Avoid sympathetic suffering

Posted on Apr 10, 2017 | 20 Comments
Avoid sympathetic suffering

Are you alert to protect your thinking from sympathetic suffering?

By sympathetic suffering, I’m talking about allowing someone else’s suffering to become your suffering.

I’ve known people who were cheery and happy until something bad happened to a family member or friend, and suddenly their happiness was gone. They allowed another’s belief of loss to become their belief of loss. Or people who are in excellent health until a close friend loses their health. They feel sorry for their friend, and then later find themselves fighting similar symptoms.

Christian Science is super adamant on the importance of guarding thought against any suggestions that deny the presence of God’s perfect creation. To stay in good health, our consciousness needs to be dominated by healthy spiritual thinking. And healthy spiritual thinking is the effect of knowing God’s omnipresent good that has no fear of disease or evil.

This doesn’t mean we become insensitive to our neighbor’s suffering and needs. Quite to the contrary. We become compassionate. Compassion is the act of blessing one’s neighbor with truth and love that heals rather than just agreeing with the suffering or feeling sorry about it.

Sympathy can be like standing on the bank of a quicksand pit, seeing a friend sinking in the middle and jumping in with them. Both are then lost. Compassion is keeping one’s feet firmly planted on the bank and then reaching out to grab the hand of the one sinking and pulling them out.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote,

“Disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed” Science and Health, p. 411.

“Many a hopeless case of disease is induced by a single post-mortem examination, — not from infection nor from contact with material virus, but from the fear of the disease and from the image brought before the mind; it is a mental state, which is afterwards outlined on the body” Science and Health, p. 196.

“Sympathy with error should disappear” Science and Health, p. 211.

Love your fellowman, but don’t sympathize with their false beliefs. Heal errors of belief with truth and love!

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20 Comments

  1. Avenel Hume (Bid)
    April 10, 2017

    This is so helpful for me,Evan Thank you very much.
    I see I must be more alert and not let lying suggestions, aggressive suggestions, become real to me.
    I have found this quote more helpful than anything else : “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust that the recognition of Life harmonious- as Life eternally is-, can destroy any painful sense of. or belief in that which Life is not ” This goes on to the end of the paragraph on page 495 in Science and Health by Mrs Eddy.
    Knowing that exercising my God-given clear sense and calm trust is my sure defence has been a great help as I’ve prayed..

    Reply
  2. Karen Sagehorn
    April 10, 2017

    These are the thoughts/ideas that came to me in prayer yesterday and I am so grateful for your clear and concise and caring words. I have a daycare in my home and there has been much sickness in every family. I thought that love expressed would be with empathy/sympathy and wishes for quickly restored health. However as I got sick, too, it became apparent that something needed to change in me. It became clear that divine Love would not see/hear/know anything about these sicknesses; thus, divine Love would be knowing/seeing all the affected persons as Gid’s holy divine ideas -complete and perfect-this is true love, not the empathy/sympathy with material symptoms. What a different way to express love. With deep gratitude for your time in prayer, Evan and for your generous sharing.

    Reply
  3. Bill Gearhart
    April 10, 2017

    Evan: You reached out several months ago when I was mesmerized by illnesses when confronted with friends occupied with believing they had a modern complaint with a belief of cancer. I had called you for guidance and you were on a trip, (lectures) and you took the time to redirect my thoughts and concerns assuring that I did not have any aliment with immediate prayer and healing. This was truly a wonderful healing and experience.
    You are right on target with this issue. I am more than thankful and how much I appreciate your continued care of your students and your yearly class meetings.

    Reply
  4. Chris
    April 10, 2017

    Thank you immensely dear Evan and each commentor! Just the perfect truths brought forth at the just the perfect time for me (and undoubtedly many of us!) THIS is the ONLY type of thinking I want spread around me! Thanks for being crystal clear! Wow! My most humble and deep appreciation today and every day!

    Reply
  5. Ellen Biemer
    April 10, 2017

    Thanks so much for this reminder! It’s so important, not just to immediately refute the picture of suffering, but to hold onto that assertion of freedom.

    I visited a friend yesterday in a nursing home. The material picture seemed very aggressive. I was grateful to be able to sit with her and declare Truth! – separating that picture of her from her true being.

    Further challenge came afterwards, when the mortal picture tried to creep back into thought. It is tempting to be fearful for her. But that is no part of her! She is now and always the perfect image of God. That can never be taken from her. And the reality of God’s power and presence can’t be taken from me, either. Harmony is the law of God. So grateful to be given the tools and understanding to assert its reality in all circumstances!

    Reply
    • Uta, Hamburg/Germany
      April 10, 2017

      Thank you, Ellen, for the loving care for your friend in a nursing home.
      As years ago I worked as a nurse in a CS nursing home, I very much cherish also the thoughts about the situation you had and which you share with us – very lovely!

      Dear Evan, thank you so much for your clear SpiritView. You are right, we must
      not suffer with other peoples` error, but rather to be charitable and loving to them. Am grateful to have learned of a higher Love which heals in Christian Science!

      Reply
  6. Jennifer
    April 10, 2017

    This message has come at just the right moment….it’s reassuring. I struggle when people around me are talking about their or someone’s illnesses. I don’t want to appear cold and heartless but I also don’t want to agree with the illness. I don’t know how to approach those people about CS as an alternate way of healing, as I’ve been shot down before. So I keep praying about it, about the wholeness of each one of us and that the so-called illness is unreal, that God is always here for us to reflect his vitality, health and harmony. I sometimes call out to God in my thinking to help me all the while the discussion is going on around me. That seems to help “drown” out the chatter.

    Thanks again Evan and all the commenters everyday for the inspirations being shared here. I’m very grateful to Christian Science.

    Reply
  7. Lori Marquart
    April 10, 2017

    Thanks so much, Evan, for clarifying the difference between sympathy and compassion. It has been a challenge for me to see God’s perfect child in my daughter who seems to have a number of ailments. She is not a Christian Scientist and is somewhat antagonistic towards Christian Science. One thought I pray with is from Psalm 91 “Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling for He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Not and exact quote.) This is also helpful when thinking about friends with physical challenges. No plague, or any other claim of imperfection, can come nigh their dwelling. God’s angels are protecting and caring for ALL, every single one, of His creation!

    Reply
  8. Gloria
    April 10, 2017

    I find this same thing happening even with fellow Christian Scientists who are dealing with issues and seeming not to get results with their prayers, and are bent on telling you how hard they are trying, or why they have decided to take the medical route (their choice to do). Then I find myself having to ramp up my own affirmations concerning God’s omnipotence and my relationship to Him as a perfect reflection of His perfect creation. They don’t always want to hear any Truths I have to offer. So thanks for the encouragement to stand fast about what I know to be true about myself and them and all mankind.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer
    April 10, 2017

    Thank you Lori, for your method of knowing about your daughter and others. I will study the 91st Psalms.

    Reply
  10. Daphne
    April 10, 2017

    Thanks, Evan, and all for the wake-up call to watch our thinking about being in sympathy with error. It’s helpful to me, not just for so-called material ailments, but to watch that I’m not in sympathy with false pictures of personality—bossiness or unkind words—and react to them. It is holding to the truth of being in our consciousness that lifts our thought above any picture of dis-ease and fills our thought with love and compassion rather than fear and judgement. We can’t be intimidated by error of any sort. Thanks again!

    Reply
  11. Bud
    April 10, 2017

    Terrific post and great comments. I must focus on these ideas in my prayers. This is exactly what I need at this time. God is good and God is all.

    Reply
  12. Terri
    April 10, 2017

    Thank you for this reminder. A practitioner told me a long time ago to stay out of other people’s mortal dreams.

    Reply
  13. Nadine
    April 10, 2017

    Thank you Evan. Lori’s suggestion of the 91st psalm is also a good one. Good for a new grandmother.

    Reply
  14. Marilyn
    April 10, 2017

    This is timely for probably everyone. I have felt for a long time that Mary Baker Eddy’s statement about post mortem examinations has application to tv programs or movies that feature a lot of detail or pictures of post mortem examinations. Some of these are very vivid, and should be erased from thought as promptly as possible.

    Reply
  15. MB
    April 10, 2017

    Thank you everyone for your really helpful comments on an important subject, and thank you Evan. This blog is such a treasure.

    Reply
  16. Patty
    April 10, 2017

    When very new to CS, the practitioner (who later became my teacher) quoted the passage Bid quoted ( When the illusion is sickness or sin etc) in order to help me to remember the essence of that – new to me- quote I took illusion to literally mean an “ill you shun” and have found it’s a powerful and instant denial or rejection of a error and then I can later give a more thorough treatment. Thank you Evan and SV family for all your open and supportive comments!!

    Reply
  17. Tellie
    April 10, 2017

    Very helpful Evan.
    Thank you. Bless you for all the good that you do to your fellowmen.

    Reply
  18. Anna
    April 10, 2017

    I just received word that my mother (not a Christian Scientist) has fallen and being taken by ambulance to the hospital with a possibly broken hip. I’m trying to pray and yet struggling with a sense of emotionalism because it is my human mother, and I’m half way across the country from her. Trying to take in your words about not “jumping into the quicksand” with her. When it’s someone you love very much, it’s a challenge to not fall into the dream with them! Still, I know these are very wise words and I am so appreciative for all that you share.

    Reply
  19. deb
    April 12, 2017

    this one I keep, print out & post. So thankful Evan!

    Reply

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