humility

A lesson in humility

I recently attended an interfaith dialogue meeting and it was my first time joining this particular group.  During the discussion, a gentleman who had an unwelcoming experience at a Christian church in his youth had found another faith, but it seemed the experience left him a bit embittered.  He pointed out a story in the Bible about Jesus, that in this man’s telling of it, made Jesus seem like not a very nice guy.  However, the man only told part of the story and seemed to leave out the most important part about healing that comes at the end.  This is the story depicted in the book of Matthew, Chapter 15. Jesus was approached by a Canaanite woman requesting that he heal her daughter who was mentally ill.  At first Jesus didn’t respond and the disciples asked him to send her away.  After the woman pleads with him, he does respond to say “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”  This is where this man in the meeting I was attending ended the story to demonstrate his point that Jesus was not the compassionate, merciful savior that Christians believe him to be.  

However, I was grateful that another attendee pointed out, that this is not where the story ends. Jesus does ultimately heal the daughter. And yet another attendee stated, that the woman corrected Jesus and he took the correction and then healed her. This gave me a lot to ponder.   

First of all, I found myself taking offence at this gentleman’s telling of the story.  But then when I thought about it more later, I recognized, that actually this story had always bothered me too.  I knew Jesus healed the woman’s daughter, but I was always bothered that he spoke to her the way he had, because it seemed very … well, un-Jesus-like or un-Christ-like.  However, I really appreciated hearing the perspective that Jesus took the correction and changed his approach.  It got me thinking.  What humility that must have taken to stand corrected, and not only that but in that very same moment to turn around and express that much mercy, compassion and love as to heal.  I know humility can actually be one of the greatest qualities of a true leader and I know Jesus to be a humble servant of God, but this was a new form of humility I had not recognized in him before.  

I started to think, am I that humble?  When someone corrects me, do I take the correction?  And even more, do I take it and then turn around and change my behavior and respond with mercy, compassion and love in that very moment?  Or do I stew on it for a while – hours, weeks, months – starting with self-justification for why I said or did what I said or did, and then moving on to perhaps realizing I was wrong and then feeling embarrassed, ashamed or guilty, or do I then worry about what the other person must think of me and rehearse the situation and think of all the ways I could have responded better and start berating myself for being so foolish or mean or whatever it seemed I was in that moment.  

So thinking about how I might normally deal with being corrected, I began to be in awe of Jesus’ capacity for humility, grace and compassion.  I also love that not only did he take the correction, but was then able to bring healing to the entire situation in that very moment.  I am so grateful for this lesson in humility.  

I learned a few other lessons with this situation in this meeting… about making sure we get the whole story before we pass judgment, about loving our neighbor as ourself, and about forgiveness… check out future blogs for those lessons.   

Christ, healing, Magnify the good

Let your light shine and magnify the good

I was thinking tonight about the light of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas.  In Genesis it tells us that God created the light… which happens before God created man.  In fact, it’s pretty much the first thing He does. 

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.[

Genesis 1:3-4 (NKJV)

I believe that light to be the Christ idea, the Christ Truth… the light of Christ that shows us the way through the darkness.  

It seems so perfect that we celebrate the light of Christ during the darkest days of the year.  For those that have to go to work in an office, during this time of the shortest days and longest darkness it seems like it’s dark when you get up to go to work, and dark again by the time you wrap up your day and head home.  Where is the light?!

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the man who demonstrated and manifested the healing power of the Christ light more than any other.  And he told us to let our light shine. In fact he said,

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5: 14-16 (NKJV)

Each of us have, what some call the “spark of the Divine” or that Christ light within us, and when we let it shine it lights up everyone around us… I love the double meaning of light – in the sense of brightening their day, and easing their burdens and lifting a weight off.  

But how do we do this? Well the Christ light, shines a light on the good… so that we can see the good all around us.  It’s easy to get sucked into negative or dark thinking. And when we do, it seems like that is all we can see – negativity, pessimism, fear, doubt, discouragement, despair.  But that’s not the whole picture, is it? We have a choice in what we see.  But when the Christ light shines, it shows us the good that is already and always present. We can choose to see the good.  Mary Baker Eddy explains that good thoughts are an “impervious armor” which naturally resist evil or negative thinking, and in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she writes

Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 261:4

The Christ light illuminates the good that is already and always present. Jesus was able to see so clearly the good and true sense of people, and hold that image in thought, and this is how he was able to heal.  

Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way

Jesus beheld … the perfect man… In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p. 476:32-5

And the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians,

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NKJV)

So we can let the light in our hearts shine this Christmas season, and see ourselves and each other in our true light, as pure and holy, created by God, Good… and this can help us magnify the good and bring healing to others.