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Harmless as Doves

June 13, 2013

That is the attitude of thought Jesus commanded his disciples to put on as they went into the towns and villages ahead of him.  He prefaced that by acknowledging they would be as sheep among wolves, but he constrained them from being wolves themselves.  (Matt 10:16)  Instead, he told them to be wiser than serpents.

What a combination!  The Master was asking them to face intense opposition, possibly even physical danger, with wisdom and harmlessness.  Jesus’ own life was the epitome of those two qualities, so he knew it to be possible.  And he had thoroughly prepared his students to preach and heal in his name and nature.

He said to them, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”  (v. 40)  In other words, God Himself is compelling and blessing this work.  Therefore, you can expect it to be successful, even under such daunting odds.

There is a corollary here.  When God directs you – when you are about your Father’s business – wisdom and harmlessness are sufficient to sustain and protect you.  That seems to run counter to how it works in the world.  And even Jesus’ crucifixion would seem to say otherwise.

Yet, what really was the outcome of that horrific event at Golgotha?  Resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, and Christianity.  Ultimately, had Jesus avoided his captors, or if he and his disciples had fought back, possibly injuring or even killing them, what would have happened to his ministry?  You and I probably wouldn’t have a clue about it today.

None of us will ever have to go through all that, but his example of wisdom and harmlessness can, nonetheless, serve as an effective and useful armor under all circumstances.

Joy and patience are natural dove-like qualities along with being inoffensive, and likewise not taking offense.  Wisdom is thoughtful consideration and right reasoning, knowing when to hold your ground, or when to shake the dust off your feet and move on!  Mary Baker Eddy adds, “The serpent of God’s creating is neither subtle nor poisonous, but is a wise idea, charming in its adroitness…”  (Science and Health, p. 515)  Good qualities to embrace!

Jesus’ disciples finally understood this directive and went on to forward his word and works “into all the world,” overcoming countless obstacles. The book of Acts is full of evidence of this.

Surely, you and I in our day-to-day activities can put on the attitudes of wisdom and harmlessness and bring about a revolution of peace, affection – and progress!  Don’t you think that will lead to better productivity and usefulness?

Here’s a verse from a great poem by Mary Baker Eddy called Love: “If thou the bending reed wouldst break by thought or word unkind, pray that his spirit you partake, who loved and healed mankind: Seek holy thoughts and heavenly strain, that make men one in love remain.”  You can read the rest of it here.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you read today, considering clicking the “add me” button.

8 Responses to “Harmless as Doves”

  1. Rafikka Says:

    I love your reference to Mrs. Eddy’s words! I can hardly think of a more important thing to strive for. I think I’ll read through Acts tonight :-) Thanks, Melissa.

  2. godcanhealit Says:

    Thanks Rafikka, that will be a great reading project, and you’ll come away inspired!

  3. Amy Duncan Says:

    I like to think of “wise as serpents” and “harmless as doves” in our healing work, too…the standing firm and the yielding…

  4. godcanhealit Says:

    Good points, thanks Amy!

  5. Pat Collins Says:

    Thanks for this positive guidance, Melissa. So good. Dove-like patience is something to strive for. We seem to be pressed to “have it all NOW” and the frustration that results dampens our joy. This is a wonderful reminder of how the “attitude of thought” that Jesus commanded is vital to our own happiness and success.

  6. godcanhealit Says:

    Thanks Pat. Kind of like your Moldau/Dead Sea comparison.

  7. Ian Gudger Says:

    Wonderful! Finally had a chance to read it and I’m glad I did. :) Particularly love how you brought a verse from “Love” to tie it all together. I think we all could do with seeking more of that “heavenly strain,” which is harmless as doves. Thank you.

  8. godcanhealit Says:

    Thanks Ian. A number of Eddy’s poems would probably have worked, since so many encourage harmless progress and usefulness. Glad you finally stopped by too :).


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