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God's Parenting: "the union of justice & affection" in "Everlasting Principled Love"

Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director
Posted Tuesday, October 28th, 2003

God's Parenting: "the union of justice & affection" in "Everlasting Principled Love"
Relevant Application Ideas for camp staff & Sunday School on "Everlasting Punishment"
by Warren Huff, CedarS Director

This lesson gives a great TREATment for Halloween week. Using "the two cardinal points of Mind-healing" like Jesus did, the lesson simultaneously "nothingizes" (makes nothing of) the TRICK of apparent evil (masked as punishable forms of "material life and intelligence") and "somethingizes"(as in Moses' 1st Commandment) "the mighty actuality of ALL-INCLUSIVE God, good." (S&H 52:19-23, caps added) And, since God is "ALL-INCLUSIVE," you need never feel punished by the exclusivity of those who are still fooled by some of matter's many masks that you have already seen through. Another key to treating a sense of mean-spirited exclusion and exclusivity is in one of Mrs. Eddy's hymns: "wait and love more for every hate, and fear No ill, - since God is good, and loss is gain." (CS Hymnal 207:3, bold added) (Principled Love can turn a traditional P/L (Profit/Loss) statement upside down.)

This week's lesson is also a great kick-off for this month of Thanks-Giving in that it gives us great reason for gratitude, a leading ingredient in Jesus' healing work. (See the raising of Lazarus, John 11:41-44) Mrs. Eddy selected the first two lesson sermons of November to remind us of the joyous, Biblically based FACT that, contrary to the depressing, main line beliefs of her day and of our day, we are NOT miserable sinners destined to suffer "Everlasting Punishment." No matter the situation or the sins that may have been committed, God's everlasting, Principled Love is always there to unmask the illusion of pleasure in sin, break the cycle of suffering and set us free. What a great proof of this is Moses, the initially flawed character featured in the first three to four sections of the lesson who eventually led his people to freedom. Thank you, Lesson Committee, for giving us a revealing "background check" of Moses and his vigilante-style murder of an Egyptian taskmaster. (1st section) It's as if this eventually revered leader, Moses, thought that by personally picking off one taskmaster at a time, he could right the wrongs against his enslaved people by his own efforts, when with God's help alone was he able to return to Egypt to do the job right. He gave his people (and US!) God's "Top Ten" ways to preserve our mental and moral freedom from which all freedom springs. In the 4th section Joshua helps the Israelites learn and practice these freedoms till they are finally ready to enter the Promised Land. We should hourly ask ourselves what mental slavery we are vainly trying to shake off when we fail to actively call on divine Love for help. God's Principled Love is "tough love" that won't do the work we need to do for ourselves. But, our Mommy-Daddy will, when we humbly listen, lovingly supports us and has "mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers." (Unity of Good 3:28) even if serious mis-starts and mistakes seem to have been made. (See Jesus' teaching on this in his parable of the Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-32.)

Golden Text: ". . . . Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; . . .." Ps 41:4
A great theme to launch this lesson is this prayer attributed to David for healing and for God's mercy (after having an adulterous affair with Bath-sheba, and then killing her husband Uriah in II Sam. 11:2- II Sam. 12:13). As nothing else can, divine Love totally transforms one and all from the inside out. See subsequent prayer attributed to David in the 1st section (Ps. 51). Love alone cures the cause rather than merely alleviating the symptoms temporarily. "The test of ALL prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living consistently with our prayer?" (S&H 9:5, BOLD CAPS added) This week's Researched Bible Guide (Daybreak Publications, 561-776-5711) adds "The Talmud (Shabbos) derives from this verse that God supplies the invalid with strength and nutrition. When the illness reaches a crisis point, only God can provide a cure and all the ministrations of the physicians are futile." (Rabbi Feuer)

Responsive Reading: "Tough love," as an expression of Principled Love, makes us all accountable for our own actions. But when a mistake has been CORRECTED, it's time to stop mentioning it! (or run the risk of making a reality of a mere nightmare that is over) "None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him." Ezek. 33:16 This is where the fire part of Jesus' 2-part baptism comes into play. (John the Baptist prophesied "he that cometh after me . . . shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, (pneuma, meaning both wind and Spirit) and with fire:" Matthew 3:11) Before starting the baptismal winnowing process of separating the chaff from the wheat, agriculture experts (without the help of mechanized equipment) build a fire just below and DOWNWIND from the top of the nearest hill. (Hopefully this week's fires in CA weren't set for this purpose, but in any case, we'll all unite to pray that the loss there be turned to gain, and that the winds of Spirit be directed to keep communities protected.) B. Cobbey Crisler in his "Auditing the Master" workshop on the book of Matthew points out that the sorting out of the mixed-up mess of good and bad, chaff and wheat, is not man's responsibility. It would be futile to pick out one piece of chaff at a time, like it was for Moses to pick off one taskmaster at a time. The sorting (hat) job is the Holy Ghost's (Spirit or wind). Man's only job is to cart the mixed-up mess up to the highest point around and lift it up "with fan in hand" for gravity and wind (Spirit) to do the separating. While the heavier grain falls directly into a pile to keep, the lighter chaff is blown downwind into the fire to be consumed. Being destroyed like sin, it need no longer be mentioned.

1st section: Principled Love "wipes it (error) out in the most effectual manner!" (S&H 11:18) According to Acts 7:23, Moses was 40 years old when he "went out unto his brethren, and looked their burdens." Ex. 2:11 The story of Moses "shows the futility of attempting to rescue Israel without divine aid. Moses cannot kill each taskmaster individually; his initial intervention only alienates both the Egyptians and his own people." (Anchor Bible (AB) on Exodus 2:15) Centuries later King David also made some big blunders. His adulterous and murderous intervention into the lives of his people resulted in the prayer attributed to him in Psalms 51. "This Psalm is often and fitly called THE SINNER'S GUIDE. It often helps the returning sinner. Athanasius (bishop of Alexandra, AD 350) recommends to some Christians, to whom he was writing, to repeat it when they awake at night." (Researched Bible Guide quoting Spurgeon & William S. Plummer, 1867) "Generous in love -- God, give grace! Huge in mercy -- wipe out my bad record. I know how bad I've been; my sins are starring me down." The Message "repentance which is spurred by love is far superior to that which is motivated by fear of punishment. David composed this psalm to uplift his spirit to that level of love which is a prerequisite for the deliverance of love.'" With this in mind let's make sure that Principled Love always motivates and rules our actions and our discipline. It has been said that principle without love is like an iceberg, while love without principle is like a jelly fish. Finding the right balance usually means speaking gently with principle.
"Speak gently, it is better far To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently, let no harsh word mar
The good we may do here.

Speak gently to the erring ones,
They must have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
O win them back again." CS Hymn #315: 1, 2
Science & Health- More on exclusion! "Error excludes itself from harmony." (537:14) It's great that Mary Baker Eddy partially defines MOSES in the glossary of S&H as "the proof that, without the gospel, -- the union of justice and affection, -- there is something spiritually lacking, since justice demands penalties under the law." (592:12-15)

2nd section: Principled love (like that shown by Moses) stands up for the rights of womanhood (Zipporah and her sisters at the well), by reflecting the divine Love that "equalizes the sexes, annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished of destroyed." (S&H 340:28)
Science & Health- On page 405 in a paragraph titled "Mental conspirators," Mrs. Eddy alerts us, like Moses did his people, that hatred, lust, revenge and deceit are enemies that will enslave us if not detected and corrected. Let's learn these lessons by Science, not by suffering. (240:25)

3rd Section: Principled love, like Moses, is very meek, as opposed to a personal sense of love which is very possessive and prideful. Those NOT wrapped up in self and self-love are alert to the unusual, like a burning bush that was not consumed.
"Certainly I will be with you" Ex 3:12
When commissioned by God out of the burning bush, Moses asks "Who am I (to do all this)? Yahweh does not answer directly but responds, as it were: 'The question is not who you are, but who I am, and I will be with you.'" (Anchor Bible, 12)
Science & Health- "The talents He gives we must improve." (6:6) No room for laziness or resting on our laurels! "Work badly done or left undone" (6:7) is offensive to a perfect, all-acting God. It is certainly not part of His reflection.

4th Section: Principled Love "will not always chide" (Ps 103:9) as sung in "Godspell." The Message puts this passage in contemporary terms: "God . . . doesn't endlessly nag or scold, nor hold grudges forever."
Science & Health- "Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers." (15:26) While it's impossible to pray constantly in a traditional sense, expressing these divine qualities become daily more natural for one who seeks to be a meek reflector of Principled Love, rather than an originator of these qualities. Love is the only verb out of the seven Biblicallly-derived synonyms Mrs. Eddy's lists in her definition of God. It was fun to learn last Saturday at a Barry Huff Bible workshop for our Sunday School that in Hebrew, Yahweh is a "to be" verb. Israel saw God as a verb, not a noun. Only an actively expressed, Principled Love is able to "arouse the sinner . . . (and) show him that sin confers no pleasure, and this knowledge strengthens his moral courage and increases his ability to master evil and love good." (404: 22)

5th Section: Principled love teaches with divine authority "how to escape from evil" (S&H 316:3) and seeks to rescue "from seeming spiritual oblivion" (S&H 382:24) all who need most to be healed of "all thine iniquities" . . and "all thy diseases." (Ps. 103:4)
Science & Health - Here's another "catch it early" tip from Principled Love: "Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate. . . " (390:20)

6th Section: Principled love is "when the times of refreshing . . . come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19) to bring "infinite blessings" such as "the joys of Spirit," grace, holiness and the freedom of God's laws written "in their mind, and . . . in their hearts." (Hebrews 8:10) Obedience to God's Commandments is Biblically connected to Jesus' healing method. Try daily reviewing your compliance with each Commandment in your every thought, word and act and watch for wonders to occur! Jesus said that the "finger of God" (which was responsible for writing the 10 Commandments in Exodus 31:18) was also behind his method of casting out devils. (See Luke 11:20) May the finger of God indelibly etch His laws from on high in our mind and hearts!
Science & Health - Mrs. Eddy quotes Paul often, twice in this section. (325:10-24) She ranks Paul along with Jesus as "unpretentious yet colossal characters, . . . stars of the first magnitude - fixed stars in the heavens of Soul." Misc. 360:6 And yet, Paul started as the biggest persecutor of Christians, who stood by while Stephen was stoned. (See Acts 7:58, 59) After his transforming and blinding vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus, he became the greatest spokesman and spreader of Christianity and is probably the reason we are Christians today. We need to be as open-minded and forgiving of those who have done wrong and see them as on their road to Damascus, as we discussed in class last Sunday. Then, "unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love -- the kingdom of heaven -- reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear." (248:29)

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