by Doris White Evans
I often wondered what caused Mrs. Eddy to title a Lesson Sermon, “Everlasting Punishment.” Then I saw her great wisdom. The world believes in a God of wrath, old theology teaches it — vengeance and punishment for misdeeds. Listening carefully to God, Mrs. Eddy gave us this Lesson, of which the real title is, “Everlasting Love.”
The Bible tells us: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” This is a wonderful statement. What does God require of us? To do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God.
What does “do justly” mean to us? When wrong thoughts come along to tempt us to criticize or judge another, and to act unjustly toward that person and not according to our highest sense of right, put that error out. Don’t forget, God loves all of us. Be alive to Christ’s demands. Remember to keep the Commandments. The Bible says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” An everlasting love. We are assured that God holds us in that love, and that we cannot stray from the straight and narrow path. Be unreceptive to the thoughts that tempt us to do so, and be vigorous in putting them out!
“Love mercy.” Are we forgiving those who may have wronged us? We carry a heavy burden if we don’t forgive. Never hold a grudge. It’s dangerous and leads to more error, and we don’t have time for such things. Never judge anyone.We’re all working out our own salvation, and we’re doing it in wonderfully different ways. The way one person does this may be quite different from the way another would. But it’s not to say that either is wrong. Be so busy doing right that you have no time to meddle in someone else’s life. Let them work things out in God’s own righteous way.
We enter the kingdom of heaven by willingly and humbly doing God’s will. There is no other way. God is nearer than the air we breathe. When we have something to do, rather than rush into it, say, “Father, is this how You would have me do things?” That’s how we find the kingdom of God, by not letting human will take over so that we run around making unpleasant mistakes, because we just didn’t take the time to ask our Father, who loves us so very much.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “Divine Mind rightly demands man’s entire obedience, affection, and strength. No reservation is made for any lesser loyalty.” No reservation about obeying God. We’re either going to do it, or we’re not. If we do, the doors of heaven open, and good pours out from every direction. If we foolishly withhold our obedience to God, we stumble, have unnecessary problems that we wouldn’t have to have if we would let God govern our lives. Trust Him, love Him, and obey His laws.
Science and Health states: “Obedience to Truth gives power and strength. Submission to error superinduces loss of power.” Obey God; it’s as simple as that. God loves us, God is Love. If we’re faithful and do the best we know how, God requires only what we are able to do at this moment. One of our hymns says, “The distant scene I cannot see, one step enough for me.” One step at a time. Here I am, Father; show me Your will. Let everything I do be done with love, in loving obedience to You; and I obey You. I can trust that You will make my way perfect.