Healed of Self-Righteous Attitude
Linda from N.C.
“Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality.” from Science and Health, page 242:2
It may appear to have been a trifle thing at the time but it impressed me enough to make the connection to the above quote. I was reading Science and Health again from cover to cover and I was so immersed in it that it was with me in thought all the time. I could call on it, or rather should I say, it called upon me, throughout my day. Now, looking back on this experience quite a few years ago, the blessings continue.
I was enjoying a long run on one of many woodsy trails I often frequented. Among runners and walkers, there is an unspoken courtesy that we stay to our right unless passing someone. In the distance I could see someone running toward me on their left side of the path, which meant they were running on my side of the path. Because it was a straightaway, I could see far ahead and had plenty of time to think about the person approaching and encroaching on my side. I could have easily shifted to my left and let her pass on my right but I wanted her to move and I had worked myself up into such a self-righteous huff that I waited until the very last moment to move. And when I did move over, I felt compelled to give her quite a bad look!
Almost instantaneously, I felt a surge of guilt and shame wash over me. What had been self-righteous contempt toward another person was now contempt for myself. Whatever possessed me to act that way?!!
Then, almost immediately came the statement from Science and Health. “Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality.”
But this time it came in the form of three commands: Repentance, Spiritual Baptism and Regeneration. I was already in touch with the repentance because I was deeply remorseful for my behavior. But to approach the second command, Spiritual Baptism, was hard because I had to stop beating myself up for acting like such an idiot. In order to be baptized spiritually, I was being asked to completely put off my material beliefs. In the past, before I could even comprehend this way of practicing, I would have struggled to be nicer and kinder, to try harder to be a better person. But this would just be substituting a bad counterfeit for a good one, and of course, would be futile! But this time, I understood the Science of the Christ behind the commands and I was able to surrender my false individuality and the guilt and misery that went along with it. I learned that it takes humility and also courage, especially to let go of shame and guilt. Finally, in order to complete my spiritual baptism, I had to include the baptism of the runner I had just encountered in the very same waters.
The next command was the affirmation of Regeneration, and this took no effort at all. It was a natural result of putting into practice the two previous commands. I can honestly say that as I continued my run, I felt regenerated, fortified and happy. I was also alerted to be mindful of how mortal mind can sabotage our thinking and actions when we lose sight of the omnipresence of God’s power and purpose for us in the smallest details of our lives.