These words came to me at a time of doubt and discouragement. While I was exploring the dictionary meanings of the term ''pussyfooting,'' this definition stood out: ''to shy away from a definite commitment or from taking a firm stand.'' In thinking it over, I realized that this described, in some degree, my own inability to deal successfully with inharmonious thoughts and situations.
With the help of the Christian Science textbooks, the Bible, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, n1 I set out to work and pray for an answer. Time was spent studying many Bible accounts, including the one about Christ Jesus being tempted three times by the devil after fasting for forty days in the wilderness. n2 Jesus quickly rejected the devil's suggestions. The third one, the most spectacular ploy, was a promise to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if the Master would only bow down and worship him. Jesus' immediate response was, ''Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.'' Then we are told that the devil left Jesus, and ''angels came and ministered unto him.''
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 See Matthew 4:1-11.
In her writings, Mrs. Eddy stresses the allness of God, good, and the powerlessness - even the unreality - of evil. In Science and Health she states: ''Nothing is real and eternal, - nothing is Spirit, - but God and His idea. Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.'' n3
n3 Science and Health,m p. 71.
Gradually, I began to realize that if only goodness was real, and there were not two realities, it was my divine right to quickly come to terms with thoughts of inharmony by seeing them as invalid, totally unreal. I saw, then, that if the errors that would claim my attention were unreal, it would be useless, a waste of time, to try to find a cause for them or wonder how long they would last. I could see there was nothing to fear or be fascinated by, and no point in attempting appeasement. Quite clearly, then, the best way to deal with evil would be to quickly deny its claim to existence and accept its opposite, the all-encompassing goodness that God knows and bestows upon His creation. This wouldn't be ignoring evil or pretending it didn't exist, but rather dealing with it from the most effective standpoint.
This growing understanding helped my husband and me when we received a phone call from our daughter, who was a college student. She informed us of the way she proposed to spend the approaching summer vacation, a way that seemed to us unwise and not promotive of moral or spiritual growth.
As a result of the prayerful thinking we had already done along the lines just described, we were not tempted to pussyfoot with the challenge. We saw at once that it was essential, and loving for all concerned, to take a firm stand against the proposed plan, and we did this with no hesitation. However, it did not seem wise, or even possible at this point, for us to insist that our daughter accept our decision. Rather, we let her know of our faith in her ability and desire to truly listen for divine guidance.
At the end of the phone call, though our daughter still seemed determined to carry out her plan, we were not concerned. Having calmly and clearly stated our position, we felt quite free to trust the outcome to God. She soon wrote to us saying she had decided to abandon the idea. Later, she expressed appreciation for the quick, strong stand that had been taken.
Pussyfooting with evil can be a painful and time-wasting process. But a clear understanding of God's all-encompassing goodness, and a firm decision to reject error as unreal, illegitimate, can bring about its quick demise. This opens the way for good to flow into our experience. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . . Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10, 11, 13