`TO day I must abide at thy house,'' Jesus told Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector. Because of his occupation, others (and perhaps Zacchaeus himself) believed him unworthy of having one so esteemed as Jesus enter his home. Jesus' response, however, rebuked such harsh judgment: ``This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.''1 The Bible indicates that from that day forward Zacchaeus was a changed man.
Doesn't this gospel incident tell us all that there is not an individual or home or family so unworthy as to be outside the possibility of being touched by the healing Christ?
Christ Jesus' loving and powerful presence touched and healed many lives. Besides Zacchaeus, for example, there was the man from Gadara (who lived isolated among the tombs, suffering from insanity), Jairus's daughter, who lay gravely ill, and the epileptic boy, whose father no doubt suffered deeply himself as he watched his son suffer. Each of these cases was healed through Jesus' understanding of God's supreme power and perpetual care for man.
Though that unique man Jesus is not with us today, the loving presence of the Christ, the divine healing influence, remains. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, studied Jesus' life and work in great depth. She writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christis without beginning of years or end of days.'' And in a helpful explanation of Christ, she says, ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.''2
``Fine!'' we may say. ``But this household needs more than a pep talk! We have some real problems here! Just how can this Christ help us?''
The ``how'' lies partly in wholeheartedly accepting the Christly messages that God in His love for us constantly sends our way. One of the most important of these messages is that our true selfhood is spiritual, perfect at this moment in every detail, because that's the way God made man. God's likeness is blessed, not victimized; therefore we are worthy to have a troublesome aspect of our lives healed. We may believe that we or someone in our family is so inextricably locked in self-defeating ways as to make us or him unworthy of something better. We may feel we deserve no better than the consequent trouble. Yet within the spiritual view of man we find nothing of the kind! Christ ``voices good'' to our thought, constantly. This message tells of an Almighty God of love and intelligence, who has created man pure and good.
Though the road to actually realizing our true, spiritual selfhood may seem difficult, we all can understand ourselves as God's image and likeness to greater and greater degrees every day. And the results will show.
Once we understand our spiritually based worth, progress and healing can replace feelings of unworthiness. We have a foundation -- the truth of our being as God knows it.
A small situation was corrected through receptivity to ``the true idea voicing good.'' I was homemaker at that time but was in the habit of putting off any dinner preparation until the last minute. The result? Often diaper changes, a hungry second-grader, a tired spouse, and a late dinner all came down on me at once. Each time this happened my first thoughts bordered on self-condemnation for allowing it to happen again.
But one day (in the midst of another incidence of mealtime turmoil), I saw that God's love was great enough to care for every detail of His creation. Never again, I can honestly say, did I allow selfcondemnation (which is actually the reverse of the great spiritual worth God has bestowed on each one of us) to dampen our family. And after that I rarely slipped back to putting off dinner plans to the last minute.
What matters most in all of this is our own humble and prayerful turning to the loving Christ. This voice of good speaks to us, always. And it opens the doorin meaningful ways to God's healing presence.
1Luke 19:5, 9. 2Science and Health,pp. 333, 332. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Ephesians 5:14