Protection from personal violence

Second of three articles on overcoming the fear of crime and violence. Cold statistics indicate that violent crime is expanding from large cities to their suburbs and even into rural areas, where until recently people have usually felt so secure they often did not lock their doors at night.

The spread of violent crime is linked to drug use, unemployment, and racial unrest. It may also be connected to a creeping materialism that arrogantly and willfully demands to possess things regardless of the cost, and even to a sad tendency to believe that society rather than honest work should provide one's needs and even his wants. Ironically, most violent crimes apparently are committed against family and friends who should be most loved, rather than against the general public. Nonetheless, fear of personal attack and injury seems to be settling deeper into public thought.

In spite of the popular image, many of those who study these matters seriously feel that skill in marital arts or carrying a handgun may do more harm than good. However, some other steps might seem reasonable, such as prudent use of locks and lights, and wisdom to avoid unnecessarily tempting others.

But none of these steps gives one true and lasting protection. That comes only from God, through prayer. The only way to go unharmed is to be spiritually wise, meek, and harmless. That means to have a holy, spiritual view of ourselves and others. This is true love. It understands to some degree that God is the one creator and that man is His perfect likeness, utterly apart from mortal bodies and criminal motives. To the degree that we do understand and hold to this view of God and man, we begin releasing the stereotype of criminal or victim. To the same degree we are less and less impressive with or fearful of violent crimes. We are less drawn to emphasize or dwell on news about them, but we are humbly impelled to pray more about them for ourselves and for mankind.

A young bank teller in dark parking lot was confronted by a man with a knife. He ordered her into her car. But she was armed with the calm and Christly understanding of man as the child of God. She said, "We are brother and sister, both Children of God. In reality I don't want to harm you and you do not want to harm me." She said little more, but she felt the truth of what she spoke. The man dropped his knife and walked away.

This lovely healing was not the result of some subtle psychology. It was the result of a sweet understanding of the fact that God, divine Lord, is all-power and makes man in His image. As a consequence, the woman was protected from becoming a victim and the man from becoming a worse criminal. Mary Baker Eddy n 1 writes, "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you." n2 Why? Because to Love there is no hatred. Love is All. Christ Jesus proved this even more convincingly when he quietly walked to safety through a crowd maddened to destroy him. n3

n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 571;

n3 See Luke 4:24-30;

There is only one way to complete security for individuals and societies. It is through spiritual understanding. As any on of us yields more to the ever-present truths of God and immortal man, crime will lessen for us and for society as a whole. More effective ways to restrain crime and rehabilitate criminals will be found, and the so-called base criminal instinct will grow less. In that way, some day, all crime will be healed. This is the saving Truth David glimpsed when he wrote, "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, . . . thou savest me from violence." n4

n4 II Samuel 22:2, 3.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee ; therefore shall thy camp be holy. Deuteronomy 23:14

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