Watching Point 303
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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303 — WATCH lest you be tempted by the elder brother thought which malpractices on those who have been in Egypt and are struggling to return to the Father’s house. Once Mrs. Eddy declared that she would rather have a member in the church to work with who was forty percent good, than one who was ninety-five percent good!
The rich young man who came to Jesus asking what to do to be saved, was in his own estimation ninety-five percent good. He was really seeking the commendation of the Master for his great goodness, since he declared that he had kept the Commandments from his youth up. Jesus knew, however, that all human sense had to be eliminated, whether it called itself good or bad; so he told the young man that he would have to sell, or get rid of all that he had. This caused the latter to feel sad, because he had so much of the human that seemed good to him, that it loomed up as a great sacrifice to get rid of it; whereas the one to whom the majority of the human appears to be worthless, is far more willing to part with human sense.
If the divine must overcome the human at every point, the more desirable the human looks to your eyes, the sadder it makes you when you contemplate the need of getting rid of it. The prodigal son was doubtless forty percent good, in contrast to the elder brother who fancied that he was so near perfection that he had no need of more than five percent purification. Yet his ninety-five percent of goodness proved itself to be little more than self-righteousness, when he attempted to put a stumbling block in the way of his brother’s effort to progress spiritually!
The elder brothers who believe that they are within five percent of perfection, make all the trouble in Christian Science. They do not hesitate to malpractice on anyone they believe to be lower down in the scale of goodness than they are. When a student who has strayed is honestly striving to reform, and in humility acknowledges the error he has to overcome, it is usually the elder brothers who place a stumbling block in his way, and are affronted at the thought of his returning to full fellowship in the Father’s house!