- by Anthony Whitehouse CS
If there is one personality in the Bible who behaves in an odd manner it has to be John the Baptist. His mother and the mother of Jesus are related, he prophesies the coming of the Messiah, he baptizes and prepares thousands for the coming of Christ but when Christ turns up and even after he recognizes Jesus as the Christ, he has a crisis of confidence and cannot follow him.
How could that possibly happen ? Even Jesus kept sending him proof of his healings as we find in Matthew 11:4 “ Go and shew John again those things which you do see and hear”.
What weapon did error use in this instance ? The answer is the weapon of confusion. And it is this sense of confusion which is the mist which went up from the earth and watered the ground. Confusion is the mingling of good and evil, the lack of clarity which comes from having more than one Mind and more than one creation.
So are we going to fall into the same trap as John the Baptist? I am a great believer in learning from other peoples mistakes. In this instance I think it behooves us to learn from one of the greatest spiritual blunders in history. Interestingly Moses made the same mistake. He never got to the promised land either because he allowed himself to become confused about the existence of God and the validity of His promises.
When John the Baptist allowed himself to become confused about the reality of the Christ in his experience , we see the result only too clearly. He lost his head. In fact his story is a terrible condemnation of allowing ourselves to become confused. The issue here is not really one of doubt but of confusion. We can be in a position where we do not really doubt the creation and perfection of God but we can be led into a position where we are so confused by human events that we lose the mental clarity which allows us to insist and experience the perfection and creation of God as our own reality.
Irrespective of how painful a realization it may be I believe it is essential to realize that error is very good at sowing confusion. The parable of the tares and the wheat witness this phenomenon. It will present us with a so called insoluble problem and we end up totally confused by the situation! Immediately we lose our spiritual clarity and focus. We are persuaded there is more than one creation and more than one Mind. Confounding confusion has to be the result and such result involves our exclusion from the kingdom. Our leader tells us “Man is harmonious when governed by Soul “ but that statement will lose its power if we become confused by a problem.
So the answer must be to always maintain that intense spiritual clarity that is never confused. In order to have this clarity we must totally deny the reality of sin, sickness and death. If we accept error then confusion must result. God warns us against eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil (and even touching it!) but we do not heed the warning. Why? Because the real fruit of this tree is confusion and we have not really recognized its distressing effects.
Jesus’ great strength was that he was never confused by any human situation and he was certainly never confused about his identity as the image and likeness of God. Mrs. Eddy refers to the blessings which came about as a result of both this spiritual clarity and absence of confusion when she writes
No and Yes, page 36:12-26
“The real Christ was unconscious of matter, of sin,
disease, and death, and was conscious only of God, of
good, of eternal Life, and harmony. Hence the human
Jesus had a resort to his higher self and relation to the
Father, and there could find rest from unreal trials in
the conscious reality and royalty of his being, — holding
the mortal as unreal, and the divine as real. It was this
retreat from material to spiritual selfhood which recuper-
ated him for triumph over sin, sickness, and death. Had
he been as conscious of these evils as he was of God,
wherein there is no consciousness of human error, Jesus
could not have resisted them; nor could he have conquered
the malice of his foes, rolled away the stone from the
sepulchre, and risen from human sense to a higher con-
cept than that in which he appeared at his birth.”
So the great challenge we face as Christians and devotees of The Way is whether we are going to make the same mistakes as John the Baptist and Moses? It really is the difference between a stance of mind which says I have a problem to solve and wondering how I am going to solve it ( the stance of confusion ) and the stance of Mind which insists that “ Now are we the sons of God , the separation has never taken place, God reigns, all is perfect now !”