Self-justification leads us astray. Sometimes we may feel like justifying our bad day, or treating someone poorly, or acting out of impulsive human will. If we feel that we are justifying something in our lives, it may be an indicator that listening to God, yielding to divine Love, can open the way to making us feel at peace and revealing even better solutions than we were thinking of.
I recall a time when I was having a rough day. I began ruminating and thinking about all the reasons why I was justified in feeling that things were going so badly: our preschool age son woke up at 3:30a.m., my husband was out-of-town, our new cat was being troublesome. All I was focused on was: how can I make my day, my life, easier? Well making our life easy wasn’t exactly Christ Jesus message to us. He certainly didn’t take the easy road and I didn’t have to be tempted into thinking that was the solution either. I could meet whatever challenges came my way with Christ-like confidence, courage and conviction.
Whenever I find myself ruminating on something — getting stuck in thinking that the solution will come in one specific way, I pray. Jesus said “the kingdom of heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21). I have come to realize that the kingdom of heaven — the experience of health, harmony, love, dominion, joy, and freedom — can be found here and now, through our oneness with God, infinite Mind, all the time. We don’t have to wait for human circumstances to change. It may seem like a different income level, or job, or location, or family status is going to solve our problems. But the Christlike activity of God is always revealing in human consciousness revealing the Way — the way to see, know and experience the kingdom of God right here and now.
Well back to my rough day. Although I don’t like to admit it, the thought from the carnal mind that was supposedly going to make everything better was that maybe we should give the cat back (we had recently adopted him from a shelter) — after all, there was the litter to clean up, the cost of the food, keeping us up at night, etc. Wouldn’t my life be better if we didn’t have a cat after all?
I don’t like to make blind decisions out of human will or self-justification so I decided I would pray about it. I talked to my husband about it that day, and he alerted me to see which option I felt I needed to justify more: keeping our cat or returning him? Well, there were what seemed like a million practical reasons as to why I was justified in returning him.
But as I reached out in prayer, the message that came was: what if you just loved him? Yielding to that message brought such a sweet sense of calm and trust. This was a whole new thought. I had been listening to all the justifications going on in my thought about all the reasons this cat was making my life difficult instead of focusing on the love and affection that had impelled us to adopt him. Through prayer, I began to see our cat, Joey, as a beautiful, spiritual idea of God and I felt compassion and humility toward him. I was also able to feel a greater sense of calm about the day in general despite my lack of sleep and frustration and family not being around to help. The frustration of the day completely melted and everything that day became more harmonious. My sister and some friends called and invited us to participate in a fun activity with the kids. And I was able to book an earlier flight home for my husband (instead of the 2-day bus ride across country that we had originally booked for him) at no additional cost.
It was clear that Love was embracing and meeting the needs of all of us, and it was my job to yield to this feeling of Love, loving us all. What a joy and relief that brings!
A few days later, I realized I was feeling so settled and peaceful that I hadn’t even thought about our home as being anything less than harmonious. Our cat, Joey, was seen as just another member of the family. Out of the blue, our son said “I don’t want to take Joey back to the Humane Society”. I said, “Me neither.”
In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.
Divine Love dissolved the self-justification that I had been feeling. Just the other day, Joey was laying on our son’s playmat while our son gently rolled his cars and trucks over Joey’s back. Joey lay still and peacefully content as the cars rolled over “Mt. Joey”, as our son called him. Later, Joey gently licked our dog, giving her face a “bath” as she lay peacefully resting. I was awed by the sense of peace and harmony present between all of us in our home.
Mary Baker Eddy SH 242:15 In