Righteous judgment heals

``DO not judge superficially, but be just in your judgements.'' This is how The New English Bible translates Jesus' requirement ``Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.'' 1 Jesus' righteous judgment healed. He wasn't deceived by appearances. Discerning the true selfhood of men and women, he revealed, through healing disease and sin, the beauty and dignity he saw. He enabled people to gain a clearer view of themselves as loved children of a caring Father. To the degree that we love enough to look beyond surface appearances, we help others recognize and value their God-given natures. I realized this a couple of summers ago when my sister, my daughter, and I paddled a canoe on a day trip down a lazy Illinois river. While packing our lunches, I did some mental sorting and packing. As a Christian Scientist I had been learning that a harmonious undertaking depends on the expression of Godlike qualities. So I consciously chose to leave behind complaining and ill humor, anxiety and bossiness, as ungodlike. Just as consciously I chose to bring a good sense of humor, joy, and cooperation-- qualities originating in God. My resolve was soon tested. Finding ourselves lost and late was fertile ground for old thought-habits of complaining and anxiety. But these were quickly detected, rooted out, and firmly replaced with keen listening for the Father's guidance and quiet trust in His goodness. We soon found our way and were in time for a day filled with joy--and more opportunity. A van deposited all the canoeists and their gear at a common launching point upriver. Soon a young man in a nearby canoe began swearing abusively at his paddling partner, his behavior just short of violent. The others in their group speeded ahead, and we, being slower, were left with this person and his patient companion. It was tempting to be discouraged, even frightened, by what we saw and heard. But we were familiar with the statement by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Scien ce, ``Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.'' 2 Convinced that Christ Jesus expected us to follow his example to our highest understanding, we agreed to prayerfully see man as God's loved and loving child. We could not be made to believe that unpleasant behavior was any part of anyone's actual being, and we knew that because God is the only Mind, no one else could believe it either. We realized that man was tenderly embraced at that moment by his creator, God, infinite Love, and was inseparable from Him. We passed this individual's canoe shortly and didn't see him again until the end of the day when a dozen of us returned to the parking area in the same van. During this ride the young man resumed his haranguing. At one point I shook my head, refusing to accept this imposition, affirming that man could express only the intelligence and purity that God, the one Mind, had given him. When we arrived, the other people piled out. The young man, however, waited outside the van door. Extending his hand in a gesture of assistance, he said, ``This is the kind of guy I am.'' He helped me down and quietly left. By that simple act he was expressing something of his higher nature as God's image. Under the crude faade had been a heart receptive to the truth of his real selfhood. People's actions often fall short of their hearts' deepest longings. But even so, wherever Jesus traveled, especially among sinners and outcasts, he brought out the best in all who were willing. His method was genuine love for the man of God's creating. What he discerned and appreciated blossomed. Certainly there are times when constructive criticism is appropriate. But the need is always to discern man's actual nature as God's likeness. In proportion as we do this we are being just, not superficial. And this righteous judgment demonstrates the divine law of healing. 1 John 7:24. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477.

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