Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Your true heritage

A guest post written by our very own Kathie Kilgore Paine, a member here at Sixth Church of Christ, Scientist, Long Beach
I recently saw an online ad for DNA testing that claimed to “show a quick look at what makes YOU.” While this kind of testing has certainly helped to resolve some of today’s problems, I’ve found that I don’t need to accept the evidence of DNA as a blueprint for my life.
Growing up, I heard interesting family stories about the loyalty, courage, and endurance of my kind, hard-working ancestors. Looking at old photographs, I felt as if I knew them, and I was proud of them and loved them. But along with the positive aspects, there were negative ones: tragic deaths, family illnesses, certain undesirable traits and tendencies, and a “curse” of accidents. Was I doomed to repeat these things?
When I was very young I attended a Christian Science Sunday School where I was taught the idea that each of us is perfect and good as the child of the one Father-Mother God. When I thought about the doom and gloom of my ancestors in the context of being a perfect child of God, I felt confident that I did not have to repeat the ills or sins of my ancestors after all. I could agree with Jeremiah, “…they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” (Jer. 31:29)
I found I was able to claim my God-given qualities such as joy, poise, intelligence, and peace instead of accepting traits of a bad temper, perfectionism, and anxiety. As a child I stopped slamming doors in a rage. In high school I orally defended a paper without falling apart. In college I maintained a high GPA without stressing out over tests. No longer shy, nervous, or overly serious, I became happier and more at ease with people, glorifying God in all that I did.
I was able to continue claiming not only my God-given qualities, but also my students’ God-given qualities, during my career as a classroom teacher – we were all free from the curse of hereditary repetition. I learned to be more patient and understanding, knowing that my students’ shortcomings and negative traits were nothing more than “baggage” that could be left outside on the steps. It was a privilege to witness improvements in behavior as well as academic progress.
Continuing to hold to this idea, I have found success in dealing with accidents and illness. As Mary Baker Eddy puts it in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is within you;’ that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal.”
No one is doomed to repeat an ancestor’s sins. As the perfect children of God, we are not cursed; we are blessed.
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