WHEN I was growing up, people's opinions of me often caused me to feel underrated and put down. I longed for human approval and recognition of my true worth. But when I began, through prayer and study of Christian Science, to have a better understanding of God, what people thought of me ceased to matter so much. I began to see that the only things that are true about me are what I have found in God's Word--in the Bible--and that what the Bible says is true of man, His image and likeness, is true about everyone. Bible passages, such as one of my favorite ones in James, ``Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning'' (1:17), helped me see where I needed to look to find my true worth.
What a trap human opinion can be! The weight of human opinions, it often seems, can drag you down and confuse you, until you feel incapable of taking a stand or even thinking consistently. When I realized that there is in reality only one Mind, and that Mind is God, however, I came to see that basing our actions and decisions on human opinion is as unwise and dangerous as trying to build on quicksand.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, sums up what I was learning from my study in a few succinct words in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She tells us, ``In Christian Science mere opinion is valueless'' (p. 341).
Once I began to see clearly the unimportance of human appraisals and opinions, I was able to turn away from them and listen in earnest for God's guidance. I realized that only God's evaluation of my performance was real. My goal was to serve Him, to allow the functions and goals of daily life to become the byproducts of my growing understanding of what true service to God means. I kept asking myself, What is God's assessment of my worth? And I strove to stop letting any human opinion or personality dominate my life.
In an article entitled ``Deification of Personality,'' in her Miscellaneous Writings, Mrs. Eddy warns us: ``Even the teachings of Jesus would be misused by substituting personality for the Christ, or the impersonal form of Truth, amplified in this age by the discovery of Christian Science'' (p. 310).
Christ Jesus told his followers, in the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel, ``Judge not, that ye be not judged'' (7:1). This has encouraged me in my efforts not to judge anyone, either, but to strive to see and express only the perfect spiritual man, who reflects our perfect creator, God.
Dismissing human opinion as ``valueless'' has many rewards for us, especially in our own peace of mind. In a recent personal money crunch, however, I found other benefits, as well. I had been concerned about the low interest rate on a short-term investment I had. I was besieged by the popular view that I should reinvest that money in funds with a higher interest rate. But because I've learned to listen for God's messages before I act, I prayerfully waited. As I prayed, the message came through loud and clear. I wouldn't find God's, Love's, increase in some figures in a bankbook! I needed to know that Love is Principle--unerring, unfluctuating. I saw clearly that I could leave my financial situation safe and secure in God's hands. I stopped worrying, secure in the knowledge that God, Spirit, was my infinite resource, the unchanging Principle governing all!
At income tax time when I was working on my returns, I had a pleasant surprise. Not only did I have no additional taxes to pay-- I was actually due a refund! God, Love, was meeting my every need.
We cannot be devalued by shifting human opinion or mortal circumstances, because God values us, His beloved children, and has established us forever in His eternal spiritual plan. His creation--including us, His children--is immortal, perfect, complete, lacking nothing, having all in Him!