Watching Point 95
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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95 — WATCH lest the phrase, “The fear of the Lord,” offend you so much that you seek to interpret it by softening the meaning of the word fear. If you were living with a family of criminals and did not know it, you would immediately become afraid, when you found it out. But this fear would be wholesome, since it would cause you to make plans to leave. It would be the beginning of wisdom. Our Leader once declared, “The fear of the Lord is a wholesome idea.”
When the Lord, or the spirit of understanding, comes to you, it brings you fear, not of mortal mind, but of the effects of continuing to let it control you, since in belief it shuts you off from God. This is the beginning of wisdom, because it is the first step out of bondage. The student should be afraid to let his thought be overshadowed by mortal belief, not because he is afraid of a lie, or what the lie claims to do, but of what it means to have a distorted sense of omnipotent good.
The power of God is the only power, and it is wise to fear a distorted sense of divine power and the consequent misuse which follows. If animal magnetism is a distortion or humanizing of divine power, it is wise to fear, — not animal magnetism, — but the acceptance of it.
The fear of the Lord might be defined as a fear to offend God by accepting a finite or sinful sense of man and the universe. God is perfect and His creation is perfect. We should fear lest we accept or believe anything less than that high standard. If one understands the nature of omnipotence, he will fear to misuse or misconceive of it in the slightest degree.
Mortal man is kept in line through fear of matter, suffering, punishment, medical law, etc. In Science we need a certain measure of fear to take the place of this, to keep us in line prior to the point where we gain such a love for God, good, that no other incentive is necessary. Mrs. Eddy’s use of the fear of the Lord is illustrated by the prophecy she wrote for the students on December 23, 1886: ‚So sure as they give up the Church or let it be taken out of their hands, they will lose God’s presence and providence in their behalf, and have no character in the public as a Christian Scientist. Those who are not helping this church will at length lose their power as healers.”