Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gaining the Approval That Matters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Gaining the Approval That Matters

Article excerpt

RUDYARD Kipling wrote a number of stories for children in which he would now and then address his reader or listener as "best beloved. I had not read the stories recently, but one day, not long ago, the expression came to my thought and reminded me that we are all God's "best beloved. Here's what happened.

I had taken several actions that others had disapproved of. Since there were good reasons for what I'd done, I wasn't really worried that I'd made a mistake. But I was hurt by the disapproval I felt. As I normally do when I'm troubled, I turned to God in prayer to regain my peace of mind. I prayed to feel the allness of Mind, God, and the ever-presence of His goodness and love. In spite of much prayer that evening, I was still unhappy about these people's displeasure.

The next morning, however, when I thought about the situation again, I remembered the words "best beloved. The tender love they expressed reminded me of God's love for all His creation. This quieted my anxiety, and I soon thought of showing the people concerned a copy of the instructions I had been following so that they would have some idea of why I had taken the actions. This was just what was needed, and friendly feelings were soon restored.

Probably most of us like to be approved of, to feel that people are pleased with what we do and are. But when people aren't approving of us, for whatever reason, we can learn from Jesus' life where to turn for approval that doesn't come and go. Although Jesus was greatly loved by some, others were filled with hatred towards him. But this did not deter Jesus from continuing with his mission. He had the approval that really matters, the approval of God, whom he loved and obeyed. Matthew's Gospel records that God had said of Christ Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

We learn in the Bible that we can all call God Father as His beloved children. As we begin to understand that God, Spirit, is truly our Father, is truly the creator of all, we begin to see something of our genuine, spiritual identity as the man God made in His own image and likeness. Recognizing that the man we all truly are is spiritual assures us that God is, indeed, "well pleased with His creation.

It's true that God would not be pleased with a mortal sinner, who is led astray by anger, sensuality, covetousness, selfishness, and so on. But we can progressively give up this false concept of ourselves as mortal and live more fully in accord with what we know of ourselves as God's likeness, the man with whom God is well pleased.

A remarkable account in Genesis illustrates the life-changing effects of acting in a way that gains God's approval. It's a story that could have happened today. Jacob had greatly wronged his brother, Esau, and as a result had fled to another country to escape the anger of his brother, who intended to kill him. …

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