`Healed is thy hardness'

HARDNESS of heart is a characteristic few admire; yet it seems surprisingly easy for an individual, coping with the difficulties of human life, to become hardened. The argument is that this staves off hurts and makes things easier to bear. But in the Bible there are a number of admonitions not to harden our hearts.1 We all have to watch the tendency toward hardness, because it can destroy our sense of beauty and joy and our ability to love truly. One who loves God and understands His goodness is less likely to fall prey to hardness. A few months ago I suddenly became aware of a soreness in the palm of my hand. Soon a very hard lump appeared where this soreness was, making it difficult to grasp things with that hand or to lean on it. I became rather alarmed as the lump grew more prominent. I began to pray about the situation, trying to realize that a God of love could not create or allow anything painful, anything unlike His own perfect nature. As I prayed, the line ``Healed is thy hardness, His love hath dissolved it'' 2 kept coming to mind. It is from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal. At first I brushed this aside, for I felt it was not at all characteristic of me to think hard thoughts about others. Nevertheless, the line kept returning to me. As I began to search my thinking more carefully, I was quite surprised to find I had indeed been harboring some unkind thoughts about various people. I immediately set about to cor rect this, striving to eradicate all that was unloving and critical from my thoughts. Actually, these negative elements are already and eternally excluded from the presence of God, from the one infinite Mind, which is the true and only source of man's thoughts. I stopped examining the hand. My anxiety about the condition faded as I became engrossed in eradicating these resentful, critical thoughts. In a week or so I found that the hardness had disappeared both from my thinking and from my hand. And there was more. For some time I had been aware of a small growth on my eyelid. Although it was not at all noticeable, I had felt rather anxious about it. After this quick and beautiful healing with the hand, however, I lost all concern about the growth on the eyelid. In a very short time I noticed that it, too, had disappeared. During this experience I found very helpful a statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. It's a statement I feel I cannot return to too often: ``In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,--self-will, self-justification, and self-love,--which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.'' 3 Hard, self-bound thoughts will indeed dissolve in proportion to our receptivity to God's great love and to our recognition of what man really is--of what our true selfhood is as the very image of divine Love. As we put unselfishness, forgiveness, compassion, and tenderness into practice in our dealings with others, there will be no room for hardness of heart. More of the peace, joy, and love that characterize our true nature will appear, immeasurably blessing us and those with whom we associate. 1 See, for example, Psalms 95:8; Hebrews 4:7. 2 Hymnal, No. 279. 3 Science and Health, p. 242.

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