A case of mistaken identity

A Christian Science perspective.

I once handed a coin to a shopkeeper, who didn’t even look at it before handing it back to me with the explanation that it was counterfeit. When I asked him how he knew, he told me that it was too lightweight. A genuine coin would be heavier than that one. To me that emphasized the fact that, to be able to correct any case of mistaken identity, the first requirement is to be fully aware of true identity.

It’s not impossible that you might be suffering from a case of mistaken identity, even now as you are reading this. Are you thinking of yourself as ill, old, tired, unloved, unwanted, injured? Are financial troubles or a family difficulty weighing you down? If so, gaining a clearer understanding of your spiritual identity will make a huge difference.

The very first chapter of the Bible describes our identity as God’s creation: “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion....” It continues, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:26, 31).

Right now, you are very good – spiritual, made in God’s likeness. You include qualities such as strength, intelligence, goodness, patience, honesty, joy, and love. Even if you don’t feel their presence, they are there because God’s image has to be like Him. You are no fake; you are the real thing.

In the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy offered this: “Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love” (p. 477). The more clearly we see that divine Spirit gives us our identity, the more we can prove our freedom from any inclination to believe that anything unlike God has a right to a place in us or in any part of our lives.

Mary Baker Eddy answered what she described as the “oft-repeated inquiry, What am I?” this way: “I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 165).

The revelation of Christian Science shows us how to make this practical today. Since God expresses Himself in us, when we use those words “I am,” whatever follows needs to be good. For instance, it’s helped me be ready to challenge any thought that says, “I am afraid” or “I am sick” or “I am bad.”

I’ve had occasions where I’ve gained new confidence, been freed from fear, or even been healed physically as a result of seeing myself as expressing God’s infinite, ever-present good. Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned that the one Mind, divine Love, reflecting Himself in me, gives me my identity. Therefore, if facing an illness, I’ve found myself saying aloud, “That has nothing to do with me. I’m not like that. I’m like God. That’s just a case of mistaken identity.”

With that instant and vigorous denial, no appearance of imperfection and no mental picture of inharmony remains.

No wonder the Christian Science textbook states, “Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil” (Science and Health, p. 571). It seems quite logical, then, to conclude that whatever negative issue we’re facing can be dismissed when we are confident of God’s loving care for us.

It’s so reassuring to be able to declare, “That’s merely a case of mistaken identity. I’m not like that. I’m God’s pure reflection.” The dictionary corroborates that conclusion by its definition of the word “pure,” which reads, “containing nothing that does not properly belong.” Surely that gives the complete denial to anything that threatens to fool us into believing that we could be unlike God in any way.

As God’s likeness, we can understand that nothing bad ever originates in us. God is the original, and He is only good. We are His reflection; that is our identity. And as we grow in the understanding of our God-given identity, we’ll find a true sense of life and healing.

For a Dutch translation of this article, see The Herald of Christian Science.

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