OFTEN we think that because we have done one wrong thing our life has to take a downward spiral. But Christian Science shows us how mistakes--even if there are many more than one--can be rectified and our life redeemed. It's not necessary to suffer for our mistakes forever. We can be renewed in the spiritual understanding that shows us how to correct what needs correcting and how to stay on the right track once this restoration has taken place.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, shows us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures how important God's forgiveness is to such redemption. She writes: "We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.

God naturally forgives sin, and His presence precludes the presence of evil. However, for sin to be forgiven (that is, to be healed) the sin must be put off, must be stopped. As long as we believe that sin is real and powerful and that it controls us, we will continue to sin and to suffer for it. But the moment we begin spiritually understanding God's goodness and care, we can also begin putting off the bad habits and mistaken behavior that needs correcting. This is how we are redeemed--and the punishmen t, the suffering, disappears as we abandon the wrong actions that cause it.

God's ever-presence protects us and is always available to help us. If we have made a bad mistake--one that we and others are suffering for--we can seek our redemption, our salvation from wrong acts and thoughts, in a fuller knowledge of man's creator, God. We can consciously lay aside wrong tendencies by gaining a spiritual understanding of God's power, love, and goodness.

God's goodness is our ever-present salvation. Man innately expresses spiritual qualities, which come directly to him from God, his creator. As we recognize that our genuine nature, which is spiritual, includes qualities such as humility, forgiveness, peace, honesty--includes a desire to do and be better--we put off the evildoing and sin that are no real part of our identity. Then, as we consistently, persistently, and conscientiously turn to God for direction and guidance through prayer and a humble desi re to do better, we will redeem our actions and bring them into accord with God's goodness.

Humbly searching for God does lead us to Him, and we begin spiritually understanding man's God-given purity, honesty, joy. Searching for and finding God is what enables us to find salvation from wrong and from the suffering wrongdoing causes. This brings not only redemption of acts and thoughts but an entire renewal of our life. Our desire to do right and to atone for our mistakes is a step in the right direction. It isn't inconsistent, then, to see how God supports our efforts and brings them to fruitio n.

Matthew's Gospel records that Christ Jesus taught, "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him. Such coming to terms enables us to refuse to allow mistakes to control or govern our experience. When we recognize that whatever is unlawful, hurtful, revengeful, needs to be put aside for the God-given qualities of justice, love, and forgiveness, renewal begins and progress will be inevitable.

Turning to God through deep, heartfelt prayer acknowledges that man has his source in God. As we see how natural it is for man to express his innate, God-given goodness, we cease hurting ourselves or others. And we find that not only our past mistakes are fully forgiven but our entire life has been redeemed and renewed.

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