Hindrances to Healing

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Usually it is not difficult for a patient to see that unbelief, lack of understanding, sin, doubt, discouragement, fear, and lack of application tend to retard or prevent healing in Christian Science. But there are hindrances of another class which stand in the way of the desired end, and which are usually more difficult for the patient to discern. These appear in the way solely because the patient has not learned the lesson of self-surrender. He does not know what self-surrender is or means, hence he does not know how to go about it; and this not having been accomplished, the unconscious assertion of self leads him to put many stumbling-blocks in his own way.

Jesus said to his disciples: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” The self which must be denied or renounced is the carnal mind which Paul declared is “enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Many people have not carefully thought out these matters, or carefully searched the Scriptures with regard to them, but it is the implicit belief of the average person that we get into the understanding of the truth and the kingdom of God by commencing where we are, and by correcting, developing, and enlarging that which we already have, until finally we shall reach perfection. Those, however, who act upon this theory make as radical a mistake as did those of ancient times who thought to start upon the earth as a foundation and build a tower which would reach to heaven. God brought their work to utter confusion and destruction, as He does with the work of those who try to build spiritual life, or to gain spiritual health, on the basis of the carnal mind.

“We cannot bring our mortal selves, our carnal minds, to God.”

G.A. Kratzer

Said the apostle, “Other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ;” and in immediate connection with this declaration we also find these words: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” The fact is, that before we can learn much of the saving truth, we must be willing and ready to discard, as having no truth, reliability, or permanent value, all of that habit of thought and all of our so-called knowledge which is directly or indirectly based on the body or the testimony of the senses. In the measure that we have emptied our minds of “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world,” we are ready to learn and experience the benefits of Truth. Said Jesus: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus said again: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” that is, we cannot bring our mortal selves, our carnal minds, to God. We must renounce, or give up, the carnal mind, and let the Spirit be manifested in us; and thus we come to Christ.

Said the apostle, “Other foundation can no man lay that is laid, which is Jesus Christ;” and in immediate connection with this declaration we also find these words: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” The fact is, that before we can learn much of the saving truth, we must be willing and ready to discard, as having no truth, reliability, or permanent value, all of that habit of thought and all of our so-called knowledge which is directly or indirectly based on the body or the testimony of the senses. In the measure that we have emptied our minds of “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world,” we are ready to learn and experience the benefits of Truth. Said Jesus: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus said again: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” that is, we cannot bring our mortal selves, our carnal minds, to God. We must renounce, or give up, the carnal mind, and let the Spirit be manifested in us; and thus we come to Christ.

“Truth requires of them to gain a totally new and different understanding of life and health.”

Self not having been renounced, it crops out in various ways to the hindrance of the demonstration of Truth and of the patient’s progress. Some of these ways we do well to consider, not for the purpose of condemning those who have been ignorant that they were transgressing the law of Spirit, but for the purpose of helping all to uncover and recognize the error, so that we may turn away from it and follow in the true way. Most people, when they turn to Truth for help, do so, not because they care about Truth, but because they care about themselves. They want God’s help, if He has any to bestow, but it may not even occur to them that they are to make any sacrifice therfor, except the payment of some money to a practitioner and the giving up of some of their time to reading under the practitioner’s direction. At the start they do not know that Truth requires of them to gain a totally new and different understanding of life and health, and also in some ways to follow after a different manner of life; but after a time they begin to perceive something of what the demands of Truth are, and then comes the test. Will they renounce self as manifested in the former ways of thought and living, and follow after the truth, because it is the truth, irrespective of whether they have already received benefits or not? If so, they are loyal to the truth, and unless they are placing stumbling-blocks in their own way along some other line, they will be healed in God’s own time; for they have fulfilled the condition: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Many people desire to buy (with as small an expenditure as possible) their health, with the conscious or unconscious purpose to go on living their former lives of worldly pleasure, when health has been attained. The error and disappointment of such people are well described by St. James: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

When an individual has the proper appreciation of the healing truth he will feel toward it as Jesus describes in Matthew’s Gospel: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” The lesson on this point is further enforced by the teachings of Jesus, when he counseled the rich young man to give up all his possessions and become his follower.

If we have firmly determined to sacrifice all, if necessary, for Truth, very often we shall not be called upon to make the sacrifice; and it is an immence help toward healing to have this point settled in the patient’s mind, so that he will not acquire the habit of measuring a benefit received by the money paid out, but will have his mind at rest upon this question, that he may be free to attend to lines of thought which are beneficial instead of detrimental. We are by no means so ready to be healed by Spirit, if we are all the time judging and examining results with the critical disposition of mortal calculation. The thing to do, is to make ready to surrender our all to Spirit, and thus be the better prepared to receive the gifts of Spirit.

“If we seek the truth, not because we are looking for what it will bestow, but because we really love it for its own sake and are anxious to spend time and money in acquiring it and serving it, then its riches speedily become our possession.”

A student who is really interested in his studies does not long for his school-days to cease. If he could in any way manage it, he would be glad to spend his time and money to go on in school and college indefinitely, and so in the case of the person who loves music. Likewise, a patient, if he loves the truth for its own sake, will not be in a hurry to get through with his practitioner, if the practitioner is helping him to a higher understanding of Truth. A patient who is not anxious to get out from under his practitioner’s care at the earliest possible moment, for the sake of saving time and money, but who takes such a mental attitude that he is always looking for an opportunity to learn more of Truth, for which he is as glad to make return as is the average person for the theater or the excursion, is certain to have healing and all other needed good added unto him.

There are some who come into a partial understanding of Science, but who say to themselves or others that they are not ready to believe until they have had a sign in demonstration of the truth by being healed, notwithstanding that they know of plenty of signs which have been given in the healing of other people. If a person makes the receiving of a sign the condition of his believing, he seldom gets it. The reason evidently is, that those who would test Truth by outward signs, wish to walk by sight instead of walking by faith or understanding. They have not surrendered self, or the carnal mind, which wants to test everything by sense testimony. Self, or carnal mind, is prone to set itself up as a judge, and say to Science: “Come now, pass in review before me, and show your works. If they are satisfactory, I will believe you.” But Science may not be reviewed by mortal mind in this fashion. It demands rather that mortal mind, instead of setting itself up to judge, shall completely humble itself, and say: “I am not fit or worthy to know or judge anything.”

Several times, people came to Jesus asking for signs, in order that they might believe. Jesus gave plenty of signs to those who did not ask for them; but to people who did ask for them he said: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” The sign of the prophet Jonas, as given in the Bible story, was this: Jonas was commanded of the Spirit to go to a certain place and do a certain work. Jonas did not respond to the summons obediently, but rather took ship to go in exactly the opposite direction. He was thrown into the sea, swallowed by a whale, and carried back to where he started from, and was told to do that which Spirit commanded. So it will be with every mortal man. In the end he will be obliged to do that which Truth demands of him; therefore the sooner he does it, the better for him. Jesus did give to doubting Thomas a sign; but when Thomas expressed his belief because of the sign, Jesus rebuked him, saying: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Many people, when they are taking treatment, make the mistake of saying to themselves or others: “Now I will take treatment so many days, or so many weeks, and then, if I am not healed, I will stop.” This is another attempt of the carnal mind (self) to set limits and make conditions for Truth, while Truth demands that the carnal mind shall completely humble itself. Said Jesus: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” And again he said: “In such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” If we did not set ourselves up to dictate times and seasons to Spirit, but in humility were to let Spirit have its own way, our mental attitude would be such that we would be healed in days, instead of the weeks consumed under the conditions which we have prescribed. The true mental attitude is this: “Not my will, but thine, be done.”

Patients whose healing is somewhat delayed, are often tempted to set themselves up to judge the work of Spirit by comparing their own case with that of some they know who have been healed much more quickly. This disposition is thoroughly rebuked by Jesus in the parable given us in the twentieth chapter of Matthew. All that Christ, Truth, can bestow upon any person is understanding, plenty, holiness, healing, and joy in the Spirit. These are symbolized in the parable by the “penny.” It is not for us to complain whether we are required to work for these one hour or twelve hours, twelve days or twelve months. It is our business simply to follow in the way and be faithful.

Neither should we be envious or attempt to judge the situation by the case of those who are healed more quickly than are we. Not infrequently those who are speedily healed do not acquire so clear an understanding of the truth of Science, and if our fuller understanding must come in advance of the healing, we need not complain, but rather rejoice that by any expenditure of time and effort it may be attained. Impatience and haste are great detriments to healing. Many times it is not realized until after the patient has consciously acquired and assimilated an entirely new understanding of life and health. It was so in the writer’s case. During many weary weeks he got no apparent benefit from treatment, until he came unto the understanding and acceptance of Christian Science as Jesus taught and practised it. After he gained this understanding, his healing was rapid and thorough.

St. Paul tells us: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” It is only because we are in a false sense of ourselves that we seem to be sick, and we have to be transformed out of this false mind, which conforms to this world’s way of thinking, into the Mind of Spirit, which is the Mind of health, joy, strength, peace, and life eternal. To accomplish this transformation is the greatest, most important, and most beneficent task that any human being ever did or ever can undertake; and to attain this transformation in understanding and realization often requires weeks, sometimes months. Suppose it does. Should we not be as willing to spend all the time necessary to gain the understanding of the Science of eternal life, and to gain permanently our health in the process, as to spend much money and months of time to learn the science of algebra, or astronomy, or chemistry?

The Bible contains many exhortations to be patient and persistent while we are being healed by Spirit, God. Let us read and heed the following as a single example: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Patients often unconsciously maintain a spirit of self-righteousness, which acts very much to their own detriment. They may say, “I have done, as nearly as I could, what the practitioner told me, I have paid for my treatment, and I have tried earnestly to avoid committing sin. I do not see why I am not healed.” If the patient can truthfully make such an assertion, then perchance but one thing is lacking, namely, self-surrender through love. Without love, we do all these things in a calculating spirit, in a spirit of bargaining, saying to ourselves that because we have done such and such things, therefore we have a right to expect such and such things in return. But love never calculates, never bargains. A lover bestows time and gifts freely upon his friend, looking for nothing in return except her love, and is continually seeking other ways in which he may serve and please. He does not calculate and bargain with her, even in his own thought. Because he approaches her in this way, his friend, though reserved and hesitant at first, at length comes to the point where she is ready to bestow upon him her unreserved affection.

So if we seek the truth, not because we are looking for what it will bestow, but because we really love it for its own sake and are anxious to spend time and money in acquiring it and serving it, then its riches speedily become our possession. The proper way to seek the truth may be expressed in the following paraphrase: I take thee for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; in prosperity and adversity; to love and to cherish, to have and to hold forever; and upon thee I bestow all my worldly goods. Truth, thus sought, will not long withhold her blessings.

(Originally published in the July, 1909 Christian Science Journal)

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