spiritual education.
This is a fundamental purpose of Christian Science. For example, in providing in the Church Manual for the authorized teaching of this religion, Mrs. Eddy says of its motive: "Teaching Christian Science shall not be a question of money, but of morals and religion, healing and uplifting the race" (Church Manual, p. 83). The fuller answer, then, in the light of Christian Science, to drug abuse or to any questionable conduct is spiritual healing and uplift that leads to selfhood untarnished by matter and materialism.
You know pure gold never tarnishes. You and I may not have a gold mine in our back yard, but there's a mother-lode in everyone: the spiritual qualities comprising his real selfhood in the likeness of God. Sometimes this treasure may seem buried and need digging out. At other times, there may seem need for refinement of human character. The possibilities, though are unlimited.
I know of a young man, who as a boy was exposed to Christian Science. But in his early teens, he drifted away, dropped out of school, and ran away from home. He became involved in the drug culture. He joined a traveling carnival, where he found a loose sort of living conducive to the drug life he thought he enjoyed. There were periods of wandering about the country, joblessness, and a time in jail.
After his release, he sought out his grandmother, an active Christian Scientist, to see if he could live with her. She was willing, provided he return to school, get a job, attend church with her, and study the weekly Bible Lessons in the Christian Science Quarterly. He agreed to these conditions. With his study he began to find a new peace and love for good. He found that Bible truths can be applied to circumstances of daily life. He found the joy, love, and happiness of spiritual selfhood, awakening to the spiritual man each one is rather than the mortal he appears to be.
Now he says: "I know that my being is spiritual and it's a growing understanding that has gotten me away, that has totally eliminated my desire to turn on, that it's a bringing yourself to the oneness of divine Mind, Love, and Truth that heals, that has brought freedom from drugs." He found the road less traveled by and the untarnished gold of spiritual selfhood!
The real answer to the serious ethical and moral problems facing our world is an uplifted spiritual sense of life. When we see ourselves as children of God, we're able to comply with the moral standards of the Bible. These standards have helped mankind to its present point of progress. They're equally important in continuing to move humanity constructively forward into new dimensions of progress. As Science and Health observes: "We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing that hinders our highest selfhood." (Science and Health, p. 68). Nothing can equal the self-control and spiritual discipline resulting from recognition of man's relationship to his divine source and from honoring and respecting the goodness and nobility inherent in man's highest selfhood in ourselves and others. This isn't mere idealism! It's practical and provable.
Christ Jesus the Perfect Example
Christ Jesus spent no time on simple idealism. He applied his ideals to human experience. Mrs. Eddy observes: "Jesus came announcing Truth, and saying not only 'the kingdom of God is at hand,' but 'the kingdom of God is within you' " (No and Yes, p. 35). Realization, then, of God's kingdom is a subjective experience — it's not "up there" or "out there" or "over here." It's the degree of our conscious awareness of God and our unity with Him. It results from cultivating within ourselves the spiritual qualities that flow from our divine source. The coming of God's kingdom lies in our grasping His newness. The key to this kingdom is our unity with God, understood and utilized. It's as close as thought embracing it and as distant as thought indifferent to it. Paul sees it as "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27), or as many Bible scholars would translate it: "Christ right among you."
Science and Health defines Christ as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (Science and Health, p. 583). Incarnate error is whatever is abnormal in human experience, whether physical or moral ill. Jesus healed all sorts of human ills through the Christ, the presence and power of God operative in human consciousness. He of all men fully exemplified the Christ. Therefore he is mankind's supreme Example.
Jesus' uniqueness as the fullest example of the spiritual idea manifest in the flesh exists to inspire you and me. There's no human consciousness cut off from the Christ. Anyone can experience it as he claims and embraces his spiritual sonship of divine selfhood, untarnished by matter and materiality. Individual human consciousness is the stage or field where this is possible.
You probably recall Jesus' parable of the tares and wheat. An enemy, you may remember, came and sowed tares or weeds in a man's wheat field. His servants suggested they be pulled out. The landowner cautioned that this might root up the wheat. He recommended they wait until the harvest. Then the tares could be burned and the wheat gathered into barns.
Harvests are usually considered to be seasonal things. But there is a harvest that's continuous — it goes on all the time! We're always entertaining thoughts; and these thoughts shape our lives. So if we separate out and burn the tares — all thoughts that are unchristlike — and gather into our storehouse, our individual consciousness, the spiritual ideas and qualities that constitute right thinking and true being, this is real harvesting! But sometimes we're so concerned with the tares, or negative qualities, we associate with another that we overlook the ones we've been cultivating in our own field, our own consciousness.
In this harvesting the Christian Scientist doesn't ignore the apparent existence of evil and temptation. He works for their elimination by knowing that God, being wholly good, is never the originator of evil. God is infinite intelligence and all-power. There's no creative source apart from Him. God is Spirit, so matter and materiality must be illusive and unreal. Evil isn't simply the objectification of nothingness; it's not the objectification of anything. It's an illusory trick of the physical or personal senses, a misconception of what actually exists in the realm of Mind, God. It's like the stars that seem to move across the sky at night but are really stationary. It's something that only seems to be but really isn't because it lacks divine cause. It's a misinterpretation of the facts of true selfhood, presenting blurry pictures of the nature of God, man, and existence.
So the means of solving the human equation, then, lies in seeing better what our nature spiritually is. As we do this, the Christ power brings healing and real satisfaction into our experience. And this certainly does make a difference!
The Fulness of Being
I saw this poster one day: "I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and your are not in this world to live up to my expectations. And if by chance we meet, it's beautiful." Well, the really beautiful life is ours as we experience man's true selfhood in the likeness of God.
And we've been discussing something of the nature of true selfhood and how it's free of any element of matter or materiality. Now let's see how an understanding of this can free us to enjoy a fuller life, a greater sense of what we earlier called the fulness of being.
We're all entitled to life unburdened by physical limitations, life free to experience the joys of God's goodness and man's true selfhood — life patterned after the teachings and example of Christ Jesus. Here's a life-style anyone can adopt!
We hear a lot these days about life-styles and of the desires of many people to set their own pattern of living. There are many customs — new as well as old — that can add needed beauty, balance, and stability to human life. But the basic requirement in determining a life-style, it seems to me, is for us to know what our true spiritual life and identity are and to live accordingly. This can result in a view of ourselves expanding, far beyond anything we may have thought possible! If the image-seeker really knew his true image, his likeness to God, he wouldn't seek a new image!
Whatever we do gives others a picture of us. It may be true or it may be false. It may be good and it may be bad. For example, there's a man I know of. One day he locked himself out of his car. It was at a busy shopping center. While he was trying to get back in with a coat hanger, a funny thing happened. Up walked a policeman! The man explained he was locked out, it was his car. You know the reply: "Oh sure it is!" Well appearances can sometimes be deceiving. So we see the importance of trying always to be all that we really are. For what really matters is the true image right here at hand for everyone to see and be — man in God's likeness.
Here you can see that you're not a limited mortal, a fragmented, partitioned, pigeon-holed assemblage of parts, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde multi-personality. This may be the mental view you and others have held, a superficial impression resulting from outward appearance. Instead, though, you reflect the allness of God in your spiritual individuality, the oneness of Spirit in your Christly identity. This is what you can experience as all views of yourself as mortal and material are replaced with full recognition of man as spiritual.
This may not be something you do all at once! Like an automobile, we've got to go through all the gears. We've got to see the illusory nature of material existence and let spiritual facts permeate our thinking and order our lives. As we do this we can begin to pattern the goodness and perfection illustrated in the life and works of Christ Jesus.
"I find no fault in this man. . ."
Jesus is history's greatest demonstrator of the purity, perfection, and fulness of man's being. So compelling were his goodness, his spirituality, his Christliness, that something of his true selfhood was recognized even by Pilate, who said: "I find no fault in this man" (Luke 23:4). I wonder if Pilate would have been able to say the same of you and me! In other words, don't most of us exhibit many faults that need eliminating?
Jesus perceived the perfection and allness of good, God and man in His likeness, and the nothingness of anything unlike this spiritual unity of being. The writer of Hebrews says of him, that he "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Hebrews 1:9). This spiritual self-knowledge and self-control — loving good and living it — were the innocence that characterized Jesus. They can show us the way to a fuller life. As we cultivate in a degree the same sort of spiritual consciousness maintained by Jesus, we can progressively enjoy a greatly enriched experience, an experience leading into the fulness of being, our selfhood wholly spiritual in the image and likeness of God.
Mrs. Eddy once stated in an address: "Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives'' (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 110). These qualities are just as necessary today as in the 19th century. They appear as part of the fulness of our being when we see our true selfhood as the likeness of God.
Mankind's ethics and morals today are being subjected to extreme pressures as world consciousness gropes its way through a maze of problems. It needs the "innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives" of Christ-minded and Christ-impelled people. We might ponder where we stand today in our contacts with the world, which so needs healing and spiritualization. Do we indulge in the gossip, the criticism, the fault-finding that so darken the human scene? Or do we look for and support the good, as Jesus did?
For he clearly exhibited the fulness of man's being, the Christ. This enabled him to recognize the perfection of another's true identity, even as the human senses pictured a victim of sin, sickness, death, or other discord. As we understand man's identity as spiritual, we'll see in others the fulness of their spiritual being. This will enable us to kick the destructive habit of fault-finding and replace it with the more constructive practice of Christ-finding — looking for and finding the divine element ever present in everyone. This is the true Christ-identity and beauty of our friend, our neighbor, our relative, our business associate, our fellow church member, as well as of ourself!
The Importance of Christ-finding
It may not always seem easy to follow this line of Christ-finding, especially if someone has seemed to do wrong or to wrong us. But Christian Science can let us see through this masquerade of error to the true spiritual selfhood of anyone. We must surrender within ourselves any ungodlike qualities to the true Christlike nature of man in the image of God. It's the only way to the fulness of being!
I once worked under a man whom I admired and liked very much. And I believe he liked me too. But we seemed to have quite different views about many things. This resulted in frequent instances of friction and fault-finding. It even seemed we enjoyed exposing each other's faults — at least a lot of mine became exposed while I was looking for some in him! Eventually I saw the need to correct and heal this relationship. And I'm sure he did, too. I had to stop looking at him and myself as two quarreling mortals. Instead, I sought to see the man God made: spiritual, harmonious, satisfied.
This wasn't altogether easy, though, for it required my facing up to and surrendering many faults within myself in order to see the fulness of the Christ in him. But the effort gradually paid off in many ways: in improved relations between us, in my work and personal affairs, and especially in a wonderful sense of growing freedom from the restrictive bondage of finding fault with others. And I find this effort still helpful in the sort of continuing contacts with the world all of us have. The world's too small a place for us to indulge in the questionable luxury of petty criticism and over sensitiveness. These are the roots of fault-finding! Our thinking determines our life-style and our destiny. As we see the presence of the Christ in everyone, we'll enjoy more fault-free lives ourselves and gain a sense of the freer life belonging to us all. This is the fulness of being that lets you see yourself as you really are!
One evening in Europe I found a police summons on the windshield of my car. The summons directed me to report at once to the local police station. Here I was told I'd driven through a red traffic light. The police identified the location and set the time as some 30 days earlier. They'd been looking for me ever since!
An automatic camera had photographed the event, and from this picture they'd recorded my license number, which had enabled an alert policeman to tag my car that night. I asked to see the picture. Sure enough, there was a car going through a red light. But look! It wasn't my car, and it wasn't my license number! A misconception had resulted in recording my number rather than the actual one. They'd gotten a wrong picture in their heads!
Isn't that what people persist in doing! How often we've been guilty of doing the same thing! Don't indulge in misconceptions of yourself, of others, of things! They're just red-herrings that hinder and confuse. Let's get rid of them! The world about us may project views of violence, poverty, wrong doing, — all sorts of grime. We may sometimes even seem stuck in this mire and impatient of getting out of it. Perhaps we've been looking at ourselves and others through a telescope! Perhaps we've taken a wrong turn! Perhaps we've failed to recognize the Christ in ourself and others. Christian Science can enable us to turn all that around. For Science and Health observes: "The crude creations of mortal thought must finally give place to the glorious forms which we sometimes behold in the camera of divine Mind, when the mental picture is spiritual and eternal" (Science and Health, p. 264). In other words, let's put the correct colors into the picture — the Christ qualities that form man's real selfhood. This is the true view of you!
[Published in The Tulsa County (Oklahoma) News, April 18, 1974.]