SOMETIMES there's just no question about it--we know we've made a mistake. What now? Must we permanently suffer for our mistake? We may even wonder, Do we still have the right to pray?
Our family has found that mistakes can be corrected. Here's one small example. A couple of years ago I let myself get talked into bringing a puppy home from the pet shop. But our circumstances just didn't allow for us properly to train and care for an active young dog.
For several months I penitently accepted the damage to our home and the calls from unhappy neighbors when our dog got loose. Finally my desperation with the situation became so great that I turned to God as the source of all solutions and listened with all my heart. I didn't try to tell God what the answer should be, but prayed sincerely, echoing Christ Jesus' prayer to do God's will: ``Not my will, but thine, be done'' (Luke 22:42).
God knew nothing of my mistake or the plight of our family with this dog. He knows His creation as spiritual--as harmoniously and unerringly governed and blessed by Him. I found comfort in a statement made by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible'' (p. 514). Soon I felt God's forgiveness and knew that this meant more than just being excused for the mistake. I was ready to find the solution-- for all of us--that was guaranteed by God's law of inevitable goodness.
Later that day my husband was talking with a neighbor whose son was looking for a dog. This turned out to be the perfect solution for the young man, our family--and the dog.
What I learned from that experience is true even when we feel we've made a big mistake.
You always deserve to pray.
In fact, prayer that lets God govern us as His beloved children is always the requirement. If we didn't listen and yield to God first, that is still all that God is asking of us. Prayer is what will bring the needed change.
Guilt and blame are not God's requirement.
While these feelings may wake us up to see that we are not succeeding on our own, apart from God, they will never correct the separation we feel.
In the parable of the prodigal son, Christ Jesus tells his followers of a young man who made a serious mistake. (See Luke 15:11-32.) The young man takes his inheritance and squanders it. Remorse follows this action, but it is not until he returns home to his father that his mistake is forgiven and corrected.
The fundamental mistake is anything that would lead us to believe we can be separate from God, our Father-Mother. The correction, naturally, is in letting go of sinful thoughts and actions-- anything that is not native to us as God's pure creation. This purification takes place in our thinking first, and is expressed in an appropriate adjustment of the human circumstances.
God never punishes us with suffering.
The notion that somehow we owe it to God to suffer for a while to pay for a mistake is incorrect. It is never too early or too late to turn to God for help. God holds us always in his tender care. We may seem to punish ourselves if we insist on feeling separate from God. It's a bit like stumbling around in a dark room because we refuse to open our eyes. No amount of tripping and falling will ever be God's will for us, nor will it satisfy, or bring us into line, with God's demand. Only opening our eyes to the light of Truth will do that.
There is always an answer to every situation as we turn to God. And we can rest assured that when we make a mistake we can always pray. We are always free to let God care for us. This release will enable us to find the specific answers we need.
You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. @CALLOUT = I turned to God as the source of all solutions and listened with all my heart.