Saying no to wrongdoing
A LOCAL television station is running advertisements urging young people not to let themselves be pushed into taking drugs. A person certainly needs moral fiber to resist the temptations of these times. But first one may need to know what, fundamentally, constitutes sin and why it is essential that everyone wrestle with and overcome it. From the Biblical standpoint, sin is a willful disregard of moral and spiritual law, a departure from the path of righteousness prescribed by God. Added to the awful feeling of estrangement from our creator that this causes, there are other compelling reasons for saying no to wrongdoing in whatever form it comes. If our life were only of the flesh and temporary, it might make sense to get all the so-called enjoyment we could. But Christ Jesus showed that life, as the outcome of God, is actually spiritual, everlasting. There is no end to God. And so there is no stopping point for man, His perfect spiritual reflection. Because this is true, there is an inevitable squaring of accounts for wrongdoing to be made by each individual. Sooner or later we must come face to face with the divine demand to be what God created us to be -- to express our true selfhood. To avoid this demand is to open our lives to the inevitable suffering that accompanies the feeling that we are estranged from divine Love. Our present thoughts and acts determine the degree to which we're experiencing heaven or hell here and now. We cannot progress from the animal elements in human nature to the angelic -- to the salvation that Jesus revealed -- without first obeying the moral requirements. Purity, honesty, and so forth must replace sinful, sensual traits.
While people may think that their wrongly obtained gains are exempt from moral demands and the day of reckoning won't come for them, it inevitably does. As the Bible makes abundantly clear, sin is doomed from the outset. Why, then, indulge in it when with clean thinking and living one can have something of heaven right here -- peace of mind, genuine freedom, that wonderful joy that comes when we make the effort to obey the Ten Commandments and Jesus' teachings in his Sermon on the Mount.
The first step toward successfully dealing with temptation is to stop wanting to do the wrong thing. Actually, it's natural to want to be liberated from sinful desires, because our true selfhood is God's likeness, totally pure and satisfied. St. Paul said simply, ``If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.''1
The teachings of Christian Science can help with this. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Let the slave of wrong desire learn the lessons of Christian Science, and he will get the better of that desire, and ascend a degree in the scale of health, happiness, and existence.''2
The Science of Christ, in harmony with the Bible's spiritual meaning, teaches man's innate purity. It shows that God's offspring is not a doomed sinner, an unfortunate creature struggling against impossible odds. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry.''3
Because man is neither a mortal nor a moral weakling but the perfect, upright, spiritual offspring of God, we can call upon divine strength to resist the harmful impulses that would bind us to sin and suffering. The Bible promises all those who submit to God, ``Sin shall not have dominion over you.''4 Sin is no part of God's offspring, and this can be increasingly demonstrated in our lives.
What if one seems to be already in the grip of drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, or some other evil? He can be free of such bondage. It may not be very easy to put off the materialistic thinking that nurtures these evils. But when one yearns for freedom strongly enough, he takes every step necessary to obtain it. And when his desire is great enough, and his effort persistent, healing is inevitable. The tender, loving Father of all, divine Love, by virtue of His allness, destroys whatever quality is unlike His pure nature. No desire to reform is so faint, no step so faltering, as not to be supported by divine law until victory comes.
There is great reassurance in these words of the Old Testament: ``Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.''5 In God we find the real satisfaction and joy of life.
1Galatians 5:25. 2Science and Health,p. 407. 3Ibid., p. 63. 4Romans 6:14. 5Isaiah 41:10. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin. I John 3:9