Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Patterns for Living

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Patterns for Living

Article excerpt

ALL of us are familiar with patterns--in clothing, in traffic, in landscapes. I vividly remember the pattern of greens I saw from a plane flying over Ireland! There are other patterns, however, that are not so pleasant. Patterns of failure, anger, dishonesty, or loss are among them. These are patterns we do not want, but sometimes seem to live and relive. If you are in one of these patterns and feel trapped by it, the good news is that you can break free. And prayer, based on the Scriptures, will show you how.

If there was ever a man who knew how to help individuals to eliminate from themselves their own destructive patterns of behavior and thought, it was Christ Jesus. He dealt with prostitutes, corrupt officials, uncontrolled temper, and fearfulness. Those who really wanted to change their lives were able to do so, however, as a result of his teachings.

One constructive pattern that shows up consistently in Jesus' work with people is his refusal to condemn them. This doesn't mean that he ignored wrongdoing. But he did release individuals from it by lifting their thoughts to a higher view of themselves and their relationship to God. He taught that a knowledge of God and of our own wholly spiritual identity could totally transform our lives.

Jesus recognized that repentance --the willingness to admit our mistakes and to change our ways--is a vital first step in overcoming sin and failure. He also knew that we need to go beyond being sorry, by conforming to what we are as God's creation. This change does not come about through some grand pronouncement. Spiritual growth and renewal come daily as we accept the joys and responsibilities of being the spiritual reflection of God. Both are expressed in this invitation from the Master, which is found in Matthew's Gospel: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. …

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