Curing vs. Healing

From the Christian Science Journal, July 1907, by




Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.—Jeremiah.

When the great Master asked the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, “Wilt thou be made whole?” it is evident that he had in thought something more than a physical cure, for a little later, after the man had been enabled to take up his bed and walk, we find Jesus saying to him in the temple, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Here was one with an infirmity of thirty and eight years’ standing, who had doubtless resorted to various material means without receiving help. This poor mortal was probably seeking relief on a physical plane, not realizing that his freedom from disease would include the destruction of sin in his own consciousness. Possibly he had no thought of experiencing any moral or spiritual benefit. What he wanted was to be relieved of his lameness. Like many others, he presumably wanted to experience freedom from pain while continuing “to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

Jesus’ explanation to him, that he was now made whole, and that he must cease sinning if he would remain so, opened up a new line of thought for him. It meant that from then on he must serve but one master if he would obey the divine will and remain in a state of perfect health. For the first time he learned the distinction between a physical or material cure and the Christ-healing. The Master’s method of treatment in this case was the same as in all others, wherein he dealt primarily with sin, or the mortal’s erroneous thinking which was the foundation of his seeming physical disability. In no case did he ever make the mistake of trying to cure disease without correcting the underlying moral fault. He understood the natural law of cause and effect, and that the only permanent and scientific healing must take place in consciousness in order to be made manifest upon the body; in other words, that wrong thinking was the root of the trouble, and that it must first be corrected before any lasting benefit could accrue to the sick man.

This one instance will serve to illustrate the difference between curing and healing as understood in the light of Christian Science. Theoretically these two terms may be used synonymously, but in every-day practice they are widely divergent. One seldom if ever hears a physician tell of healing his patient or of making him whole. He speaks only of a cure, or restoration to physical health. He is at work on a material plane, believing the testimony of the physical senses, and holding health to be a condition of matter, which is liable at any moment, despite every effort of the patient, to change to sickness or disease. Looking into matter for both the cause and the cure of disease, he does not and cannot correctly interpret the Christ-healing. The belief in restoration to health on a material plane is simply the exchange of one erroneous belief for another, of a belief in sickness or pain for a belief of health. Upon this subject Christian Science is working a radical but much needed change, for its contention is that “it is as necessary for a health-illusion, as for an illusion of sickness, to be instructed out of itself into the understanding of what constitutes health; for a change in either a health-belief or a belief in sickness affects the physical condition” (Science and Health, p. 297).

Sooner or later it must be seen that health is not obtainable from matter, nor is it in any way dependent upon it. It is a moral and spiritual state of consciousness manifest in harmonious functions of mind and body, and not a belief of physical sensation and ease in matter. It is not a state of consciousness in which disease is believed to be the master of health, and matter its natural and only remedy; it is not a state of consciousness that acknowledges any law or rule by which disease can develop or operate. Instead, it is the expression or reflection of that spiritual consciousness that “thinketh no evil.” It goes without saying that mortals in general are not consciously in quest of any such kind of health. They are not striving to correct a material sense of things, but would find pleasure and happiness in matter, under the mistaken assumption that God has given man a material investiture for him both to live and to die in before he can reach heaven or become acquainted with his Maker. Their standard of health has been defined by physiology and materia medica, fruit from the tree of material knowledge, and it is this false standard that they are struggling to maintain. They have forsaken the living God, who alone healeth all their diseases, and have turned to false gods, human inventions, to bring about a cure that would leave them at ease in their native element of sense-knowledge, leave their morals uncorrected and their vain desires unrestrained. It is passing strange that the professed followers of Christ should attribute to God power to destroy the greater error of sin, while denying His willingness or ability to heal the lesser error of disease. Where in any of the four Gospels do they find any authority for so doing?

Note the striking contrast between the modern material methods of dealing with disease and the manner in which Jesus administered to the needs of the palsied man, as described in Luke, fifth chapter. His very first salutation to the sick man was, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” This was proof that he did not look into matter for causation. He made no physical diagnosis, but immediately began to probe to the very root of the error. He knew that wrong thinking was the seat of the trouble, and because he understood the power of God to destroy the sin that was responsible for the so-called physical condition, the scribes and Pharisees accused him of blasphemy, and they said, “Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” They believed that God could forgive sins, but evidently did not look for any such practical manifestation of His forgiveness as the healing of bodily disease. Their view of forgiveness was limited and largely theoretical, just as it is to-day with many professing Christians, who misinterpret the full scope of the Christ-healing and try to imagine that sin can be forgiven before it is forsaken in thought. They did not associate the forgiveness of sins with the healing of disease, while the Master looked upon them as one and the same thing. He asked this pertinent question of his unbelieving auditors, “Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”

This is unmistakable evidence that the Master did not separate the healing of sin from the healing of disease. How then can his professed followers do so, and yet claim to be obedient to his commands? How can they say that God has forgiven them their sins, but has not healed them of their diseases? Whence this thought of limitation and evident lack of spiritual discernment? Is God responsible for it? No. The blame must lie at the door of the professed leaders of Christian thought, who preach the forgiveness of sins while ignoring and even denying God’s power to heal disease in Jesus’ way. This statement is made in no spirit of harshness, but in simple explanation of a lamentable fact,—a fact that is to-day being brought home to countless thousands of earnest Christian people in the various denominations of Christendom. They are looking for something higher than physical curing, and Christian Science comes as an answer to their prayer, reinstating the healing of the early Christians, which made no distinction in the healing of sin and disease. Christian Science heals disease because it heals sin, and in the healing of disease it offers the same proof of healing of sin that Jesus gave. It is therefore evident that he who claims the power to forgive sins has the same authority to heal sickness, and unless this dual capacity is made manifest in the metaphysical or spiritual healing of disease, the claim of power to forgive sins is proven to be impotent, devoid of spirituality or practicality.

The world will never be redeemed until humanity rises to the plane of spiritual healing, by forsaking its pitiful and unavailing dependence upon matter, and begins to yearn for the coming of the Christ-idea, which will wipe away sin and its effects in the same manner and at the same time that it destroys disease. The mortal awakes from the dream of sin and suffering only to find that this Christ-idea has already come in Christian Science; that positive and definite rules are laid down for daily conduct and life, and that, as he puts these into practice honestly and faithfully, he no longer thinks of wanting to be cured through the palliating influence of any material means whatsoever, but his one and only desire is practically to overcome evil with good, to “put off the old man” laden with sin and disease beliefs, to get closer to the Principle of his being, and to be right and to do right in the sight of God. He no longer seeks to have any of his troubles smoothed over for him, but to have them eradicated, root and branch; in other words, he seeks the Christ-healing which forgives sin only as it destroys it. The hope of the race is kindled in the great moral awakening that is now manifest on all sides. If it will heed this call to a higher plane of living, and will learn to lean implicitly upon the omnipotence of good to solve every human problem and to work out of sense-believing into spiritual understanding, it will progress onward and upward into the realm of pure Mind, where God is recognized to be the All in all of being, and man His spiritual image and likeness.

Our dauntless Leader tells us that “the warfare with one’s self is grand” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 118); and if we see it thus, and strive to emulate the life of the great Master by daily correcting sense testimony, which always leads thought away from Spirit into matter, we shall be able to prove the validity and availability of Christian healing not only for ourselves but for others. In Christian Science we find the beaten path that ever leads contrary to the direction of the senses; we find the true healing, the healing of head and heart, the healing that purifies, uplifts, and strengthens human thought to reach out and lay hold upon the unseen facts of being here and now; the healing that means freedom in the highest sense of the word, freedom from both sin and disease; the healing that always corrects all sense knowledge concerning health, happiness, and heaven; the healing that is natural and lawful, because it is of God, divine Love; the healing that the prophet had in mind when he prayed. “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”

In Christian Science we recognize one educator, one available and all-sufficient power, “one Lord,” and “one faith;” and tenderly and lovingly we invite friend and foe alike to “come and see” if this Science is not all that is claimed for it. While recognizing the rights of others to resort to whatever method of cure attracts them, we nevertheless consider it our privilege and duty to call attention to “a way of life which transcends all others” (I Corinthians, 12:31, translation by Weymouth). “Seek ye first the kingdom of God” is this way, and Christian Science thoroughly explains it. In no other way can humanity “lay hold on eternal life.” In no other way can they ever experience the Christ-healing and become obedient followers. They must learn that one wrong will never correct another, and that nothing but divine Love can heal disease and destroy the malice and hatred that have caused it. The divine corrective is always at command, and must be allowed to assert its ever-operative law of “be ye perfect,” if humanity would keep in the straight and narrow way of righteous thinking and living and so maintain the perfect standard of true spiritual healing.

Millions of thinking people are turning away from imperfect systems for the simple reason that they have discarded imperfect thought-models, and must necessarily, according to the natural law of like begetting like, look for help in the direction their thought trends. The mortal whose thought is “at home in the body” naturally looks into matter for cause and cure. Thought quickened to discern the reality of things unseen, naturally looks into Mind for the correcting influence of Spirit; and when it does so intelligently, it experiences the true mental healing.

No Christian should be or can be satisfied with any system of treating disease that ignores the moral condition of the patient as having nothing to do with the curing of his disease. Unless his morals are corrected it is sure proof that no real benefits have been received, regardless of appearances to the contrary. The mortal who sins and then appeals to human devices to rid him of his aches and pains, is not helped heavenward when he is supposed to receive aid from such lower means, but is oftentimes carried farther into the mire of materiality, and may even go so far as to proclaim to the world that some nostrum has cured him. His friends are lured into procuring the same medicine, only to be disappointed with results. Why could they not be cured? Because different mental states were involved and because matter does not and cannot heal. The sooner mortals fail to experience any relief at all from the use of drugs and other minor curatives, the sooner will they be ready to receive the Christ-healing, which will correct the broken moral law that lies at the bottom of their troubles. They should shun the mesmeric influence of any so-called curative agent that leaves the patient’s morals uncorrected while professing to cure physical disease. Whatever cures one must cure the other before it can be of any lasting benefit to the patient, and since it is God “who healeth all thy diseases,” it is God alone who can heal sin. The Christian can find no escape from this line of reasoning.

“Give me anything to relieve me of my pains,” does not always express a desire for the true healing, but more often for the soporific influence of a senseless drug, or of some other human invention incapable of imparting any good to human consciousness. The mortal likes to be lulled into sleep, so as to become oblivious of his suffering; but when having what he calls “a good time,” he does not court sleep. Only as he begins to awaken from his false sense of pleasure and pain can he say, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” It is only the coming of Christ, Truth, that can awaken him to distinguish between what he wants and what he really needs. His want-prayers are seldom answered, because they are no part of the divine activity of right-thinking. “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed,” rises to the point of moral and spiritual need, and then is the true healing realized. The prayer that is answered is always the one that recognizes what the will of God is relative to man’s needs, and not the one that asks God to go contrary to His will to accommodate or satisfy selfish human desire.

The daily life of the Master was and is a living and positive rebuke to the habit of drug-taking, and should be sufficient proof of God’s non-participation in any such habit. The Christian Scientist, therefore, has good reasons for not resorting to drugs, for he knows that they cannot heal malice, envy, hatred, jealousy, passion, appetite, lust, dishonesty, greed, and other kindred errors, and since they cannot correct the well defined causes of disease they cannot wipe out their effects. Any cure supposed to be brought about through the use of material means or of any false mental method, is really only a change of human thought whereby mortals are put to sleep instead of being awakened to the consciousness of primal spiritual facts. Any material remedy is little else than a soothing-syrup to lull human fear and to encourage false hopes and desires. It bestows no real blessings upon mortals, because it has none to confer, since God is the only source of goodness and God is Spirit, intelligence, the opposite of mindless matter.

Mortals may not acknowledge it, but the taking of drugs or the resort to any hypnotic influence to cure disease is really only an excuse for not thinking right about God and man. They claim the ability to think that man is sick, but practically admit their powerlessness to think that he is well when the senses testify to the contrary; in other words, they consider themselves privileged to think evil of man but not good. By resorting to inanimate matter for the cure of the sick, they give a lifeless drug the power to do something which they themselves admit they cannot accomplish through thinking, which is proof positive that they place no premium upon right thinking, but relegate all power for good in healing to non-intelligent matter. Does not such a mental attitude indicate a house divided against itself, which cannot stand? It is seemingly easier for mortals to go to sleep in the belief that man is governed by physical laws, and that he is a mere worm of the dust with little or no mind to think with in the hour of need, than it is to waken to the truth that man is a spiritual being, governed alone by spiritual law and always reflecting the Mind that is God.

The coming of Christ, Truth, to individual consciousness is the true message of healing. It means a moral and spiritual awakening, a purifying, uplifting, and regenerating of human thought; it is a message to arouse the dormant, lethargic thought of mortals, to break the dream of life in matter and to point out the royal road to heaven. It says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” It is a call to action, to higher duties, aims, and ambitions. It says to the sick and sinful alike, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Those who hear the call are healed of their sicknesses as well as their sins, and if grateful for blessings received, they will enter the strait and narrow way of right thinking and right living, and so gradually bring out in their lives the higher standard of health and happiness demanded by the Christian religion. They will no longer try to gain from matter something which it has no power to give, and which does not exist in matter, viz., health and strength of mind and body. It will no longer seek a physical cure only, but will appeal intelligently to the great Physician for the divine antidote for both sin and disease, for the true Christ-healing that makes “every whit whole.”

Is it rational to suppose that God has given man the ability to think wrong, and withheld from him the capacity to think right, by endowing matter with power to heal? Such a supposition would make evil real and intelligent, and good unreal and non-intelligent. Christian Science has come to correct just such false theories. This work of correction is part of the true healing, which establishes within individual consciousness the divine oneness of God and man by tearing down the fictitious knowledge of evil that has seemingly obscured the light of divine understanding. Healing is synonymous with wholeness. God has no other thought of man than that he should be whole, and Jesus knew this. It was therefore his purpose to impart to individual consciousness the true or complete idea of salvation, which necessarily includes the healing of both sin and disease. He did not stand upon the divided platform which delegates the healing of sin to God, but the cure of disease to materia medica. Had he done so he would have been powerless to make men whole. His sole dependence upon divine Mind gave him power to master every error of the human mind, whether manifest as sin, disease, or dissolution.

It is this perfect overcoming, the understanding how to conquer every form of evil, that should be sought by every true Christian. He should not be satisfied with any so-called treatment that does not deal primarily with the moral condition. The Master’s injunction to seek “first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” makes this point unmistakably plain. However urgent the need, the divine corrective is always available, and only as humanity learns to lean implicitly upon it will it partake of the Christ-healing. If we serve one God we can have but one remedy, and that Spirit, not matter. Even the Mosaic Decalogue teaches faith in and reliance upon one God. To resort to drugs or to any other human remedy is to break the First Commandment, and “if they hear not Moses and the prophets,” how can they claim to follow the commands of the Christ, who insisted upon obedience to the Ten Commandments as a necessary stepping-stone to spiritual enlightenment?

It is safe to say that so long as health is looked upon as a temporal rather than a spiritual blessing, humanity will lack the inspiration that is needful to direct thought heavenward, and will look into matter for the cure of disease, while professing to believe in the omnipotence of Spirit. In this condition of estrangement from the creator of all things, they will call evil good and good evil, and hold health to be temporal and changeable, when in fact it is spiritual and not subject to chance and change. The so-called cure of disease is not its corrective, else the disease would, not reappear. This is painfully evident in the numerous cases where surgery and medicine have been resorted to, to remove the appearance of some dread disease, and after a few short weeks or months the patients are told that their only hope lies in another operation or course of treatment, the old troubles having returned. The surgeon’s knife cannot successfully remove disease from the human body until it can cut out the diseased thought-germs of malice, envy, hatred, sensuality, and other errors of the human or mortal mind that are constantly finding expression in the body. Does it seem right or reasonable that one should feed the body on sinful and sickly thoughts, and then dose it with poisonous drugs to wipe out the effects of such wrong thinking?

Christian Science makes it plain to every conscientious seeker that there is not and never can be any real healing accomplished through any such means, and it is truly gratifying to note how rapidly this higher thought of healing is gaining ground with thinking people. The time must come when people will be ashamed to resort to material remedies, for it will be a sure indication of inexcusable ignorance of God on their part, or of their unwillingness to perform the necessary mental work to extirpate the cause of their troubles. As the true Christ standard of health and holiness becomes more generally implanted in human consciousness, mortals will be less inclined to manipulate shadows or effects, and more willing to deal with causation, not for the selfish purpose of being made free from physical pains, but because they desire to seek “first the kingdom of God” in order to do right and to be right. Health and holiness go hand in hand, and had this fact not been lost sight of by professing religionists, there would be but one church on earth to-day and but one method of healing, and that the Christ method. Jesus’ healing work was opposed because it was above the world’s standard of thinking. Had he permitted any compromise between Mind and matter he would not have been opposed by scribe or Pharisee. If Christian Science could be appealed to for relief from physical pain without touching upon the moral status of mortals, it would meet with more general favor. Not until the heart is weary of the vanities of earth and yearns to get closer to God, will it turn to the Christ-principle for that perfect healing which makes every whit whole by revealing the spiritual understanding of health, holiness, and heaven.

May divine Love speed the day when every human being will stoutly oppose the encroachment upon his own household of thought of any proffered cure which cannot extirpate the sinful desires of the human mind and so point out the way of right thinking and living, the kingdom of heaven on earth.




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