A young man who'd been raised in a moral home found himself getting drawn into immoral behavior that he gradually found degrading and distasteful. When he realized how far he'd gone from the moral standards he'd grown up with, he felt deeply ashamed. He could see nothing good in his life, so he cut his wrists in a suicide attempt. Soon he regretted his action and called for help. He was taken to a hospital, and his wounds were dressed.
Under the circumstances, the hospital wouldn't allow him to be left unattended. His father was out of town, and the young man was so ashamed that he wouldn't allow his mother into the hospital room. He was told he would be sent to a prison hospital, with bars on the windows, unless someone could stay with him until his father arrived.
Earlier, his mother had asked a friend to stay with her, and this woman volunteered to watch over him. As she sat by him, praying silently, the young man would tell her some of the things that had brought him to this depressed state. Then he would turn over in his bed and look away. The woman didn't react and said very little. She didn't know what else to do but to assure him that he was precious in God's sight.
That minimal conversation went on for several hours, but her last word then was that he was precious, and that what she was saying wasn't just words. She knew he was truly precious because that was how God saw him. She understood clearly that no matter how serious the mistakes might have been, no individual is permanently separated from God. There is no failed life in the kingdom of heaven; no life to be thrown away.
After his father arrived, the man was released to his family. He soon found new friends, married a lovely girl, and raised two boys of outstanding character.
Such redemption goes on naturally when spiritual understanding throws its light on any life. No greater pursuit can anyone have than beholding family and friends, yes, and even so-called enemies, as the perfect reflection of God, the Creator of all.
In a little book titled "Unity of Good," Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "The reality and individuality of man are good and God-made, and they are here to be seen and demonstrated; it is only the evil belief that renders them obscure" (p. 53). The minute we drop belief in the evil that obscures our vision of perfection, the spiritual truth of man's goodness shines through bright and clear. We have consigned the evil as a lie and put it out of consciousness. Treating mistakes and wrongdoing in this way is doing much more than we may have realized.
Mrs. Eddy also wrote: "Holding the right idea of man in my mind, I can improve my own, and other people's individuality, health, and morals ....
"Man is seen only in the true likeness of his Maker" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 62).
What we think about others does have an effect. It can help another who may be struggling with problems of identity, ill health, or some moral dilemma. And it doesn't have to be difficult to see beyond the error, because, "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). Seeing as God sees is our true vision, insight, and hindsight, and all is precious.
At this moment we can turn from contemplating mistakes, our own or others', and look toward the man of God's creating. Here is where to find the true individuality of all men, women, and children. The more we know of God, the better we understand the true perfection of creation. And it's a joy to see each of our fellow human beings as precious in God's sight and in ours. The very first chapter of the Bible states that man, including male and female, is made in God's own image. There can be no doubt that the image and likeness of God is indeed precious, spiritual, and good. This is the genuine and eternal selfhood of each of us.
I will not leave you comfortless:
I will come to you. John 14:18