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When a giant falls

November 20, 1980



When a giant falls, who falls with him? If it's a political giant caught in a Watergate-like web, would you then fall into cynicism? What about a personal giant, perhaps a close family member? Would you slip from the high standards he or she instilled in you, just because he or she dropped for a time from those name standards? Or a minister or someone whose religious perceptions you have admired -- how would you react if he were suddenly caught in an immoral situation, or if he turned away from the ideals he'd espoused?

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Whether or not we also fall tells us much about how we viewed the giant and what we think made him one. If we respond with cynicism, despair, defeat, or even resignation, we're saying essentially that his greatness is something he has cooked up and spooned out to us. But if what made him the towering figure we admire was the spiritual qualities he expressed -- and if we see this -- we can also see that these qualities have not fallen at all. And he eventually can regain his expression of them.

It is natural -- and vital -- to recognize the distinctness of people's contributions, to give them gratitude, affection, and even admiration for the good they do. But also important is the knowledge that the goodness in people's lives has its source in God. Did understanding, strength, integrity, or gentleness mark our giant? These are qualities that actually derive from God, the everlasting, ever-stable divine Love. They carry with them the characteristics of their divine source. They don't really soar or collapse with the ups and downs of someone who expresses or fails to express them.

If we attempt to acribe these qualities solely to a humam personality, we mistake. Christ Jesus deflected such an attempt when he was called "Good Master." He said, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is , God." n1 Not that Jesus was being falsely modest, blind to his own goodness. Perhaps he felt a need, right at the start of that conservation, to firmly establish God, divine Love, as the one originator and source of all good.

n1 Matthew 19:16, 17.

Christian Science, which follows the teachings of Christ Jesus, makes much of this point: that God is good, that understanding, strength, mercy, and so on come from God. They are reflected by His individual ideas but they always come from Him.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded this Science, once wrote to her Church, ". . . Follow your Leader, only so far as she follows Christ." n2 This is advice that could be broadened and applied to anyone we look up to. To follow the Christ is to follow the true idea of God, good, which Jesus lived so fully.

n2 Message to The Mother Church for 1902,m p. 4.

Why saddle anyone with the extra load of being idolized as the source of good? If we refuse to hang our hope or faith on those we see as giants, and place it instead on what spiritually impels the individual, that hope and faith can't come crashing down should our giants stumble. And who knows? They may even be more sure-footed without the added mental burdens we've given them, weighing them down. And if they fall they will be helped back up more quickly when we see that man's true, spiritual identity never falls.

The best thing we can do is to get this more spiritual view of the situation. Then we'll be able to see that there's no stumbling, falling, or dragging one another down. Man stands, quite simply, but also quite solidly, as the likeness of God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Psalms 4:6