The good we cannot lose

A Christian Science perspective: Is goodness something that can be lost?

With eyes filled with tears, the toddler came running down the stairs calling, “Mommy!”

Her mother swooped her up and asked, “What’s wrong, Sweetheart?”

“I can’t find my manners!”

“Your what?”

Through sobs, she explained: “I took another cookie and Aaron asked me where my manners were. I don’t know where they are! I must have lost them!”

It didn’t take long to console the little one after gently explaining that her manners couldn’t possibly be lost. They are the way you act with other people – being kind and sharing – so they are always with you, always ready to be expressed – never lost or taken away.

Though the mom and I chuckled over the toddler’s remark, it gave me pause. I thought through the various times that I, too, had fretted over some type of good I thought had gone missing in my life, like an opportunity or my happiness. Unlike material things, could goodness, which is really spiritual, ever truly be lost?

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, explains that since God is Spirit and the source of omnipresent good, spiritual good cannot be lost; it is everywhere. In her textbook on Christian Science, she defines “good” as “God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 587).

Mrs. Eddy’s conclusions of the ever-presence of good came from her study of the Scriptures, including Christ Jesus’ teachings. He established that the constant availability of love, harmony, abundance, and peace we have is from God, divine Spirit, and that this understanding brought healing. Because each of us is the direct offspring of Spirit, we, too, are spiritual and have spiritual sense – an innate ability to be aware of God’s tangible goodness. This ability to seek the kingdom of God – and find goodness – is within us (see Luke 17:21). Jesus illustrated this in the following parable: “What woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost” (Luke 15:8, 9).

The woman’s silver, that is, her value or goodness, was not really lost; it was in “her house,” which we could think of as a metaphor for her consciousness. Just like the toddler, she had not lost any good in her life. She had simply lost sight of it. After rediscovering it, through spiritual seeking, enlightening her thought, and “sweeping out her house” – or what seemed to obstruct her view of goodness – the woman was able to see the good that had been there all the time.

This instruction was helpful to me one night as I was struggling with a persistent cough and was sure that I had lost a sense of well-being and peace. I had been considering many of the Bible’s teachings as well as Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “God is Mind: all that Mind, God, is, or hath made, is good, and He made all” (Science and Health, p. 311). I reasoned that since God, the all-knowing Mind, was aware of only good, then I, as the spiritual offspring of God, could not have a separate mind from God that could know illness or evil. Where was this good, this peace, this uninterrupted harmony? It was in God and ready to be expressed by me.

I prayed to completely accept the spiritual fact that there was no good lost in my life. I needed to ask God to help me sweep out the fears, worries, and frustrations I was feeling, but, as I prayed, I saw that the peace, joy, and satisfaction in my life came from God. This goodness could not be lost, and I could find it within myself to understand and see this good.

A sense of anxiety faded from my thought, and a deeper sense of compassion replaced some dark corners of my “house.” Within a couple of hours, the cough and other uncomfortable symptoms simply disappeared.

Like the adorable toddler who realized that her manners could never be lost, we can all get clearer glimpses of the amazing spiritual fact that no good can be lost or taken away from us. We have the ability to understand and to be cognizant of God, good, and see that His goodness is within us as His beloved children. What a comfort!

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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