Giving and forgiving

There can be no real forgiving without giving. And we all have much to give, perhaps more than we ever considered. We can give our love and loyalty - the unselfed love that is loyal to the truth of man, the truth that his actual individuality, transcending what appears to the physical senses, is spiritual, the perfect likeness of God, divine Love. Though sin is inherent in the mortal sense of man, his real selfhood is incapable of fault or frailty, mistakes or misunderstandings.

Truly to forgive anyone we need to separate evil from our concept of him and discern what God has created - His perfect image. We have to refuse to accept as truth the material concept of man, the ''old man'' that Paul tells us must be ''put off.'' n1 We're able to do this as we see the impersonal nature of evil, see that evil is not a person, a place, or any thing, at all, because God and the man He created are wholly good.

n1 See Ephesians 4:22.

Much time can be wasted in resenting. How much better to forgive - and we can forgive. Our real selfhood, the image of God, reflects all the qualities of God, of Love. So we can each express the patience derived from Love. This patience is durable, full of hope and peace. It supports every effort for improvement and progress in ourselves and others, and maintains our vision of perfection as the ultimate fact in everything. With patience we can calmly face up to whatever is disturbing and see right through it to what is real and true.

Unforgiveness may be said to be a kind of indigestion. It is a sign that we are attempting to accept something that is unacceptable, something that God did not make or allow. Impatience may tempt us to force improvement. But if God, the only creator, didn't make something, we needn't accept it or deal with it as a reality. Our job is to lovingly strive to discern in its place the goodness and perfection that He did make. Mentally digesting the spiritual fact compels us to forgive. And this spiritual forgiveness helps to heal, for understanding the good, and not the evil, to be real is Christly, and Christliness heals.

Christ Jesus' answer to Peter's question about how often to forgive - ''Until seventy times seven'' n2 - might be taken to mean ''always.'' It certainly requires us to obey the Golden Rule, to do to others as we would have them do unto us.

n2 Matthew 18:22.

We need to be lovingly patient with ourselves, our neighbor, and the nations. Realizing our hopes may take time, but to spiritual sense, the capacity we all have to discern spiritual reality, all good is true now about all of us. God's perfect work is finished, complete now, and we will see it more and more clearly as we grow in our understanding of God. When we get a glimpse of and accept the true standard of perfect God and perfect man, the standard revealed in the very first chapter of the Bible, we are willing to wait on God with confidence, knowing that His perfect work will come to light. Christ Jesus saw perfection clearly and healed by this seeing. He said that we will do the same if we follow his teachings. (See Mark 16:17, 18.)

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, once said in a letter to her Church: ''If a member of the church is inclined to be uncharitable, or to condemn his brother without cause, let him put his finger to his lips, and forgive others as he would be forgiven. One's first lesson is to learn one's self; having done this, one will naturally, through grace from God, forgive his brother and love his enemies.'' n3

n3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 129.

Realizing the true nature of man as the image and likeness of divine Love, we can't really be unforgiving - only giving. We really have no choice. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another. Ephesians 4:32

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