As I was leaving the supermarket one day, a sign on a commercial copying machine caught my eye: "Don't Forget Your Original." For a moment I continued on my way, being careful of the eggs and oranges. The I stopped short and just stood there, thanking God for a wonderful message symbolized by those words. The hours and days that have followed have brought many opportunities to put this good reminder into practice.
The "original" of each of us, and the only identity we truly have, is God's own image, His expression. Much good can come from frequently reminding ourselves of the original goodness, beauty, and integrity of man. This acknowledgment, as long as it's lived and doesn't just stay in the mental realm, can help neutralize mistakes, quell anger, stifle dishonesty and greed, and heal both emotional and physical injury.
Sometimes we make a pattern for ourselves that we think of as our original. This, however, can include traits, habits, and actions that are far from Godlike. Human thoughts and actions must be examined very carefully in the light of true Christliness. How well are we expressing our real, God-centered, free, guileless selfhood -- our birthright as the highest ideas of God? Only what is truly good reflects our genuine selfhood.
Interestingly, on the day I saw that sign in the supermarket I had a small chance to demonstrate the integrity of my original nature. Some people I knew had been acting in a very unjust and provoking way. But just when it seemed anger would well up in me and destroy any good intentions I had, the words of that sign flashed through my mind, shattering the facade of self-righteousness. Just as suddenly as the anger had loomed, it disappeared, without any venting of disturbance. The whole problem was soon worked out beautifully, with harmonious relationships restored.
That is just one example of the way we can be tempted to depart from our true individuality. Sometimes we may feel temporarily justified in "copping out" of an obligation such as a committee assignment, a duty, or even a labor of love by using an excuse like this: "I've done my part in many other ways; even if this needs to be done, why should I bother? Let someone else do it. I'm too busy." This kind of thinking only takes us away from, not toward, our original and true identity.
Sometimes it is very easy to disobey a traffic signal, or tell a not-so-accurate story, or "forget" to repay money or return goods borrowed. These little departures send us away from our truly purposeful, lovable individuality.The living of spiritual qualities, however, tends in a different direction. The Bible says, for example, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." n1
n1 Proverbs 4:18;
AT times we may be tempted to sugarcoat faults, glazing over problems or shortcomings to avoid coming to grips with them. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, notes pointedly: "We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are. If a friend informs us of a fault, do we listen patiently to the rebuke and credit what is said?" n2 Keeping man's true nature in thought, and living it as thoroughly as we can, we'll always find the right time and the right way to help another along these lines, and we'll be better able to accept criticism and to keep our own thoughts and actions on the highest level.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 8.
It is equally important to remember our original, clearly defined perfection when it comes to physical challenges. The human body has no intelligent prerogative of its own -- it reflects thought. As we pursue with dedication the understanding of divine Truth, Truth in turn corrects and regenerates our thought about body, thereby healing physical troubles.
Original perfection is always the spiritual fact. Don't forget your "original" -- or anyone else's! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without numb er. Jeremiah 2:32