Have you ever had the experience of listening to a particular piece of music and then hearing it over and over again in your mind? That happened to me recently with an Italian pop song that had become an international hit. I woke up very early one morning, unable to silence this song and get back to sleep!
I kept hearing words from the song that proclaimed "miserable me"; the title of the song was itself taken from a section of a centuries-old liturgy that asks for God's mercy. It's a sinner's plea for help. After putting on a light, I read part of the English translation of the Italian. It asked to find a wondrous light within the individual - a living joy apparently not present.
Well, instead of going back to sleep, I stayed awake - praying. The context for my prayer was what I'd learned to be true from the study of Christian Science. I could not agree that the beloved child of a loving Father-Mother (God) could ever be a miserable sinner. Or that anyone created in God's own likeness could cease to be good and fall into sin, doing something that God was incapable of doing. God made His children perfect, as His spiritual reflection, and we don't need to implore God for mercy in order to regain our original perfection. We have instead to realize that we've never lost it.
I then turned to the two books I read every morning. One is the Holy Bible, and the other is the textbook of Christian Science, written by Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Every week there is a new Bible Lesson on some aspect of the nature of God and of our direct relationship to Him. That particular week it was on the subject of God as being Soul. It challenged the traditional belief that we have a personal soul that is separate from God and can be lost.
One of the Bible passages I read was a stirring response to that song's cry for light, hope, joy. It says: "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee" (Isa. 60:1, 2). The message of this passage was a reassurance to me. Whatever benighted view we have of ourselves, God has never abandoned us. So, the return of light and joy is even more inevitable than the dawn of the day when we see that God is the ultimate power.
Mrs. Eddy discovered in the Bible healing laws of God that she named Christian Science. She saw the biblical meaning of the sun to be that of "the symbol of Soul governing man, - of Truth, Life, and Love" (Science and Health, Pg. 595). Those capitalized terms are all synonyms for God, and they are, if not specifically given in the Bible, certainly implied. We can see more of the nature of God through considering Him as Soul, Truth, Life, Love. This study of God's nature makes the Bible a practical guide to daily living. And it gives us a higher understanding that our own identity - His likeness - is completely good. Right now.
A lovely example of this is the parable Christ Jesus told of the prodigal son, who strays from home, suffers, and returns to the welcome of his father (see Luke, Chap. 15). The father's love for him was really unchanging, but the son needed to learn this in his own way. As soon as the prodigal son began to contemplate the security of his father's house, he naturally turned away from his disillusionment and returned to find that his status had never changed.
Healing the sense of one's being a miserable sinner is no different today. The loving Father, God, always awaits each of us with outstretched arms. And each individual can turn from the mistaken assumption that God's child has a sinful soul that is suffering in supposed material identity. Then he or she will find the joy and light that, while perhaps hidden from view, have always been awaiting discovery. The joy to live is here. Not far off. Not somewhere else.
These are the thoughts that came to me as I addressed that plea for God's forgiveness. And they quieted me. I've listened to that song since then. It no longer haunts me. And I've learned a valuable lesson from it.