Freedom from shame

“Today, I feel like an unblemished rosebud! Thanks to an understanding, through my study of Christian Science, of what I really am, I see the “real me”—my spiritual, totally innocent nature as a child of God. This “me” or identity can never be touched or marred by any human circumstance, as I discovered years ago.

After my mother remarried when I was fourteen, we moved into my stepfather’s house with him and his twenty-year-old son. Our parents’ attentions were suddenly focused on each other, so my new stepbrother and I found solace and comfort in one another’s company. But during the next couple of years, a mutual attraction developed and we began flirting. I enjoyed the attention, but one day when our parents were on vacation things took a turn. He took advantage of their absence. Though I vigorously resisted, he raped me. I couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone.”

This moving article tells how a woman’s shame and hurt about an inappropriate sexual relationship with her stepbrother in her teens was removed and healed by the recognition of her perfect, spiritual selfhood. It wasn’t an easy road to travel, but was so worth the effort, she writes. Read how the healing came about:

“. . . throughout my childhood I had been taken to a Christian Science Sunday School by a neighbor. Although my attendance fell off when my mother remarried, I never forgot the lessons I learned there, never lost that sense that God is Love and ever present, and that we can rely on God in every circumstance. And that turning to God would always make things right. 

And so, I started attending church again, and reading the Bible and the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, searching for answers and spiritual strength and gaining understanding. First, I came to forgive my stepbrother. I can’t say forgiveness came quickly, but I realized that not only his actions, but mine, were the result of a general misconception about man. Man is the generic term for everyone as God’s spiritual image and likeness. Our thoughts and actions arose from the belief that man is mortal, can be unsatisfied, aggressive, vulnerable to temptation or harm, or can lose, or is without, a moral compass. But when this false concept of my stepbrother came to thought, I persisted in seeing us both as I knew God must see us—as His creation, wholly good, satisfied by our Maker, and incapable of doing wrong or being wronged. This purged from thought any guilt stemming from my stepbrother’s behavior toward me. Science and Health says: “Man’s genuine selfhood is recognizable only in what is good and true. Man is neither self-made nor made by mortals. God created man” (p. 294). 

These truths lifted from me a material concept of man, and revealed to me my stepbrother’s inherent innocence. As a result, my relationship with my stepbrother normalized. After seeing him on and off for several years at family gatherings, I could finally face him completely free of resentment and with Christly love.

Forgiving myself seemed more difficult . . . ”

Read Helen Lechner’s entire moving account in the Christian Science Sentinel.