Negative criticism often starts small – a single thought of self-satisfaction or superiority. But, oh my, it can flare up fast! A mental form of suicide bombing, it demoralizes the one who judges as well as the judged, leaving no winners.
The Christ only voices what is good. God’s message to us is good, good and more good. That’s how you recognize it. There is no condemnation, exclusion or separation from good in a Christly view. Christ Jesus spoke of this undeviating good judgment when he said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
In the Bible, King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden god to be worshipped in Babylon. Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, three Jewish men brought to Babylon during the occupation of Jerusalem, were charged and convicted of the crime of failure to bow to the god at the proper time. All their efforts at self-defense being ignored, they were thrown into a red-hot furnace to be burned to death. (See Daniel 3)
The Bible gives us a few important details about these men:
- They prayed regularly to the one true God. Even before this problem arose, consistent prayer gave them a spiritual world-view. Prayer wasn’t a last ditch resource when all else failed. They lived lives of prayer.
- They didn’t combust in the fire. The furnace was turned up seven times higher than for a usual death sentence and they didn’t combust! Mary Baker Eddy offered a profound insight into that story in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She wrote, “Holy inspiration has created states of mind which have been able to nullify the action of the flames, as in the Bible case of the three young Hebrew captives, while an opposite mental state might produce spontaneous combustion.” (p. 161)
Could it that Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego had such an awareness of God’s love and of man’s innate goodness, that they saw the king as he really was? Is it possible that the Christ message of God and man was so clear, so precise, and so good, that it freed them from judging the king negatively? What else could the king see in such a case, but his own true self reflected back at him in the faces of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego?
We know for sure that the king was transformed. The men were released unharmed and the golden god regulations on worship were replaced with a new policy acknowledging the one true God. The individual prayers of three men completely renovated the national political scene.
Every righteous judgment, every prayer to hear God’s voice opens us to the Christ-power that can extinguish the hotspots in families, churches, communities and nations, one fiery furnace at a time.
Want some prayer MOJO today? Judge righteous Christly judgment. Be certain that all anyone sees when they look in your face, in your behavior, in your attitude, in your words, is your recognition of the “form of the fourth” – their true likeness as the child of God.
Your individual prayer, too, can reshape public policy, impel church progress and redeem individual lives from the flames of injustice, simply through letting the Christ take the lead in your thought. Let the world feel and see your love today.
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