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NO JUDGMENTALISM! ONLY LOVE!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”
for May 1, 2022, a Healing Hymn Sing Sunday!*

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S. in Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.com • 720-331-9356 • christiecs.com


QUICK SUMMARY:  This Bible Lesson helps us stop being judgmental—of other people and ourselves.  It explains that as we understand how divine Love corrects and governs everyone we can let go of anger, criticism, and judginess.  We shouldn’t listen to the judgy voice in our head…and the ideas here help us get rid of that stupid voice.  The ideas in the Lesson can even help us to let go of judging others who we think are judging others…ha!

SECTION 1: We have a deal with God to love (and not judge) others or ourselves

SECTION 2:  What if we feel like someone needs to be punished?

SECTION 3:  How do we get over it when we have done something really bad?

SECTION 4: “Sin” can be corrected and forgiven

SECTION 5: “Revenge is inadmissible.”

SECTION 6: “Love your neighbor as yourself”


INTRODUCTION

As I have been reading this week’s Bible Lesson on “Everlasting Punishment,” I began pondering a time in which I believed “punishment” was needed.  Let me explain.  I was at my sons’ out-of-state volleyball tournament.  It was during a time in which the convention centers were not allowing audiences, so there were not other parents there, but I had special permission because I had gone through a course to serve as a score and stat keeper.  During one of the matches, the players on the other team began to get rowdy and shout offensive comments at our team.  As the match progressed, the boys on the opposing team’s bench began singling out boys on our team, yelling out their jersey numbers or names and using profanity as they insulted them.  The comments were made more obnoxious by the fact that there wasn’t a lot of other noise because there was no audience.  It escalated to such a point that I stood up from the scorekeeping bench to point it out to the referee, who had been appropriately focused on the game.  He immediately called the coach over and asked him to control his team.  While my intervention was principled, I also felt full of self-righteousness.

The whole scene seemed to make me very upset.  I had all the symptoms of anger, and was stirred up.  After the match, the opposing coach approached me and asked who it was on his bench that were using the profanity.  In barely controlled anger, I said, “Sir, the boys were standing within two feet of you.  I cannot believe you don’t know who it was!”  I really felt like I needed to protect our team, and felt self-justified in my harsh retort.

Boy, was I seething!  And then a wonderful thing happened.  I began to vent my anger to one of the athletes on our team, a young man who is a dedicated student of the Bible and who leads Christian youth meetings.  In the middle of my self-righteous tirade, he said with a smile, “You could just turn them over to God and let God take care of it.”

In a flash, I felt the anger drain out of me.  My friend was right.  His kind rebuke was the gentle message of Truth I needed, and it dissolved my self-righteous indignation.  Over the next few months as I was tempted to replay the event and get angry again, I always remembered my young friend’s comment, and it stopped me from getting re-upset.  If I was tempted to worry that the coach would not learn his lesson, I could—STOP—and remember to hand him over to divine Principle’s loving care.

This week’s Bible Lesson helped me understand how to heal from this experience, as well as other situations in which I am tempted to let indignation over injustices—some of which are much more severe than rowdiness at a volleyball tournament—overcome my calm and clear sense that divine Principle corrects and governs absolutely.


GOLDEN TEXT

The Golden Text, or main idea, of the Lesson reads, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”  (Proverbs 14:34)   Righteousness could be understood as a correct understanding of our unity with divine Love, God… God is the Cause and we are the effect. God is Principle and we are the operation of Principle.  The understanding of this fact is righteousness.  Sin, in contrast, is the mistaken belief that divine Principle is not in charge, or that we or someone else is separate from, or not governed by, divine Principle.  So, we could understand the message, “sin is a reproach to any people,” to mean that sin—a false belief that we or someone else is separate from or not governed by divine Principle—is a reproach, a need for re-approach (change), to any people.

With the volleyball tournament example, I seemed to give in to the sin of anger, resentment and self-righteousness.  Not only did I temporarily believe that the other team’s coach was outside of God’s government, but I also seemed to see our team’s players as victims, as if they were somehow outside the tender affection of divine Love.  And, I also seemed to allow myself to feel separate, that somehow, I was separate from divine Love as the only Cause.  But all of this “sin” was corrected with the reproach from my friend’s sweet assurance that I could turn the whole mess over to God, divine Principle, who actually governed all along.  This reminds me of the Golden Text message that “sin is a reproach to any people.”  The belief that both I and the coach and the players were separate from God was a sin, and the reproach, which was gentle, reminded me of the absolute governance of divine Principle and Love.  The full healing was not in taking human action to chastise the coach.  The full healing was in gaining a truer sense of divine Love’s omnipotence, and feeling the reign of Love wash over me.


RESPONSIVE READING

The Responsive Reading exalts divine Love as the tender caregiver and judge of our needs.  I love the words from Isaiah, that the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save us, and the Lord’s ear is not heavy that it cannot hear us.  (Isaiah 59: 1-21) Our needs are met, and divine Love is present.

It is only sin—the belief that we could be separated from God—that could make us feel beyond the care of divine Love.  In truth, we cannot exist outside of divine Love because Love is ever-present.  It is only the false belief that we or anyone else could exist outside of divine Love’s all-ness that could disrupt our calm sense of peace.


SECTION 1: WE HAVE A DEAL WITH GOD TO LOVE (AND NOT JUDGE) OTHERS OR OURSELVES

The first section is about our deal, our “covenant,” with God.  Moses invited both those in his time and, as he said, those that are “not here with us this day”—this means us—to join in this deal with God.  (citation B2, Deuteronomy 27:1) The deal is that we will love the Lord with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might…and that we will not avenge, or bear any grudge, and will love our neighbor as ourselves.  (cit. B4, Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; cit. B5, Leviticus 19:18)

We have an unbreakable relationship/covenant with God (our Cause) that is so strong that it cannot be broken.  Our relationship is like a loving Father to a son—we belong to God and God belongs to us. We are bound inseparably to divine Love and divine Principle—like a loving Father to a child—with comfort and joy and satisfaction.  (cit. B6, I John 3:1)

In truth, we cannot “sin.”  Sin would be the belief that we could be separated from God/Love/Principle.   We may believe we could be separated from God/Love/Principle, but in truth, we cannot be separated even for a moment.  This binding agreement—or covenant— between us and God/Love/Principle is a divine covenant, which means that its unbreakable.  We’re stuck with Love!

But what about that time I got so angry at that tournament?  I judged someone else as being separated from Love, and in my anger, I surely felt separated from Love.  Well, I may have felt separated at the time, and I may have believed that the offending coach and his team were separated…the “physical senses” or graphic scenario all around me certainly seemed to suggest inharmony…. (cit. S3, 327:17) But, in truth, there never was a moment in which any of us were outside of Love’s care.

The “reproach” from my friend helped me to wake up to the “sin” of believing that the coach and I were separate from Love and Principle.  And I began to more “thoroughly [understand] that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love.”  I realized that we all become more “perfect”—aware of our perfect connection to divine Love and Principle—as we become aware of this fact.  And as we do this and love our neighbor as ourselves, “war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established.” (citation S5, 13:2)

What I needed to do in that scene was realize that there was no possibility of “sin.”  Neither the coach nor I could actually be outside of the absolute (and good) government of divine Love and Principle.  While I seemed to have lost sight of this temporarily, the reproach helped me let go of the seeming power that a belief in separation (sin) had over me, and I felt restored and strengthened.  While this may seem like a trite example, it helped me know how to apply practically Mary Baker Eddy’s statement, “The good man finally can overcome his fear of sin. This is sin’s necessity, — to destroy itself. Immortal man demonstrates the government of God, good, in which is no power to sin.”  In my experience, I saw how turning this coach (and myself) over to the government of God, good, showed me that there was actually nothing that could have the power to “sin” or separate either one of us from the love of divine Love.  (cit. S6, 405:18)


SECTION 2:  BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN WE FEEL LIKE SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE PUNISHED???

Section 2 addresses that feeling when we see someone else has been wronged, and we should be the ones to stand up for them, or at least we should be angry on their behalf because of the injustice.  In Bible language, it addresses the feeling we have when we consider “all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such who were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.” (cit. B8, Ecclesiastes 4:1) This is kind of how I felt about this coach and his players who were “oppressing” the guys on our team.  Now, I realize that there are far worse oppressions than a coach who allows his players to cuss, but sometimes its helps to see how these biblical principles apply in small situations, and then know that the same principles apply in larger scenarios.

In Ecclesiastes, we find the instruction that when we see “oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, [we should] marvel not at the matter…” for divine Love and Principle are stronger than this injustice and are the ultimate authority.  (cit. B9, Ecclesiastes 5:8) In the example at the tournament, my friend reminded me that I could turn my anger and what I perceived as a need for punishment over to divine Love and Principle.  This reminder echoes the words in Isaiah that “[divine Love] is our judge, [divine Love] is our lawgiver, [divine Love] is our king; [divine Love] will save us.” (cit. B11, Isaiah 33:22)

Mary Baker Eddy was not naïve to the injustices happening in the world around her.  She wrote Science and Health right in the midst of the Reconstruction Era in United States history, a time in which the nation was reeling from the gruesome images from the Civil War, Black Americans and others still faced horrifying oppression, and women could not own property or vote.  In the context of this, she needed to turn to true and divine government for peace and a path forward.  Note that although she eventually owned her own homes, founded a church, launched multiple media publications, and had a team of people working for her, she wrote Science and Health while she was virtually couch surfing…she moved nine times in the year before Science and Health was published.  So, it’s not like she saw the removal of oppression before she wrote the book.  It was through the strong declarations of freedom in the book that she discovered freedom from oppression and saw freedom for all of us as well.

In this context, consider her words, “A selfish and limited mind may be unjust, but the unlimited and divine Mind is the immortal law of justice as well as of mercy.” (cit. S7, 36:19-21)  Divine justice, which always comes from divine Love and Principle cannot be avoided.  But it is not up to us to enact justice.  Divine Truth uncovers error.  As Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God’s own way, and let human justice pattern the divine. Sin [the belief of separation] will receive its full penalty, both for what it is and for what it does. Justice marks the sinner [those who believe they or someone else are separate], and teaches mortals not to remove the waymarks of God.”  (cit. S8, 542:10, 19–24, brackets indicate my inserted words) Note this word “waymarks” as in the “waymarks of God.”  Later in the lesson we’ll see the words “sharp experiences,” “landmarks” and so forth that are our reminders that we tend to encounter various turning points as we progress.

It is clear to me now, that it was precisely Mary Baker Eddy’s exposure to the social turbulence of the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era—and injustices overseas—that enabled her to write, “The wrong done another reacts most heavily against one’s self. Right adjusts the balance sooner or later.”  (cit. S9, 449:7–8) Her many landmark experiences helped her to discover the “waymarks of God.”

Looking back at my own “waymark” experience at the tournament, I learned that the anger and vitriol I seemed to feel toward that other coach was actually more damaging to me than to him.  Ultimately, “right” adjusted the balance.

Sin—the belief that we or someone else can be separate from divine Love—can never go unpunished.  Put another way, we all must ultimately discover that we are held tenderly in the arms of divine Love that renews and restores us constantly.  In Mary Baker Eddy’s words, “Divine Science reveals the necessity of sufficient suffering, either before or after death, to quench the love of sin. To remit the penalty due for sin, would be for Truth to pardon error. Escape from punishment is not in accordance with God’s government, since justice is the handmaid of mercy.”  (cit. S10, 36:4)

These words may sound harsh, but when we understand them correctly it becomes clear that this is actually the most loving way to remind us that we are never separate from divine Love and Principle, and that we cannot escape from divine Love’s merciful correction.  Meanwhile, we can take comfort in the fact that we can mentally hand those who we feel need to be “punished” to the authority of divine Love and Principle.  Ultimately, evil is overcome by Love.


SECTION 3:  BUT HOW DO WE GET OVER IT WHEN WE HAVE DONE SOMETHING REALLY BAD?

 The third section explains how we can forgive ourselves when we’ve done something terrible, when we feel like crying out, “Woe unto us, that we have sinned!”  (cit. B13, Lamentations 5:1-21)  Well, the need to feel forgiveness was definitely part of my experience at that tournament…I needed to find a way to stop being hard on myself for becoming so angry.  Again, the “anger” in this scenario may seem like a minor issue, but it can help us understand in principle how to overcome more egregious mistakes.

Section 3 opens with the idea that to overcome feelings of remorse after making a mistake, we can “behold our reproach.”  (cit. B13, Lamentations 5:1, 15, 16, 21) In other words, we can see the turning point that made us realize it was a mistake.  The reproach, or turning point, in my example was my friend’s reminder that I could turn the coach over to God.  This turning point enabled me to become free of my anger, and now, when I think of the experience, I focus on that turning point, rather than on the mistake.  Focusing on the turning point, the reproach, also helps me know that I won’t fall into the same anger trap again.

My sorrow for my wrongdoing would not be enough, without also knowing that I had turned away from that anger and felt reformed from the reproach.  In Mary Baker Eddy’s words, “Sorrow for wrong-doing is but one step towards reform and the very easiest step. The next and great step required by wisdom is the test of our sincerity, — namely, reformation.” (cit. S14, 5:3–6) Or, re-formation.

In Isaiah, we find the promise from God that even when our sins—mistakes—make us feel like scarlet—stained forever, they will be washed clean like white wool.  (cit. B14, Isaiah 1:18) I’m sure that most of us have sung the words at least once, “Shepherd, wash me clean.”  (CS Hymnal, 304).  As we sing this, we are handing our sins—our mistakes—to divine Love and allowing ourselves to be washed clean.  A sheep could not wash itself clean.  Likewise, we can let go of the intellectualizing about our mistakes, and instead pray with humility, “Shepherd, wash me clean.”

In God’s words, as they’re found in second Chronicles, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  (cit. B15, II Chronicles 7:14)

It is the “sharp experiences” of mistakes and tough lessons that “turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.”  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, that “Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, we are helped onward in the march towards righteousness, peace, and purity, which are the landmarks of Science.” (cit. S13, 322:26–9)

And how do we know if we’re on the right path so that we don’t worry about making more and more mistakes?  In answer to concerns like this one, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.”  (cit. S16, 3:3-5)


SECTION 4: “SIN” CAN BE CORRECTED AND FORGIVEN

 Section 4 shows us that correcting sin—the belief of separation—actually heals us physically.  And the section includes a two-in-one healing account.  First, we have the story of Christ Jesus healing the man with palsy.  When Christ Jesus speaks to the man, he does not even mention “palsy” or paralysis.  Instead, he says to the man, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”  It was as if he was saying, “you can let go of your false belief that you are unworthy and separate from divine Love.  You are now, and always have been the son of God, belonging to and inseparable from the love of Love.”  But then the scribes who were witnessing the exchange accused Christ Jesus of blasphemy, saying that Christ Jesus had no authority to say that the man’s sins were forgiven.  And now there is the second opportunity for healing.

The account in Matthew says that Christ Jesus knew the “evil” in the “hearts” of the scribes.  They felt anger and judgement toward Christ Jesus, and self-justified in trying to correct him.  But Christ Jesus, with the authority of divine Love, rebukes them, asking them to consider whether it’s easier to say your sins be forgiven—you are not separate from divine Love and you are restored—than to say, “arise and walk?” (cit. B19, Matthew 9:2–8)

Both sickness and sin are a type of enslavement, and in this example, Christ Jesus demonstrated the power of divine Truth and Love to free the man with palsy and correct the erroneous belief that sin is unforgivable.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free.”  (cit. S22, 225:2)


SECTION 5: “REVENGE IS INADMISSIBLE.”

The fifth section contains an account from the gospel of Luke about a time in which Christ Jesus taught his disciples that revenge is inadmissible.  In the account, Christ is on his way to face the crucifixion in Jerusalem.  Along the way, he planned to stop in a village of the Samaritans, but the Samaritans showed outright hostility to Christ Jesus because they knew he was headed to Jerusalem and they had a multi-century grudge against the Jews at the Jerusalem temple.  (Note that the CSPS Bible Lens for the Lesson contains an explanation of this.)  James and John, two of the disciples, asked Jesus whether he would “command fire to come down from heaven, and consume the Samaritans,” like Elias did centuries earlier.  But Jesus rebuked James and John, saying that he did “not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”  (cit. B21, Luke 9:51–56)  Christ Jesus’ mission was to overturn evil with divine Love.

The author of Ephesians echoes the spirit of Christ Jesus’ statement: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (cit. B22, Ephesians 3:31,32)

As Mary Baker Eddy explains, the rabbis and priests had encouraged a culture of revenge, with “an eye for an eye” and “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” but Christ Jesus overturned that message with a message of love.  (cit. S23, 30:14, 30-32) Put simply, “Revenge is inadmissible.” (cit. S24, 22:31–32)

In the account of Christ Jesus with the Samaritans, the rabbi’s culture of revenge and the Samaritans’ multi-century resentment of the Jerusalem-based Jews seemed to allow sin—the belief that we can be separate from goodness—to grow “terrible in strength and influence.”  The revenge and resentment seemed to encourage “Passion, depraved appetites, dishonesty, envy, hatred,” and so forth until ultimately, they met their final punishment, which in this case was Christ Jesus overturning these vapid forces with floodtides of forgiveness and divine Love. (cit. S25, 188:4)

Mary Baker Eddy, who faced many oppressors throughout her years writing and publishing Science and Health, did not succumb to the temptations of revenge and resentment, and instead wrote, “Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science.”  (cit. S27, 266:18)

In my experience at the tournament, I found that I overcame my anger and self-righteousness as I turned the whole scene over to divine Love and Principle.  And yet, I am realizing even now that there is one more step.  I must love that coach, not as a person or personality, but as the radiant idea of an only loving God.  I must strive to see him as divine Love sees him.  This love is not person.  It is loving like the sun gives off light, universally and without bias.  This is the love that heals, transforms, restores, renews…and overturns.  And this is the love that I can now say puts the final seal on that day.  Now, when I consider that experience, I will see it as a landmark moment in which I found victory over a sin, and for that I am truly grateful.


SECTION 6: “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF”

The idea of overcoming evil with love is the ultimate Christian message.  While there seem to be many forces that would try to distort and undermine that message, the clearer and clearer we understand and practice the message of overcoming hatred with love, we can keep from getting discouraged.  We can strive constantly to purify ourselves of personal opinion, prejudice, judgementalism, hatred, revenge, grudges and so forth and better practice the Christian principle of love and more love.  On the very first page of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind.” (cit. S28, 1:6)

The unifying force of divine Love is enough to overcome all challenges.  When we feel as if we need to shoulder the burden of judging or condemning others—or ourselves—we can stop, and remember what my friend told me at that tournament, “Why don’t you hand this over to God?”  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.” (cit. S30, 340:23) “That is enough!”  (SH 520:5)


MAY 1st IS A CEDARS HYMN SING SUNDAY. Please join this worldwide event at 7pm CT, with a prelude at 6:45pm CT !
Both the prelude and Hymn Sing will be led by Cherie Brennan, a CedarS mom and 4-time nominee for Gospel Music’s “Dove Award.”  [These nominations were made in recognition of  Cherie’s outstanding achievements in the Christian music industry.]

Also on SUNDAY, MAY 1, as a part of ARDEN WOOD’S 2022 ANNUAL MEETING
you can hear Warren Huff, Arden Wood’s 2022 inspirational speaker, tell of how HYMN SINGING  SAVED HIS LIFE and of “BIBLE-BASED HEALING RULES TO APPLY AND PROVE TODAY!”
   This online only event starts on May 1 at 2PM, Pacific, (3PM MT, 4PM Central Time, 5PM ET).

To WATCH the meeting on your computer or mobile device, please visit the webpage below:

https://www.ardenwood.org/events/annualmeeting22/

OR to LISTEN on your cell phone or land line, call this number: 1- (669) 900-6833

You will be asked to give the Webinar ID: 978 5243 6527 to join the event.  If asked for a Participant ID, dial #


A Ken Cooper POETIC PRELUDE related to this Bible Lesson was POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & was EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.



GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others are yet to be fully excavated and refined and so should be POSTED later this week on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.


HUMBLE, HEARTFELT THANKS to all you difference-making DONORS WHO  HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN OUR CAMPSITE, AWARD CAMPERSHIPS…

Your needed, ongoing support – whether it’s one-time, monthly or forever (though an Endowment Matched gift) will help us “love into view”  lasting, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS for hundreds of families and thousands of individuals, for generations to come, all across the U.S. and the world. For more on making a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED) feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574.


CLICK HERE for full info & VIDEO LINKS to CedarS 22 AWESOME PROGRAMS! PLEASE SHARE THEM WITH ANYONE WHO WOULD BE BLESSED BY AN UNBEATABLE BLEND OF SKILL-BUILDING FUN AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH — WITH LOTS OF  FINANCIAL AID OPTIONS as needed!


 

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