An Indication of Spiritual Progress
by Florence Roberts
My response to a rather stern rebuke recently gave me some indication as to how far I have come in my spiritual journey; and I am grateful for it.
Surprisingly, I was not offended, which meant to me that I am getting it, I am understanding that person is not involved here. I immediately asked God to show me what I needed to know about why I received the rebuke. The answer did not come right away, and while before, I would have gone into a self-pitying party, with some underlying hurt pride, this time I was grateful I did not react.
I know that the culprit is always the wrong mind, because I have learned that error is never a person, place or thing. I had allowed my thought to drop while working on some other claim. From that premise even the good words, directly from the Bible, which would be so welcomed by the human mind, were repulsive to the spiritual sense of the one who read the comment. I saw this clearly and that was my answer.
I have observed firsthand how offensive the human mind can sound to the spiritual thought. On one occasion a caregiver’s reassuring words felt so raw to a patient that he requested the caregiver to stop talking. The woman was surprised the patient said that, but I felt the emptiness of her words and could understand his request.
Christ Jesus rebuked the money changers from defiling His Father’s house (Matt. 21:12-13). He rebuked Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan!” He said. “You are a stumbling block to Me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matt. 16:23) In Luke 9, He rebuked the unclean spirit (9:41b-43), rebuked unbelief (9:37-41a) rebuked the disciples’ inability to understand His impending betrayal (9:44-45), rebuked pride in the disciples (9:46-48) , rebuked intolerance in the disciples (9:49-50) and rebuked racial bigotry in the disciples (9:51-56). And in Revelation we read: “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19).
The Apostle Paul, fired up with the Spirit of God, rebuked Peter. He said in Gal 2:11, 14: But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed and in verse 14: But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Mrs. Eddy felt how important it is to always come from the Mind of Christ in our speech and actions including our rebukes. Because if the latter is not done out of Love it would mean nothing! She demanded this of her workers. And God demands this of us today. Over the platform in the Mother Church Extension is this Bible verse: 11 Tim 4: 2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” And from Science and Health p. 452:12-15, When error confronts you, withhold not the rebuke or the explanation which destroys error. Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it.”
Rebuke with the right sense of Love is a saving grace! It has helped me. If I love God enough I should be on guard myself to allow error no chance to enter my consciousness. Should one who is awake detect error and rebuke it, I should humbly take it as my warning to get to the right side quickly to destroy any lurking error.
I am so grateful for the faithful servants, who unlike “unfaithful stewards,” can discern the danger and love enough to give a warning!